Avenue Evening Stroll a tool for D’ville

Some of the Classic Cars featurerd at the Avenue Evening Stoll Saturday in downtown Donaldsonville.

When you’re trying to develop a city economically, why not market to the biggest commodity? The people. Donaldsonville welcomes the community to the downtown area for one night a year called the, “Avenue Evening Stroll,” where there is culture and shops for them to enjoy.

Business owner Dave Imbraguglio has been participating in the event each year and he believes it is a big opportunity for all. He said it’s a “draw for downtown.”

“What I like about it, it’s gets people into the shops that don’t normally come in,” Imbraguglio said, owner of Framerdave’s. “It gets new faces in there and they say, ‘I didn’t know you did this.’”

Imbraguglio’s business doesn’t make a whole lot of business sales at the event, but it creates a demand for customers to come at later dates.

“We’ll get people coming in next week and the week after, because they’ve seen something in here tonight that struck a nerve.”

For Steve Schneider, he believes this is economic development the city needs to embrace. He said it’s good, clean, family fun and he loves it. He believes that’s what the community and businesses are buying into, the historical and cultural offerings.

“Most people think the plants are economic development, to me this is economic development,” Schneider said, who is the owner of the Grapevine restaurant.

At the Avenue Evening Stoll the community gets the opportunity to experience different cultural things, such as a variety of music played along Railroad Avenue, where the event was held. Performers put on plays that showed and told history, as characters dressed in old English clothes. There were live bands galore, and Classic Cars that were exhibited for the community to check out. There were horse carriage rides and many decorated store front windows that lit the avenue. Also, this year former Governor of Louisiana Edwin Edwards featured as a guest and was there signing autographs for his new book. And, of course there was food.

“It does two things,” Schneider said, “one it provides something for somebody to come for entertainment and the other thing is, if other businesses see this and say, ‘You know what I might want to open up that place and have a restaurant next time. They are going to come here, spend some money fixing it up, open a business, pay sales tax and they are going to hire some people. So that is great.”

Schneider added, “The proof is in the pudding.”

Philip Gould, a first-time attendant to the Avenue Evening Stroll, compared the event to the downtown area in Lafayette.

“Anything that creates critical mass, where people come out and enjoy the city, enjoy themselves in the city, is a good thing,” Gould said, who is a photographer visiting from Lafayette. The life-blood of a city is people. You have to have people out and about. The spending money comes naturally. It’s economic development that comes from within. It comes from the source, which is the town’s people.

Gould isn’t a stranger to Donaldsonville, explaining that he had visited several times before, but he said events like this is better for the city.