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Cruisin’ the Crescent

One of PJ’s principal owners, Scott Ballard, with PJ’s Roastmaster, Felton Jones

New Orleans is known for so many things – seafood, Carnival, Jazz – but we tend to forget the history and relationship between coffee and this city. Coffee has been one of New Orleans’ oldest and most profitable imports since the mid-1800s due to our proximity to Central and South America. Because of this, the caffeinated drink has become so much more then waking us up in the morning; it’s part of our culture. New Orleans was one of the first cities to make it a social drink by initiating “Coffee Breaks” in the 1920s.

Today coffee isn’t just a drink to us; it’s an event. We gather over iced coffee on a hot afternoon, café au laits mid-morning and coffee and chicory after dinner. Whether it’s the delicious smell of plants roasting coffee wafting through the city or setting your mother’s table on fire while making Café Brûlot at Christmas dinner (Sorry Mom), all age groups spend hours at coffee shops experiencing the coffee traditions.

The local coffee industry also holds a lot of traditions. Most of the coffee-related companies haven’t only been in business for generations, they’ve been friends for generations. My family’s company stored the first bags of coffee in a local warehouse in 1936 and have remained friends with the family that owns that warehouse to this day – probably because they let us pay our first invoice with rye whiskey. Today the fourth generation of that company was a bridesmaid in my wedding. So next time you drink coffee, keep in mind the romantic history it has with our city.

PJ’s coffee celebrated its 35th year in business with a Back to the Future-themed convention for their franchisee owners and employees. The two-day event included a vendor fair, educational seminars lead by PJ’s Roastmaster Felton Jones and a party at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. PJ’s founder, Phyllis Jordan, also participated by speaking about her time in the coffee industry and how much PJ’s has grown since it opened its doors at the flagship shop on Maple Street in 1978. Today PJ’s has over 65 locations and continues to grow. Look out for their “Black and Gold” blend just in time for football season. (PJSCoffee.com)

The Pinkberry and Felipe’s family just got a little bigger with the opening of two new stores in the Mid-City Market development. Both new locations hosted grand opening parties on the same night. Pinkberry celebrated by serving their newest flavor “Cookies and Cream” while guests took turns spinning a wheel to win Pinkberry prizes. Felipe’s hosted a party for friends and family next door, featuring Pisco cocktails created by Nathan Dalton and PJ Hanne. Guests danced to music by Julio & Cesar in the new courtyard and sipped Felipe’s signature margaritas.

Heard something interesting for “cruisin’ the crescent?”

If so, please send it to: St. Charles Avenue
110 Veterans Blvd., Ste. 123, Metairie, La. 70005
or email: Shelby@MyNewOrleans.com


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