Freetown epitomizes a life without restrictions. The word free is literally in the name and that’s no accident. Lafayette, Louisiana’s Freetown neighborhood has legendary roots. The origin of the name is said to derive from the place where freed slaves ﬁrst settled after emancipation. The roots dig deeper as the neighborhood’s Good Hope Hall (and several other night spots) became home to Lafayette’s then-revolutionary jazz scene … a place that attracted greats like Louis Armstrong and even wealthy aristocrats who came to let loose, drink deep and soak up America’s edgy new music scene.
Today Freetown is home to The Blue Moon Saloon & Guest House and Warehouse 535, venues that keep the local music tradition beating late into the night. Shoppers seek out historic Freetown experiences at Borden’s Ice Cream and Guidry Hardware. It’s also the spot for locals and transplants who are hooked by Lafayette’s urban revival and feel compelled to nest in the neighborhood’s turn of the century shotguns and bungalows. The lofty front porches are dressed in bohemian garb, holiday lights and Mardi Gras regalia. The short picket fences, fresh ﬂowers and backyard gardens don’t remind us of a simpler life … they are the simple life. It’s a fresh return to the love of nature and community.
And everyone rides their bike.
Because part of the freedom of Freetown is that you’re a bike ride away from everything that makes you feel alive. Art. Music. Festivals. Food. Distance riders enjoy Lake Martin’s alligators and cypress swamps, Chicot’s piney hills and bottom-land hardwoods, and New Orleans’ crookedly seductive streets are within reach. It’s all nearby and there’s no parking spot required. Because people in Freetown know that pedaling through life isn’t a drawback, it’s liberation.