Uptown New Orleans is a neighborhood that begins right where the Mississippi River bends (a residential stretch known as the Riverbend is nestled in this corner) and stretches to the east towards downtown where it ends at another neighborhood known as the Garden District. Its northern limit roughly corresponds to Claiborne Avenue. At least, this is my own personal, experience-based and unofficial opinion. Major north-south avenues segment Uptown at about one-mile intervals, and these begin at Audubon Park. When I first moved here, I’d test myself to memorize them in order to make sure I was probably understanding the geography of my newfound home. From the park, these major avenues are Henry Clay, State, Nashville, Jefferson, Napoleon, and Louisiana. Somewhere after Louisiana and close to Washington, you start to get into Lower Garden District territory, but I could probably keep naming them now until I got to the Quarter. It’s funny because I feel like between each of these major avenues exists a mini-microcosm of Magazine Street that has its own vibe and character, completely distinctive from another.
Raw Republic is nestled snugly on a magical section between Jefferson and Napoleon, next to a French-style bakery called La Boulangerie and catty-corner from Free to Be Power Yoga Studio. I discovered it happily one afternoon before I headed into training at Free to Be. I was delighted by the bright light streaming through the windows and the serene minimalism of the space’s design. The first floor is cozy with just enough room for the bare essentials – a window bench to take a seat, a cash register, and two refrigerated shelves stocked with fresh-made juices, smoothies, and food. The first time I visited, Sheena, the owner, floated down the staircase and warmly invited me upstairs to check out the new space. After picking up one of the green smoothies, I climbed the stairs to discover a newly-renovated second floor. The staircase opened up to an airy, spacious, and gorgeously-lit loft with tables, couches, and shelves stocked with tantalizing home & beauty products. It even has a second-floor balcony – a coveted feature of any real estate on Magazine Street! I sipped my green smoothie and vowed to return for one of the store’s in-house energy treatments.
Not only are their juices and smoothies refreshing and delicious, but their food is a dream. All of their products are 100% raw, organic, and vegan, and as someone who tries to generally stick to a Whole30 lifestyle, I could not have been more pleased with their vegan mac n’cheese or Asian Noodles. Both dishes are made with kelp noodles, and the mac n’cheese has cashew cream as the cheese substitute. I found out about them through the staggering number of people who walked into Free to Be with the noodles as their on-the-go food of choice.
I’ve also noticed that Raw Republic is dog-friendly which can sometimes be hard to come by in New Orleans. (I mean, there are dog-friendly bars and establishments, but I don’t find New Orleans to be quite as dog-friendly as say, where my sister lives in Seattle.) So I was pleased to find they are welcoming to our four-legged furbabies too. All in all, I find Raw to be a treat, full of surprises, and fun discoveries. It’s definitely pricey, but they explain why on the website, and I’d say it’s at least worth the occasional splurge.