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On June 28, Starbucks opens on South Claiborne Avenue in Central City

Featuring a mural by Brandan Odums, the “Community Store” will employ more than 30 people.

Photos by Leslie Westbrook

On Friday, June 28, Starbucks’ newest New Orleans outpost opens at 2851 S. Claiborne Avenue. Dubbed a “Starbucks Community Store,” the location is part of the Seattle-based coffee chain’s initiative to open locations in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Starbucks has built 12 similar “community stores” across the U.S. in locations ranging from Birmingham, Alabama to Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, New York.

Baton Rouge-based Tillage Construction, a minority-owned general contractor, built the 2,634-square-foot coffee shop, which includes an exterior mural by Brandan “BMike” Odums. It also has a meeting space where United Way of Southeast Louisiana will offer vocational training to youth. The new Starbucks will employ more than 30 people, and management is still hiring baristas.

“We have a long history of developing stores in diverse neighborhoods and we hope to do even more—together with the community—to bring great jobs, engage young people, and drive economic opportunity for all,” Blair Taylor, chief community officer for Starbucks and chair of the Starbucks Foundation, said in a statement.

Starbucks has more than a dozen locations in New Orleans, but most are located in affluent areas: the French Quarter, CBD, Marigny, Uptown, and Lakeview, to name a few. The Claiborne Avenue location is the first Starbucks to open in a historically black, working-class New Orleans neighborhood.

The standalone building joins the University Retail Center, a 60,000-square-foot strip mall anchored by Sav-A-Lot, Dollar General, and Citi Trends.

Full- and part-time employees get full health care coverage, stock options, and tuition reimbursement.
The store includes a training space.
An employee examines a selection of black and green teas.
Brandan Odums squats by his mural.