I’m a Katrina evacuee born and raised in New Orleans. I first moved to Baton Rouge at age 16, and best believe it was a culture shock; I head never heard of Walmart closing before midnight, much less Walgreens closing at all. But from 2013 to 2015, the Red Stick had become a hotbed for techies, foodies, artists and young professionals.
I spent quite some time hating the city with a passion. However, after moving back to Baton Rouge from Atlanta due to unfortunate circumstances, I felt compelled to give ol’ Istrouma a fair shot. For all that I saw, learned and discovered, I knew that I had to document it in some way. With this website fresh off the presses, combined with my interest in journalism, I decided to comment on those discoveries. Thus ‘Javan Does Baton Rouge’ was born.
This video and blog series highlighted some of my favorite places in and around the capital area, receiving praise from some of the owners.
Ep. 1 – Michael Foster Presents Red Beans & Rice Mondays
The web series debuted with Red Beans & Rice Mondays presented by the Michael Foster Project, a weekly after-work performance and jam session at the now-shuttered Roux House. Learn more about the timeless Louisiana tradition here.
Ep. 2 – Chicken Shack
Chicken Shack is an institution launched by the Delpit family of Baton Rouge. This was the first episode to be featured on MyScene TV, and also led to a phone call with a member of the family.
Ep. 3 – Toodaloo Shrimp
Sometimes after class, I’d buy a pound of boiled shrimp and back my truck into lot 707 at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino parking garage. That was my springtime getaway, enjoying the breeze while overlooking downtown. In this video, I compared the boiled shrimp from LTK and Tony’s, the premier seafood markets in the Capital City.
Ep. 4 – CC’d: Coffee House
By this point, I had adopted the moniker, “Shop local, by local, be local.” The downtown location of CC’s Coffee House is now The Big Squeezy juicery, but in this video, I turned to them for a local alternative to my favorite Vanilla Bean Creme Frappuccino from Starbucks.
Ep. 5 – Reflections of the Season
Christmas in the Oaks was a massive holiday display at City Park back home in New Orleans, later renamed Celebration in the Oaks for its inclusion of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. My family always took the driving tour through the lights and displays, but it was all ruined after Hurricane Katrina, never to be restored due to the costs of the underground equipment.
In 2013, I learned about Reflections of the Season, the yearly driving tour and festival at the West Baton Rouge Convention & Visitors Bureau in Port Allen, LA. It was a yearly tradition for me until I moved to Houston five years later.