Often praised for its tight-knit neighborhood feel, Algiers Point has been pining for a little more company lately.
That’s because the ferry service that makes this riverfront neighborhood so bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly for cross-river visits has been on the ropes. Budget cuts and the elimination of bridge tolls that once funded the ferry led to a severely curtailed schedule last year. Under the new system, when that last ferry left in the early evening, it could feel like the neighborhood was on its own and shut in for the night.
The good news for Algiers is that the ferry schedule is being at least partially extended, with longer weeknight hours now in place. That comes with a marketing push by the ferry operators to get more people to ride it and support its future with fare revenue. On Wednesdays through the end of August, there’s a free, after-work concert series on the levee in Algiers Point, called Wednesdays on the Point (bluesmen Little Freddie King and Guitar Lightnin’ Lee play tonight, see details at wednesdaysonthepoint.com). That should get more people on the ferry.
But food is usually enough to lure me over. In fact, I’ve always had a soft spot for the small circuit of restaurants here, starting with the Dry Dock Café (133 Delaronde St, 504-361-8240; thedrydockcafe.com), an Algiers answer to a waterfront restaurant, and right next door, Vine & Dine (141 Delaronde St., 504-361-1402; vine-dine.com), a laidback wine shop and restaurant with a wine bar in back, a practically hidden patio behind that and room for neighbors with baby strollers to drop by up front.
The cafe Tout de Suite (347 Verret St., 504-362-2264) is an essential stop for a breakfast visit, with healthy starts next to heartier fare and toys arrayed to entertain young kids. And Algiers Point has also recently marked the return of Peter Vasquez, a well-known local chef from the pre-Katrina restaurant Marisol who now sells prepared dishes from his take-out only Appetite Repair Shop (400 Vallette St., 504-602-9990).
You can drive to these places anytime, but that’s not like being transported over the river by the ferry to just walk or pedal a bike around, a dynamic that make can any neighborhood feel a little more like your own.
For ferry schedule updates and information, see nolaferries.com.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.