Robért Fresh Market's location at the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields Avenues has been decrepit since Katrina, with repairs to the building delayed by legal battles between the company and their landlords, Schwegmann family. Last Friday, a jury found the Schwegmanns to be in breach of the lease by refusing to repair the building to its pre-Katrina condition. From the company:
Friday, March 16, 2012 marked the end of the trial, and it is the day that we can finally begin our plan to return to the St. Claude and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods. The landlords for this site, the Schwegmann family, were found in breach of the lease by a twelve-person jury for not restoring the building to its pre-Katrina condition. Robert MarketFare St. Claude was NOT found in breach of lease at any time before or after Hurricane Katrina in response to allegations from the Schwegmann family. The Schwegmann family has been required by the unanimous decision of the twelve-person jury to restore the building at 2222 St Claude Ave. to its pre-Katrina condition.The Schwegmanns, scions of the family that founded the eponymous local grocery store chain, continue to own many of the buildings that once housed their family's stores, and Robért president Marc Robért II started his career working for Schwegmann's.
The new market won't come soon, however. The Schwegmann family is allowed to appeal this decision and one family member's lawyer told the Times-Pic, "We are evaluating all options at this time, including our strong grounds for appeal." Which is lawyer-speak for this shit is never going to end. On top of that, if the Schwegmanns lose their appeal, the Times-Pic estimates that there's still about a year's worth of renovations and building out to do before it can open.
All of which is to say, this sounds like good news initially, but there are so many steps left to take and the landlords of this property seem intent to fight this thing out in super-litigious fashion. So while their lawyers are getting rich, the area that the grocery store would service remains a pretty serious food desert. Here's to hoping Robért MarketFare St. Claude can return without too many more delays.
Robé Fresh Market on Robert E Lee Blvd. [Photo: Official Site]