The Exchange Pickleball + Bar to Celebrate Aug. 8 Grand Opening

NEW ORLEANS — The Exchange Pickleball + Bar hosted a soft opening Aug. 5-6 and will officially open to the public on Tuesday, Aug. 8, which just happens to be National Pickleball Day. There will be a celebration from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day featuring live music, food and champagne.  

The 26,000-square-foot facility has six indoor courts and one outdoor court plus food and drinks. It’s located in a refurbished building at 2120 Rousseau Street in the Lower Garden District near the Uptown Walmart.

Founder Renée Melchiode, a special counsel at Melchiode Marks King LLC, purchased the former warehouse in 2021 to create a facility dedicated to a fast-growing sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. 

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Redevelopment of the 70-year-old space began in December 2022. Melchiode said new construction costs topped $3 million with significant additional expenses for “development costs, storm water management, rezoning, etc.”

VergesRome led the design. Jos. R. Labadot Inc. is the contractor. 

Melchiode says the Exchange will be home to pickleball leagues, clinics and lessons — along with the occasional live music. She said the space will also serve as an event venue for conventions, corporate events and tourists. It will accommodate up to 500 people. 

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“We had Saints players and coaches visit our site this weekend, and we had guests from all over the region,” she said. “We have repurposed a 70-year-old property, revitalized a neighborhood and created 30 jobs, not to mention more than 250 construction jobs. This is a facility for families, locals, tourists and conventioneers. If our project is successful, it is a testament to our city being able to build other similar eater-entertainment venues.”

The Exchange’s head of pickleball operations is Scott Robinson, a certified instructor. He has 25 years of experience teaching tennis. The facility’s general manager is Phil Papillion, who has multiple years of food and beverage experience throughout Louisiana.

One-on-one pickleball lessons, clinics, open play, and social and corporate events will also be available.

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