Renée Melchiode, an established attorney in New Orleans, has enjoyed recreational tennis for many years. However, she has recently delved into the burgeoning sport of pickleball, mirroring the recent trend among adults.
A Comprehensive Pickleball Facility
After her initial experience, Melchiode envisioned establishing a comprehensive pickleball facility in New Orleans. She explained, “I came off the court and said, ‘This is a lot of fun.
We need a pickleball facility. It’s New Orleans, so of course we need food, a bar, a big party space for gathering, a spectator area, and live music capability as well.”
This initial vision swiftly gained traction and generated remarkable interest within the first month.
The Exchange Pickleball + Bar
As New Orleans City Business reports, Melchiode’s vision became reality as The Exchange Pickleball + Bar, strategically located in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. We reported the idea was taking shape back in December last year.
It stands as the sole dedicated pickleball facility in the Gulf South, featuring air-conditioned indoor and outdoor courts complemented by a dining and refreshment offering.
Melchiode emphasized the inclusivity of the sport, affirming, “All generations can play; it’s a healthy, social activity that everyone has latched onto.”
Six Air-Conditioned Indoor Courts
The Exchange encompasses an expansive area within a refurbished warehouse space near Tchoupitoulas Walmart, comprising approximately 25,000 square feet.
It features six air-conditioned indoor courts, an outdoor court, as well as amenities like ping-pong and corn hole.
The provision of food and beverages is facilitated through a partnership with Messina’s Catering, an esteemed New Orleans catering service with over six decades of experience.
Melchiode highlighted the dynamic nature of pickleball, underlining, “The beauty of playing a sport like pickleball is that four people cycle in and out for games that last about 15-20 minutes, so everyone who wants to play gets a chance to.
It’s also a fast-action sport perfect to watch and spectate while eating and drinking.”
The venue’s layout seamlessly transitions between indoor and outdoor play, with six indoor courts converging towards the central bar and restaurant area.
New Orleans’ Premier “Eatertainment” Venue
Beyond open play, the venue’s calendar is packed with bookings for parties and events, solidifying its status as New Orleans’ premier destination for “eatertainment.”
The Exchange can accommodate up to 600 individuals for an event and also has a live music license. Melchiode facilitates arrangements for live music performances in collaboration with companies.
Pricing is contingent on factors such as group size, court rentals, and duration of play, allowing for both partial space rentals and complete buyouts.
“Our Employees And Clients Love Playing Pickleball”
On September 15th, The Exchange orchestrated its largest corporate event to date, hosting 200 professionals from the real estate and construction sectors, ranging from employees to esteemed clients.
Joseph Pappalardo, Jr., President of Rampart/Wurth Holding, Inc., lauded the event as a blend of networking, leisure, and corporate ethos, embodying the distinctive culture of their company:
“Our employees and clients love playing pickleball, and this is the perfect networking, meet-and-greet that translates the fun-loving, think-outside-the-box culture of our company.”
Integrating Pickleball And Culinary Experiences
Stacey Messina, a familiar figure from tennis circles, collaborated with Melchiode to seamlessly integrate pickleball with the culinary experience. Their partnership was solidified after a thorough exploration of similar concepts across pickleball facilities nationwide.
Messina’s Catering, renowned for its expertise in food and beverage management, extends its signature New Orleans flair to the courtside event catering offerings.
In Melchiode’s words, “The menu is as New Orleans as you can get, combined with healthy options because we know you’re playing pickleball.
It’s truly an experience for everyone to play the fastest growing sport or spectate, socialize, drink, eat, and have a great time.” The Exchange stands as a testament to the synergistic potential of sport, entertainment, and culinary indulgence.
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