I don’t know about you, but Taylor Swift is feeling 33. And to celebrate, she visited New Orleans over the weekend, catching a show at a famous jazz hall and hitting up a much-loved Upper Ninth Ward bakery for a NOLA-made cake on her special day.
Swift chose Bywater Bakery for the distinguished honor of making a cake for her 33rd birthday on Monday, December 13, and it’s a colorful, psychedelic masterpiece. Bywater Bakery co-founder and the original creator of now-famed Chantilly and Gentilly cakes, Chaya Conrad, appeared in a video reel on Instagram yesterday, hand-painting flower-adorned layers of cake — to the backdrop of Swift’s song Lavender Haze.
“Happy Birthday [Taylor Swift] and thanks for having us make your birthday cake,” read the caption. “Hope you are having the best day in the city of New Orleans! Thought you might like our Lavender Haze surprise: top tier — banana mascarpone cream with vanilla butter cake; bottom tier — chai chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and caramel.”
Swift was spotted in New Orleans over the weekend catching a show at Preservation Hall on Saturday, December 10, an iconic jazz hall on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter. She saw a band led by drummer Shannon Powell that included the legendary 90-year-old clarinetist and saxophonist Charlie Gabriel, according to the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.
For those wondering why she was in town, Swift’s boyfriend, British actor Joe Alwyn, has been filming a movie in New Orleans for the last few weeks, along with Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Margaret Qualley. The film is And, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who has also directed Killing of A Sacred Deer, the Lobster, Dogtooth, and the Favourite. On the day of her birthday, Swift posted a photo of her and frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff in a studio; producer/songwriter Antonoff was also reportedly in attendance at Preservation Hall (and is engaged to Qualley, part of the And cast). Presumably, since the cake was made for her birthday on Monday, the photo Swift posted of her and Antonoff was taken in a New Orleans studio.
So far, no New Orleans restaurants have spilled the beans about Swift making an appearance during her time visiting, but according to r/Taylor Swift, Dafoe and Stone have frequented one of Donald Link’s restaurants downtown — so Herbsaint, Peche, Gianna, Cochon, Butcher, or the new Chemin a la Mer in the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. Another commenter on the thread about Swift’s appearance at Preservation Hall says they’ve seen Dafoe at a number of restaurants in the CBD, or Central Business District.
Bywater Bakery, the kitchen that made Swift’s birthday cake, has been a community and neighborhood favorite since Conrad and her husband Alton Osborn opened it on a Bywater corner in 2017. Conrad, who invented Chantilly cake while leading the bakery at Whole Foods and Gentilly cake while at Rouses Markets, helped establish the bakery as an instant institution thanks to her king cakes, pies, savory pastries, breads, and more, while Osborn, who long worked in the music and fashion industries, helped turn it into a musical and community hub. The bakery hosts local musicians for live performances weekly and is known for its annual block party, a musical celebration and kick-off to Carnival season coming up on January 6, 2023.