|Neil Gernon pouring at our very first Friday Free For All, June 16, 2006|
It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since we opened our doors and held our very first Friday Free For All tasting for a very enthusiastic and thirsty neighborhood crowd. Those were tough times in New Orleans in June of 2006 with all of us so effected by the failure of our Federal levee system and the devastation it caused. Collectively dealing with the destruction of entire neighborhoods, losing jobs, rebuilding homes, fighting with insurance companies, friends and family leaving the city in droves - we were all struggling to find our way. Returning and rebuilding were never even a question for Kerry and me. Our faith in our city and the resilience of its people were enough to keep us here; and as Chris Rose so appropriately stated, "the longer you live in New Orleans, the more unfit you become to live anywhere else..."
|Store front June 2006 and now...|
|Pre-renovation and then in 2008|
But just returning wasn't enough, we wanted to be part of the rebuilding, investing our hearts and our pocketbooks in our beloved, broken city. And I can tell you, it was an uphill battle from the start! Dealing with our flooded home; leaving a very secure, well paying job of 8 years for the unknown; negotiating with a neighborhood association that was initially against our plan and an incredibly difficult city permitting process; a terrible accident that took place in the shop just days before we opened; a business partner who disappeared in our first week; needless to say, it was a drama filled beginning. But it was, and still is, the neighborhood support that kept us going. Because somehow through it all, Swirl became a place where people gathered and shared their stories, a bright spot in the midst of the post-Katrina madness to clear your head, rest your feet and share some good wine while you were at it!
|Bar area in 2006 and now.|
|Taylor, the original swirl shop dog!|
Well the conversations have changed since then, but the feeling in the shop remains the same - a comfortable spot to sit and relax with friends over a nice glass of wine; a place you can bring your dog to, your kids, your date or your grandmother and feel good about being there. A special place, that you've helped us create filled with lots of great memories over the years. And seven years later, as a business, a neighborhood and a city, we all have persevered, flourished and now finally find ourselves settling in to a very good rhythm that we hope will continue for many more years....Thank you all for you support, then and now, because you are what makes Swirl such an awesome place! So forget your troubles, come on get happy and join us in celebrating our 7th birthday at our Friday Free for All or any of our fun, upcoming events this week!
|Friday Free For Alls now...|