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Leidenheimer plans to double the size of a Central City bread factory

The bakery, which opened in 1896, faces opposition from its longtime neighbors

A white Leidenheimer Baking Company truck features a Vic and Nat’ly cartoon on its side. Photo by JenGallardo/Creative Commons

New Orleans French bread titan Leidenheimer Baking Co. is making plans to expand its factory in Central City.

As first reported by Uptown Messenger, the bakery—known for its ubiquitous po-boy loaves delivered in bread trucks featuring Bunny Matthews’ iconic Vic and Nat’ly characters—wants to add more than 23,000 square feet to its factory on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Simon Bolivar Avenue.

Founded by German immigrant George Leidenheimer in 1896, the company has baked from its Central City headquarters for more than a century, opening its doors in 1904.

Its expansion would double the factory’s size, bringing it to nearly 48,000 square feet.

But neighbors aren’t convinced that the plan is a good fit for the neighborhood, which is largely residential, and they’ve asked the company to consider relocating to an industrial area to accommodate the increase in size.

In meetings and in letters to the City Planning Commission, residents voiced concerns about pollution—including soot stains on nearby buildings—and after-hours deliveries, traffic, parking, noise, litter, and a factory-like aesthetic that doesn’t square with the neighborhood character.

Revised design plans by Woodward Design+Build call for enclosures around the factory’s four silos, and factory-obscuring trees will be planted around the factory’s sidewalk.

Last month, city planners ultimately gave the green light to the bakery’s expansion plans on the condition that the company limits the use of 18-wheelers on site between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and keeps bread delivery vans to the existing loading area on the Simon Bolivar side of the building.

The plans are headed to the New Orleans City Council for final consideration.