Bayou Road Initiative

In 2013, Small Center engaged with the local business community along Bayou Road on a number of design initiatives aimed at celebrating the culture and history of the commercial corridor and preparing residents and business owners for city-led streetscape and facade-improvement programs.

Project Dates

January 2013–December 2013


The New Orleans business corridor with the most businesses owned and operated by Black women, Bayou Road continues to serve as a community gathering spot, as well as offer a variety of shopping and restaurant sites. Though Bayou Road is a historic business corridor, the neighborhood around it is rapidly gentrifying, and a grassroots effort to support and celebrate long-standing businesses and business-owners proves important in the face of ongoing economic challenges.

Small Center Engagement

The Bayou Road Commercial Corridor Initiative included several community-driven design projects, each with the goals of benefiting existing business owners, attracting new businesses that serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods, and serving as a model for reinvestment in historic commercial corridors.



The project team created a merchant map highlighting each unique vendor on and around the corridor, helping to spotlight local business to locals and tourists alike. Small Center held community meetings and created physical mock-ups of planned streetscape improvements in order to equip residents and business owners to advocate for their needs during the city’s engagement process.  Finally, in collaboration with Neighborhood Story Project and the University of New Orleans, Small Center designed and installed park signage to interpret the corridor’s rich history as part of a larger cultural event celebrating the culture, food, and music of Bayou Road. To view the finished brochure, please click here.


Community Books

  • Vera Warren-Williams

Neighborhood Story Project

  • Rachel Breunlin

Broad Community Connections

  • Jeff Schwartz

New Orleans Tribune

University of New Orleans

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Dan Etheridge
  • Nick Jenisch
  • Maurice Cox
  • Amber Wiley


  • Maggie Hansen
  • Emilie Taylor Welty
  • Dozenia Marshall


  • Jose Cotto


  • Surdna Foundation
  • Dean’s Fund for Excellence