There’s a lot of talk among locals about what everything looks like pre-Katrina and post-Katrina. New Orleans East is one side of town that’s been slower than other areas to recover economically, but soon, it’ll be getting its first franchised coffee shop.
The location takes the place of the old First NBC bank in the 5700 block of Read Boulevard, on the right side of Waffle House. The building sits on the street right in the middle of two main corridors in the area, Bullard Avenue and Crowder Boulevard.
Owner and partner Stephanie Chambliss said its location is everything.
“With the support we could get with the community, the subdivisions, schools, churches, Read seems like the perfect location,” Chambliss said. “It just all worked out.”
Right now, the closest coffee shop to New Orleans East is Pontilly Coffee, sitting just over the highway on Chef Mentuer Highway.
“This is something that is much-needed in this community,” Chambliss said. “I frequent coffee shops. Before Pontilly opened, I would have to go to Lakeview or Esplanade or the PJ’s in Gentilly. I would have to go too far from home. The people of the East deserve a quality business.”
Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen, whose district covers the East, says the East is unique in that the area has access to trains, ports along the water, an airport and highway access.
“Not many communities have access to that type of transportation, and we do,” Nguyen said. “If we continue to promote that, we’re going to attract big business in the East. I think PJ’s will set that tone of franchises coming to the East.”
She added that residents are excited for the shop to come to the area.
“People are ecstatic,” Nguyen said. “Everybody is just like, ‘I can’t believe PJ’s is coming!'”
So, when is it opening?
“Sooner than later,” Chambliss said. “I would hope by Black Friday, but definitely in December. Definitely this winter.”
Chambliss said bringing the old building up to code was a hurdle, but now the process should be moving quickly. And, in case you were wondering, since the bank already had a drive-thru lane, you won’t even have to get out of your car to get your favorite latte.