Serenity in Storyville: Magnolia Yoga offers peace for body, mind

The space is New Orleans first black-owned yoga studio and continues the legacy of female entrepreneurship in Storyville.

by Cierra Chenier
July 25, 2019

Magnolia Yoga is New Orleans’ first black-owned yoga studio, located on recently revitalized Basin Street, next door to Backatown Coffee Shop. Health educator, advocate and studio owner Adrianne “Ajax” Jackson was in search of a space to open a yoga studio in New Orleans. She settled on the spot on Basin Street, which has always played an important role in local history — especially when it comes to black female entrepreneurship.

In the late 1800s, the area was known as Storyville, New Orleans’ red light district where prostitution and drugs were tolerated and regulated. The unlawful activities that took place in Storyville and the jazz music that filled the brothels attracted visitors from all over the country and generated millions of dollars in economic activity. Though segregated, black female entrepreneurship existed within Storyville with Lulu White, a black-Creole woman who rose to prominence with her popular brothel and bar, Mahogany Hall and Lulu White’s Saloon. Decades later, Storyville was torn down and the Iberville Projects were built in its place as an all-white development for military families. By the 2000s, the residents of the Iberville Projects were predominately black, with many driven into extreme poverty. After Hurricane Katrina, the Iberville Projects was redeveloped as mixed-income apartments. Though Basin Street has drastically changed over time, its transformation toward black ownership and healing represents a hopeful future — and since 2016 Magnolia Yoga has been a part of that renaissance.

In nearly three years, it has become a community haven where locals practice yoga and elevate their minds, bodies, and spirits. In addition, Magnolia Yoga offers a more unique experience than that of your typical yoga class with #MusicMondays composed of your favorite playlists and artists and recently, #WuTangWednesdays that pay homage to the legendary hip-hop group.

Magnolia Yoga is unique in its use of hot yoga, which naturally speeds up the healing properties of yoga through a heated environment.

“People need results and have a lot to do. They don’t have a lot of time, so having something that gives quick results is attractive,” said Jackson.

With trauma and illnesses that plague black and brown communities specifically, Jackson explains that hot yoga is especially beneficial to these communities.

“Some people are just in toxic environments — work, school, home, their neighborhood,” she said. “Yoga can change your life, but it’s one of those things that’s a slow, steady build to change.”

Jackson praises the health commitment from locals, who may start out only taking two or three classes or dive right in with monthly memberships. Easing into regular yoga practices has a long list of health benefits, from building consistency, focus, and making better choices; to helping alleviate daily stresses that are harmful to our body and immune system.

“Just simply removing the stress from people’s lives reduces the odds of them getting sick, the odds of aging faster,” said Jackson. At Magnolia Yoga, “You get your mind and body right so you can go out there and do your life’s work.”

Photo by Alvin Moore, Creative Direction by Adrianne “Ajax” Jackson

Jackson and Magnolia Yoga Studio are in line with the ongoing history of Basin Street, healing in a site once traumatic to some and continuing the legacy of black female entrepreneurship from the era of Storyville.

You can sign up for classes or find out more about Magnolia Yoga Studio here at their website, and keep up with them on social media on Facebook and Instagram, or download the free Magnolia Yoga app.

Magnolia Yoga Studio
Getting there
301 Basin St #2, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
More Info

Cierra Chenier is a contributing writer and creator born and raised in New Orleans. Driven by her love for her city and its people, she created NOIR ‘N NOLA, a brand highlighting the history, politics, lagniappe, and soul of Black New Orleans. With written works published locally and nationally, Chenier serves as a voice for the New Orleans community, increases social awareness, and encourages action through highlighting history and culture.

More Local Stories

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

A guide to Pittsburgh’s summer events must-do list

Check out our roundup below for the can’t-miss events happening in the city over the next few months.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Tarpon Springs

In this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando you’ll be transported to a thriving Greek community nestled on Florida’s gulf coast. From sponge diving to flaming cheese to a Greek bakery that supplies a ginormous amount of baklava to the entire country, you’re sure to fall in love with Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

new orleans parks

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

black owned brunch spots new orleans 14 parishes

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

From the Ivory Coast to Gentilly Woods – Eburnieya brings West African flavors to New Orleans

Owner Ashley NDakpri’s endeavor is the only restaurant in New Orleans that serves Ivorian cuisine.

Queen Trini Lisa’s Ascension to New Orleans’ Caribbean Soul Food Throne

Lisa Nelson didn’t plan on being a chef. She didn’t anticipate becoming a queen either, but true to the most beloved of royalty, the people made her one.