Northgate area expands with new businesses

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new football season has brought more new businesses to Baton Rouge.

Over the last two years, dozens of new shops and restaurants have opened in the Northgate area just off LSU's campus. Fans and some of these business owners say this area needed.

A bar and tables crowded with people enjoying some good home-style food is a scene the staff at Louie's cafe has seen for decades. In the last few years, this restaurant and its counterparts that have spent years serving the LSU community have welcomed dozens of new businesses to the block.

"You know, 20 restaurants...25 restaurants within walking distance of campus on the north side. It means more people are going to come to this area," said Fred Simonson, general manager of Louie's Café.

Eric Hedrick owns Bengals and Bandits a new store in the area.  He says he is happy to be a part of the new and improved neighborhood.

"I looked at some of the new developments in town, but what we kept coming back to was we wanted to gamble on this neighborhood. It's got a lot of character," said Hedrick. "And I think that people that know this city that are from this community know that Northgate had a lot of potential."

LSU fans say they are glad these companies tapped into that potential and gave one of university's unofficial welcome centers a revamp.

"It looks a lot nicer. It's grown. It's clean. It's beautiful, and I just think it's a great way for them to first see the campus," said Julie Clayton.

"What's cool is that they can come into a new area. It's got nice clean parking, but they can still see the traditions. I mean so when you come in you still know that this is THE street. From the Chimes to around here, this is the place," said Darrell Davis.

A place that will encourage healthy competition among new and old businesses.

"We love our customers. You know, if somebody wants to go across the street, hey that's fine they're in the area. Maybe tomorrow they'll come here," said Simonson.

"Northgate is not even the place it was five or ten years ago," said Hedrick. "It's now a place you can bring your family. It's a great place to come and spend a couple of hours and just check out the area."

Be sure to check out Northgate Fest coming up in November. It's an annual celebration of this quirky neighborhood with such a unique history.

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