Friends of Bayou St. John
Giving Back Nonprofit
3205 Orleans Avenue, New Orleans
Friends of Bayou St. John is probably most well-known among New
Orleans residents for their chief fundraising and outreach initiative: the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo. The event, a community party filled with music, food, crafts and art all along Bayou St. John, was established in 2006 to reinvigorate the neighborhood post-Katrina. In its 14th year, the festival has enabled Friends of Bayou St. John to build community and create opportunities for all residents to celebrate the heritage, culture, and diversity of New Orleans. They are the only organization focused solely on the well-being and prosperity of the bayou, as well as the quality of life for the residents surrounding it. Through their fundraising, attention and community partners, the nonprofit has taken responsibility for making the bayou a resource and asset for the city.
The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo is the organization’s cornerstone event, providing a crucial outreach tool—and while the festival lasts only three days, its impact stretches year-round. Since its early years, when it was a one-day, one-stage event, the festival has grown into a three-day, four stage festival that draws 35,000 people from around the city and region. They offer music from all of New Orleans’ musical backgrounds, from blues and jazz to zydeco and Cajun to funk, hip hop and rock. A kids’ stage has helped make it a family event, while the Boogaloo Art Market brings together original works of art that span genres from 60 of Louisiana’s most celebrated artisans. The food is also worth stopping for; 30 Louisiana food and beverage vendors serve up a bounty of original treats and traditional New Orleans cuisine. Those looking to volunteer at the festival or to help clean up the banks and bayou can find out more at thebayouboogaloo.com; others who are inspired to help out year-round can become a member of Friends of Bayou St. John at
The nonprofit’s fundraising is spread to a diverse range of causes, including economic development and support for local musicians, small business owners and artists through Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo as well as community improvements, such as sponsoring solar-powered garbage units on the Lafitte Greenway or requesting permission from the City to install wrought-iron trashcans along the bayou. Their Restore the Bayou Canopy Campaign planted five 200-gallon, one 300-gallon and two titanic 750-gallon Southern live oaks along the bayou and maintains the trees throughout the year. Each year after the festival FOBSJ donates on average $25,000 directly to other nonprofits, chosen in advance to be that year’s official Community Partners. Past Community Partners include Friends of Lafitte Greenway, Sustaining our Urban Landscape (SOUL) and Odyssey House Louisiana, among many more.
Friends of Bayou St. John is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes stewardship, cultural appreciation, responsible recreation and initiatives that support a clean, healthy Bayou St. John that is accessible to all.