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As Chick-fil-A Prepares to Open in New Orleans, Residents Prepare for Traffic Backups

The first of three area Chick-fil-A’s is opening in downtown New Orleans this week

The side of a building with Chick-fil-A lettering sits behind a sign that says “Now Open” and “Closed Sunday.”
The first of three forthcoming Chick-fil-A’s opens this week.

This Thursday, December 8, the first of three new New Orleans Chick-fil-A’s opens its doors downtown at 1200 Poydras Street. It will be followed soon after by two more locations, in Mid City and Algiers, a trio of openings that mark the company’s first standalone restaurants in Orleans Parish.

The only Chick-fil-A’s currently operating in New Orleans are pedestrian-only, located inside buildings on the campuses of Xavier University and the University of New Orleans. There’s a drive-thru location outside of New Orleans in Jefferson Parish that’s known for long lines of cars spilling onto Veterans Boulevard, regularly creating traffic buildups on the major roadway. Now New Orleanians, ever-loyal to locally-born fried chicken chain Popeyes, are bracing themselves for similar scenes of traffic within city lines.

The first Chick-fil-A opening this week on the corner of Poydras and Loyola Streets will be walk-in only — no drive-thru downtown, thankfully. Another location, however, has residents preparing for a notoriously traffic-heavy intersection in Mid City to get even more nightmarish. The Chick-fil-A at 4068 Tulane Avenue — along with its drive-thru — opens late next week on a corner close to the Tulane Avenue I-10 exit, prompting fears, vocalized at community meetings and in numerous Reddit threads, about traffic backups extending to the offramp. (The notorious local developer behind this location, Sidney Torres, has not helped quell skepticism.)

Despite traffic and development-related concerns, New Orleans City Council approved Torres’ plans for a Chick-fil-A to replace his placeholder drive-thru chicken restaurant, the short-lived Nola Chick, last summer. Torres quietly opened Nola Chick there in early 2021, with the odd hours of 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, following the closure of a Burger King there in summer 2020. The Chick-fil-A plans revolved around the drive-thru, with Torres demolishing the existing building and rebuilding further back from the street as well as adding two drive-thru lanes. It was approved as a drive-thru-only restaurant, meaning no dining inside the restaurant, but includes a 16-seat patio.

Finally, a third Chick-fil-A is opening in Algiers in early 2023, according to the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, located at 4100 General DeGaulle Drive.