Broadway’s Bodega

By Grace Williams

Broadway Liquor, a convenience store in Uptown, New Orleans, located on the corner of Broadway and South Claiborne, has become an iconic business in the Tulane and Uptown communities. A partial reason for this success can be attributed to its selection of items — chips, snacks, mixers, and dozens of candy options to name a few. They have both top-shelf and plastic-bottled liquor of many brands and varieties, a towering wall of wine selections, and a range of craft and cheap beer. Cigarettes, disposable vapes, small pipes and bongs — for tobacco products, of course — and more expensive liquor is found behind the counter. Any supplies needed for a party or a college weeknight in can be found here, reasonably priced.

Some might wonder, why would people visit this hole-in-the-wall bodega instead of the Circle K about two blocks away? Well, the real reason people keep coming back is the personality of the store. Though only consisting of three short aisles, the atmosphere remains welcoming rather than claustrophobic. The same handful of people are working every time you visit, as it is a family business. One of these men is Eddy, whom I spoke to when I dropped by. He’s the most recognizable employee, as he works afternoon until closing five days a week. Even though I’ve had short conversations with him many times over the years (“Hi, how are you?” “Good, thanks.” “Your total is $17.35”), this is the first time I’ve really spoken to him and learned his name. Eddy and his brother, who is also a manager, are from Jerusalem; they grew up there, and ultimately moved to New Orleans later in life to be with their dad, who was already here.

He said that they opened the store five years ago after buying it from the previous owners, and they have another location on Magazine street. As far as clientele, Eddy said, “You could say the neighborhood, students, you know. Students, they used to go to Magazine, I know a bunch of them from the other location. And our neighborhood too.” The employees recognize the regulars, saying “The more interesting thing is when the students coming back, when the student leave and they came back. You can tell what’s the difference. Rush hour, it’s busy, they get backed. You see all the students are used to it, you know. That’s the interesting thing.” And what do these regulars buy? “A lot of snacks! They buy alcohol, if they’re legal and they’re up in age, but a lot of snacks. Yeah, beef jerkies!” Eddy is proud of their wide selection, enthusiastically saying “What are you looking for, what do you want… We try to get everything, we try to like, as many as we can. Snickers, candies, juicies, as many as we can, yeah.”

The uptown community universally holds this high regard for the store. Claire M. on Yelp reviewed the store, saying “Shoutout to the men who work here they are literally the F****N S**T. Literally so kind and helpful. They’re like celebrities amongst college kids I swear and they ALWAYS remember a familiar face.” Stephanie J., also on Yelp, held similar sentiments: “I’ve been visiting this store on a regular basis for about a year. The owner recently retired and sold the place and the new owner is just as friendly and awesome. He revamped/remodeled the inside quite a bit and now there’s a dope selection of wine and spirits, plus more craft beer and a coffee station. He also extended the hours and is open on Sunday! Great corner store, now better!” Though there isn’t a coffee station anymore, their opinions and reviews have stood strong for the few years since these were posted; the fondness of the Broadway Liquor men’s hospitality has only grown.

A key anecdote that shows the compassion of and admiration for these men is about a few Tulane students I knew who were in town during Hurricane Barry in summer of 2019. There

was flooding up to their hips in most of Uptown, such that I even saw pictures of students kayaking down Willow street. The electricity was out for several days, and since it was these girls’ first real hurricane, they didn’t really know what to do. They stopped by Broadway Liquor during this time to buy a few supplies — easy meals, water, maybe a bottle of red wine — and as they were checking out, the man working there, probably Eddy, told them that the store has a generator, so if they need to charge their phones or anything please feel free to stop by. This kindness is what marks this store as a neighborhood staple, and my friends are sure to share this story anytime Broadway Liquor is mentioned in conversation. In Eddy’s words, “Every day, they have something interesting here, you know?”

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