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"Laissez les bons temps roulez!".

Starbucks Coffee Company "let the good times roll" with the opening of its newest New Orleans store in December. The store, located in the historic Crescent Billiard Hall-Pickwick Club building on St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, is steps away from the French Quarter.

The store was designed to capture the essence of New Orleans. "Like other stores that are part of Starbucks' ongoing approach to create locally relevant designs that honor the culture of the neighborhoods they serve, this store is a reflection of New Orleans and was inspired by the rich history of New Orleans as a coffee trading port," said Andrew Bello, director of design for the Sunbelt region of the Seattle-based company. "We imagined what the space might have looked like if it had belonged to a merchant in the early 1900s, who often worked in the front room of a store and lived in the back." Bello noted that the front room resembles an old-fashioned apothecary bar with floor-to-ceiling shelves. The back room was designed to look like the merchants traveling space, offering a more relaxed atmosphere and featuring a 12-foot community table.

Works designed by local artists are showcased in the store. Sculptor David Borgerding created the statement chandelier made of vintage horn instruments that hangs in the back room. Painter Jason Horton created the paintings of coffee beans on small block canvases that are on the shelves in the front room of the store, and artist Madilynn hand-painted all of the gold leaf on the windows.

Also featured in the back room are images of Starbucks partners (employees) who volunteered in NOLA during the Leadership Conference in 2008. "They completed service projects in the Broadmoor, Gentilly and Hollygrove neighborhoods and helped build a playground at a local school and volunteered at City Park," said Bello. Together, that was more than 50,000 hours of community service.

The Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue store offers special-limited edition Starbucks Reserve coffees (though these are not limited to this store only). New Orleans is known for its "cafe au laits," and although there are no current plans to offer location-inspired beverages or food (such as beignets), Bello said Starbucks partners in New Orleans "can absolutely prepare a caft au lait for a guest."

He said "NOLA" has been a special place for Starbucks since it opened its first store on Maple Street in 1998. The Leadership Conference in 2008 (for 10,000 store managers and field leaders) was the first time Starbucks held the conference outside Seattle. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Starbucks Foundation gave $5 million (USD) over five years for relief and recovery efforts. "The store on Canal Street reflects this history and ongoing commitment to New Orleans, with personalized touches such as black-and-white photographs that capture moments from when Starbucks partners volunteered in the city following Katrina," Bello said. "Many partners continue to volunteer with local organizations."

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Title Annotation:New & Notable
Comment:"Laissez les bons temps roulez!".(New & Notable)
Author:Facenda, Vanessa L.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Mar 1, 2014
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