Main Street series concludes for the season

Published 8:28 am Monday, August 25, 2014

Since March, an effort has been under way to bring crowds back to the historic strip of Bogalusa known as South Columbia Street. Spearheaded by Robin Day and the Downtown Main Street Association, Rendezvous on the Road has transformed a few blocks of the thoroughfare into a community block party on the fourth Friday of each month except June when Centennial-related festivities took over the social calendar.

On Friday, the final installment for the year drew large crowds to the historic area for an evening of food, fellowship and shopping.

“Rendezvous on the Road has grown each and every month,” Day said. “We’re looking forward to bringing in new ideas for next spring. We hope to bring more events in through the end of the year. The community support has been overwhelming.”

On Friday, crowds enjoyed chicken and sausage gumbo while listening to tunes courtesy of Big Daddy O. They also got a taste of some of the new businesses coming to the strip.

Wild Blu, a ladies clothing and accessories boutique, recently joined the merchants on South Columbia Street, and its bright blue exterior and special sale prices enticed many visitors inside. Just outside, a truck bearing the name NOLA Bikinis gave the people a glimpse of another soon-to-open storefront.

Besides the merchants who currently occupy South Columbia Street, Rendezvous on the Road also attracts some independent sellers, such as artists or purveyors of homemade treats. On Friday, Barbara Taylor and her husband, residents of the Stateline community, set up shop on the sidewalk to sell homemade jams and jellies, while daughter-in-law Megan Taylor occupied the space next to them with a table full of assorted pickles.

Barbara Taylor touted the homegrown and insecticide-free nature of her wares.

“We grow just about all of it,” she said.

A few doors down, Nick Smith and the Westside Story Band played for passersby, adding to the allure of one of South Columbia’s newer additions, the Coffee Mill.

Meanwhile, an assortment of classic cars lined both sides of the street.

Overall, the setup lent the evening an air of excitement, and one could almost feel what it must have been like to experience the strip in its heyday.

Although this was the last Rendezvous on the Road for this year, Day has already lined up a few more events to keep the momentum going. Main Street’s Harvest Fest is set for Oct. 31, followed by the ‘Tis the Season Street Stroll on Nov. 29-30.

“We’re going to do this again in 2015,” Day said of Rendezvous on the Road. “I just want to thank everybody for their support and to continue shopping locally and supporting these downtown merchants who have invested in our town in building a better Bogalusa.”