After Hurricane Katrina, La Madeleine, a cafe and bakery that had occupied space in the French Quarter for 23 years, moved out, claiming that it didn’t get enough of a break on its rent following the storm. Now the site sits vacant, waiting for its next tenant. Will it be Starbucks?
The idea is causing a bit of a dust-up among people who feel the location is too prominent for a Starbucks, and should go to a local business. From the Times Picayune:
Java giant Starbucks Coffee Co. and local restaurateur and chef Scott Boswell are competing for the lease on the old la Madeleine space in Jackson Square’s Lower Pontalba Building.
The withdrawal of la Madeleine, which still operates several other locations in the metro area, opens up a high-profile location in one of the city’s most popular tourism corridors. Don Schwarcz of SRSA Commercial Real Estate said the 3,000-square-foot corner site is a solid retail location that should command top-dollar rents.
The idea of Starbucks taking over doesn’t seem to be sitting well with the internet, one blogger claims:
Even if it means chaining ourselves to the vacant storefront that once housed Le Madeliene (yes, another chain, albeit a smaller one and certainly the lesser of the two evils) with our leftover Mardi Gras beads we have to do everything in our power to keep Starbucks from setting up camp.
Let the debate on the relative merits of the Starbuckification of New Orleans begin. —MEGHANN MARCO
Starbucks, local restaurateur, vying for La Madeleine site on Jackson Square [Times-Picayune via Blogging New Orleans via Starbucks Gossip]