Tuesday, September 30, 2014

LoRo? Low Road? When it comes to lower Royal Street, what's in a name?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 10:38 AM

click image The 900 block of Royal Street, where Lower Royal or LoRo or Low Road begins. - CREATIVE COMMONS/CLEM
  • The 900 block of Royal Street, where Lower Royal or LoRo or Low Road begins.

In a review last month, Gambit art critic Eric Bookhardt served up a new one on me: apparently the gallery district on Royal Street in the Lower French Quarter has now been nicknamed "LoRo": "Sometimes art seems to meander. Or so we might infer from recent developments along LoRo, as lower Royal Street is now known." So I dropped Eric a note and asked about "LoRo":
I like the sound of LoRo, nifty alliteration. Word on the street has it that the term originated with artist/gallerist Chris Antieau and was adopted by some of the others along that part of Royal — which makes sense since that strip seems to have unofficially become the lowbrow and pop-surrealist art zone, with its own gallery walk, "Dirty Linen Night" as part of its collective identity. Oddly, the 2100 block of Decatur, just across Esplanade, is almost like a continuation, with 3 pop surreal galleries on one short block, but it looks like they'll try to maintain some separation and try to develop their own independent approach. 
But I got an email recently from Antieau, inviting me to a Third Thursday Art Walk on ... wait for it ... "Low Road." And the Foundation Gallery's Facebook page seems to use both "LoRo" and "Low Road." 

Years ago, I lived in the Lower French Quarter ("LoQua"?) and I know "LoRo" wasn't a thing then. From there, I moved to the Marigny rectangle, which was then the "cheap" neighborhood (commence laughing). People in the neighborhood just called it "the Rectangle," or, more playfully, "Upper Schwegmann Heights." Now I guess it's the "St. Claude Arts District," which I've also seen referred to as "SCAD." And real estate agents have for years tried to create something called "the New Marigny," the boundaries of which I don't understand other than they're on the lake side of St. Claude.

I guess we're slowly renaming our wards and faubourgs New York-style. New York has TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal Street), SoHo (South of Houston Street) and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). By that metric, I live in Mid-City in "CanCarr" (Canal/Carrollton), which is a term I just made up. Or maybe it's the "Jeff Bank" (Jefferson Davis and Banks). Or maybe it's "Finn's Kitchen." 

Have you heard of "LoRo" or "Low Road"? And what's your New York-ish neighborhood abbreviation?

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