Nick sweats and kicks dust around in the next video in our series documenting the fall and rise of the Bywater building that we’ve spent that past year transforming into your new favorite bar and street food restaurant, Booty’s.
Real talk, there’s some mumbling and sweeping going on here, but our brains were pretty fried from the August summer sun this week. All of the Bywater cool kids were out of town on summer vacation, and there were days that it seemed like Nick was talking a little bit too much to some of those barge board pieces we were excavating from the walls, like they were Wilson in Cast Away.
This period was definitely a low point in the construction process. It was hot. It was humid. And there were so many critical structural tasks being completed each day that just weren’t highly visible enough to make us feel like we were progressing at all.
But little by little, we were getting there – come hell or Bywater.
After unearthing all of those treasures buried beneath the foundation of Booty’s in our last video, we were ready to bury one of our own within the exposed beams behind what would eventually become the bar.
“Shhhh! Thar be secrets up in here!”
Or in lieu of actual treasure, a hokey inspirational plaque that some college student tossed in our construction dumpster out front would do just fine.
But since we had been jackhammering and tearing up cement to lay our plumbing, quite a bit of clay and dirt was now exposed and soft enough to dig around in. Curious about our building’s original use as a pharmacy, we got to digging around jokingly in search of buried treasures from a century ago.
And then the funniest thing happened – we actually found some! What began as a joke turned into a payday as Kevin uncovered more than a dozen pharmacological and medicinal bottles dating back to August of 1906! The most legible being a Milk of Magnesia bottle hailing from the Chase Phillips Chemical Company in Glenbrook, Conn.
The bottles were such an inspiration for us as we designed a space that married our vision for Booty’s with the building’s past as a pharmacy. They’ll proudly be on display – and full of Jeremy JF Thompson’s boozy brews and tinctures – when Booty’s opens in just a few short weeks!
As demolition at Booty’s continued, the hints of a fire in the building 100 years ago revealed themselves in the form of row after row of charred rafters!
The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!
All of this talk of fire in what was becoming our restaurant’s kitchen had us feeling a little hot under the collar. Little did we know that just around the corner was an epic summer storm that was about to transform our little piece of the Bywater into Lake Booty’s.
We had specifically sought out Bywater to build Booty’s in because the neighborhood had been almost entirely unaffected by the previous big hurricanes to roll through New Orleans. Kevin had lost everything he owned in the world – house, car, all earthly possessions – after Katrina buried his home under close to 9 feet of water just a few years ago. So when we returned to Nola, higher ground was non-negotiable for us.
But a particularly heavy rainfall coupled with – let’s call a spade a spade here – an incredibly incompetent city work crew that spent half the summer tearing apart our street (think weekly geysers of water shooting into the sky every 20 feet down two blocks of Dauphine) left close to 3 feet of water lapping at our doorstep that afternoon.
Satsuma Cafe, just a few doors down Dauphine, was similarly lucky in that the water came up juuuuuust to the front door, but the Old Bywater Bar-B-Que and the Bargain Center had waves rolling inside their doors at one point.
Lake Booty’s would return twice more that summer before the road work was completed, but never in quite as grand of a manner as that first morning.
Nick “Bob Villa” Vivion brings you another episode of This Old-Ass House is Becoming a Restaurant.
Filmed earlier this summer, Booty’s Bywater Build #2: Discovering the History of Our Space shows some of the charred infrastructure that was just barely holding our building together before we got to work rescuing it.
The building that’s just a few weeks away from opening as Booty’s is over 150-years-old, and the demolition and construction process brought about plenty of treasures and revelations about what went down in the space over the course of a century and a half.
Stay tuned for more Booty’s Bywater Build coming at you leading up to opening day!
There’s no hiding our Arrested Development obsession at Booty’s – our love lies squarely with the Bluths and their endless insanity, posturing and general try-to-keep-it-together-no-matter what approach to life.
So how about David Cross doing a green-screen cooking show? Well, let’s just say we’re glad restaurants don’t have green screens! Click play below and smile away, courtesy of IFC’s @comedybangbang: