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Trader Joe’s Is Hoping to Open Its First Store in Orleans Parish

Plus, LUFU takes home the top prize at Food Fight, Poydras Starbucks votes to unionize, and more news to know


Trader Joe’s has its sights set on opening a store in Mid-City, reports the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, in what would be its first location in New Orleans proper (a Metairie location opened in 2016). The 13,000-square-foot store would be built on a Tulane Avenue lot bordered by Banks, South Rocheblave, and South Dorgenois Streets. Unsurprisingly, the newspaper reports that the site of the proposed Trader Joe’s is “designated as an ‘opportunity zone,’ making its owners eligible for tax breaks.” At a meeting Wednesday, the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization raised questions about traffic flow, parking, and the preservation of the old oaks on Banks Street, but if all necessary permits are secured, its construction is likely to move forward with a late 2024 opening.

Starbucks on Poydras votes to unionize

In a vote held last week, workers at the Poydras Street Starbucks voted 11-to-5 in favor of organizing. It’s the second local Starbucks store to unionize, with the Maple Street location being the first. In that case, Starbucks fired the worker that helped lead the effort a few weeks after employees filed for union recognition, in what is just one example of ongoing managerial and corporate opposition to the unionization efforts that began at the company in 2021.

LUFU takes home top prize at Food Fight

LUFU NOLA, a popular Indian street food pop-up with an LGD restaurant in the works, took home the top prize at last week’s Food Fight Festival, among other awards. The kitchen, run by chefs Sarthak Samantray and Aman Kota, bagged three awards total: People’s Choice Award for Traditional Food, Judges Choice Award for Traditional Food, and Grand Champion for Food Fight Nola. It was the second year for the festival and its first time at Spanish Plaza, where dozens of local restaurants and pop-ups gathered to compete.

Juvenile’s Donna Fest is coming up

Hometown hero and rapper Juvenile is touting the forthcoming Donna Fest after learning he was left out of a 50-year hip-hop retrospective set for Essence Fest this year, which has taken place in New Orleans since 1995. Headlined by Juvenile and his live band, Mannie Fresh, Rebirth Brass Band, and more, the affordable $25 event takes place at Urban South Brewery on July 2. Juvenile promises the best food vendors new orleans has to offer, saying “I should know, I’m from here.”