Celebrities including Johnny Depp and Johnny Cash have praised porches as the ideal place to sit and watch the world go by. In New Orleans, the front porch serves as a covered outdoor room, retired a bit from the hurly-burly of the street but affording a direct connection between porch-sitter and passer-by.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization tuned in to this phenomenon years ago when it started staging an annual “porch crawl” fundraiser and inviting guests to experience the pleasure of neighborhood porches, as well as the offerings of neighborhood restaurants and bars.
The group will host their 10th annual porch crawl, described as a “delightfully eccentric, distinctly adult, Halloween-oriented celebration,” Friday, Oct. 19, beginning at 6 p.m. The fun starts at the Frey Meat Co. building at 4141 Bienville St. and continues from there to four private homes, an inn and a law office, all within a short distance of one another.
Many guests come for the porches, and others come for the food and drinks. Local restaurants offering dishes include Brown Butter, Mopho, Ralph's on the Park, Bevi Seafood Co., Liuzza’s Restaurant and Bar, and Ikura Hibachi and Sushi. Mid-City-based taverns get into the act, too. That group includes 12 Mile Limit, Mick’s Irish Pub, Treo, Finn McCool’s, the Drifter and the Mid-City Yacht Club.
Lindsey Pick and Adam Hix, married just a few months ago, live in one of the hosting houses and own the Okra Inn next door.
"The Inn was named before I got involved with it but it makes sense — it’s a big green house,” said Pick, who also revealed that pickled okra and banana pudding were the only foods she ate during one phase of her childhood. “I've lived in the house next to the inn for almost nine years, beginning when I was in graduate school at the University of New Orleans. I chose it for the location. It's just so convenient to get everywhere.”
Pick confessed that her husband uses the front porch at home more than she does.
“He will sit there and read and just socialize with neighbors,” she said. “Depending on the time of day and time of year, you'll see lots of neighbors out on their porches — it’s part of the culture.”
Recently, the Okra Inn welcomed a family in town for a memorial service.
“After the service, there was a second line that ended at the Inn,” Pick said. “Pretty soon, the gathering on the front porch turned into a dance party.”
Tickets are $55, $25 for nondrinkers. For complete details and for information, go to mcno.org/.
10th annual Mid-City Porch Crawl
WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19
START: Frey Meat Co., 4141 Bienville St.
TICKETS: $55, $25