Why name the hostel “Site 61”?
The name is both a play on “Area 51,” and an acknowledgment of its location on historic Highway 61.
Before the Interstate was completed in the 70’s, the only highway into New Orleans from the west was Highway 61, It stretches about 1400 miles from Wyoming, Minnesota and ends at South Broad Street, just a few blocks past Site 61 Hostel.
Where Highway 61 runs through Mississippi, it is called the “blues highway.” Robert Johnson allegedly met the devil at the crossroads along this highway. Bob Dylan, James “Son:” Thomas and others sang the blues over this stretch of highway.
Small motels lined Highway 61, as it entered New Orleans, But when Interstate 10 diverted traffic from the businesses along Highway 61, they fell into neglect and disrepair. They became havens for the usual suspects who frequent these newly-sleazy motels.
However, for the past few decades, there has been renewed interest in historic highways, like Route 66 and more recently, Highway 61. Once-derelict motels are being refurbished. Site 61 Hostel is located in a restored, 100-year-old rooming house. The residential area adjacent to old Highway 61, or Tulane Avenue, is newly populated with young people who came to help with the clean-up after Hurricane Katrina, and they liked it here! Enough to come back and settle in, as terrific neighbors and business owners near Site 61 Hostel!