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Where Y’Eat: At a Small New Orleans Café, the Big Picture For What’s At Stake

Ian McNulty
Cafe Porche and Snowbar on Baronne Street in New Orleans.

Café Porche & Snowbar is a small, low key Central City spot with good Creole flavors and a modern feel. People come for breakfast meetings, roll in for brunch or head over from the CBD for lunch. Kids stop by after school for snowballs from a stand built like a pint-sized fairy cottage trimmed in gingerbread and stocked with nectar.

Behind the scenes, always, is Coronella Porche-Jenneford. She runs her restaurant while also working toward a bigger vision for it, one about reinvesting in her hometown and reaching out to draw people up, as others did for her.

Business has been devastated by the pandemic, but that vision endures.

Café Porche shows what’s at risk in the crisis for local restaurants, beyond the prospect of jobs, livelihoods and another delicious place to eat. Good local restaurants provide all those things, but also do so much more, because they are approachable, attainable and personal.

The restaurant is Coronella’s second career, her give-back career. She worked as an auditor and contract manager in the world of aerospace and defense. Ever heard of the international space station, the joint strike fighter program? Her work was enmeshed in them.  At different turns there were mentors who helped her rise, who made a difference.

Opening a restaurant back in her hometown was a way for her to make a difference for others. She was almost there. The business was turning the corner, to become a stable platform for outreach and mentoring. It was all falling into place. Then it was plucked away, overnight.

With no end in sight for the pandemic, how will a restaurant like Café Porche make it? Its founder, an auditor after all, knows the odds are worsening. And yet, there’s new hope whenever a regular returns, whenever the phone rings, whenever a new connection is forged. That at least is something our neighborhood restaurants always do.

Café Porche & Snowbar
1625 Baronne St., (504) 930-4249
Cafe open 8:30 a.m.- 3 p.m., snowbar open 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. (both closed Thu.)


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