THE SPYRE HEALTH CENTER recently opened at 1772 Prytania Street in the Lower Garden District, allowing its guests to experience a complete transformation of the former Norwegian Seamen’s Church buildings and grounds. This entire space was redesigned by Bell Butler Design & Architecture and renovated by Ryan Gootee General Contractors into a refuge of holistic wellness, featuring a variety of detox methods such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation, water aerobics and other amenities and services. Careful thought was given to the exterior design of the facility to ensure harmony with the interior and overall mission of the complex. Visitors will enjoy exploring their inner peace throughout Spyre’s interior and surrounding property.
A unique outdoor feature envisioned for this is the meditation labyrinth located in the main courtyard adjacent to the pool. The idea for this space came from the owners’ mother, Dian Winingder. Her interest in the healing power of labyrinths compelled her to create one for Spyre, called ChelseaTM. It was designed in Connecticut by The Labyrinth Company – the world’s premier meditation space creator. Local contractors, LA Pavers and Vista Landscaping, brought the labyrinth to life by providing and installing the hand cut concrete pavers and grass walkway. It features five circuits, or concentric paths emanating from the center to the outer edge, and it measures 18’ in diameter. It was built for solitary journeys from the edge to the center, and back out again, where one can enjoy a non-sedentary type of meditation. Special healing crystals, including amethyst; citrine and blue; green; smokey; fire; rose and clear quartz have been cleaned and charged in a special ritual, and lie buried in the center of the labyrinth to provide positive energy.
Spyre’s salt water pool offers a central oasis to the footprint of the courtyard sanctuary. The 1,120 square foot pool was fully refurbished by Vista Landscaping, now with a Diamond Brite® finish made of natural materials ideal for light reflection and durability. The pool will be used for water therapy classes and lane swimming. Nearby is a fire pit with seating, and hanging swings for poolside lounging.
All of the vegetation on the grounds, selected by Daly – Sublette Landscape Architects and planted by Vista Landscaping, is non-toxic, indigenous and intended to complement the aesthetics and amenities of Spyre. Special drainage was carefully installed by SiteCo, without disrupting the existing trees’ root systems, to ensure that the footprint of the property dries quickly and evenly. Edible herbs and fruits from the garden will be used as ingredients in the grab-and-go teas, soups and salads offered inside. And cuttings from the flora grown on the grounds will be used in arrangements as natural accents throughout Spyre’s interior. An old, mighty, live-oak tree that has stood from the earliest beginnings of this space, still anchors the corner of Prytania and Urania Streets. It was even included in the original schematic drawings of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church from 1967. Today, it provides shade for much of the front yard’s footprint, including a new bicycle parking area.
The Norwegian Seamen’s Church (a.k.a. the Scandinavian Jazz Church) at 1772 Prytania Street endured as a landmark in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans since the late 1960s. The property’s history dates back further, to the Seaman’s Mission which was established in 1906 as a place where Norwegian sailors could gather to worship and find comfort while traveling. In 2016, the Norwegian government stopped supporting the church financially and it struggled to survive until it closed in 2018.
Now, it is reborn as Spyre Health Center and it emerges, once again, as a different kind of sanctuary for holistic healing and inner wellness.
Opening after Labor Day (September 6, 2021) for the health club offerings, which will operate seven days/week, but open now to visit the practitioners using a variety of modalities for healing.