The Naked Bean
Owner Pam Hairston recently moved the Naked Bean coffee shop to the two-story, four-square structure at 451 Kings Highway.
By Lani Duke
Two buildings on the south side of Kings Highway are becoming a hub for entrepreneurs, full of exciting new life. The creative renaissance began when Pam Hairston moved the Naked Bean coffee shop to the two-story, four-square structure at 451 Kings Highway.
The coffee shop features a live performance most evenings, or maybe someone practicing during the day. Wednesday evening performances are reserved for "Bill and Pam's Acoustic Jam," but on other nights customers may hear rap, rock, folk, jazz, or interesting blends.
Regulars enjoy the soup special and the baked goods. Chef/caterer Dawn Degeyter says the food's all Cajun because she's from New Iberia and winner of the 2006 New Iberia gumbo competition. Children are welcome, with kid games and activities available.
Upstairs the new tenant is artist Tracey Prator, with her one-woman studio and art therapy space. She doesn't promote herself as a counselor by any means; but she provides materials and space, teaches technique and offers color advice. Therapy is what happens when people paint, relaxing as they "do" art. Prator's own latest series of work features full-face young women wearing flapper hats.
Also upstairs is William Ross's Aikido of Shreveport, the only authorized Aikikai dojo in north Louisiana. Unlike most martial arts studios, his is a non-profit, offering "a non-competitive and healing approach to the classical Koryu arts of the Samurai Bujitsu of old Japan," also described as "martial yoga."
The rear ground floor of the building houses screen-printing Delta 9 Graphics, owned by Kathleen Carpenter, creating and printing designs for shirts, bags, stickers, signs, and more.
Across the parking lot is the latest addition to this growing community of arts and relaxation, James Gilcrease's Day Old Blues Records that recently moved to 471 Kings Highway, where he sells primarily vinyl "platters" but also CDs by local artists. Like his neighbors, he owns a steadily growing business, believing "with the new spot we'll grow even more."