Circle Food Store has been serving the 7th Ward and downtown community for over a century. The grocery, damaged during Hurricane Katrina, underwent a 7 million dollar renovation and re-opened in the winter of 2014. Before Circle Food’s reopening, the surrounding neighborhoods had inadequate access to fresh food, which means residents could only find groceries at convenience stores or by traveling several miles by car. This lack of options often leads to poor food choices, which result in long-term health problems for neighborhood residents. The owner of the store, Dwayne Boudreaux, and several other social activists worked to bring back Circle Food Store--a project that incorporates local jobs, health education for the community, and support for local growers.
Tulane City Center worked with Mr. Boudreaux on a design study to strategize for and promote the rebirth of the historic grocery store. A team of architecture and business students from Tulane prepared a report that included schematic design, structural analysis, pricing, and a business plan for the store. That information was used to make a presentation to the City Council as well as local banks, granting organizations, and private lenders. Mr. Boudreaux was able to build community support through this process and used the TCC report and the coalition he built to gain the political and financial support needed to renovate the historic and iconic building.
The building renovation started in February of 2013, and the team of professionals involved included John Williams, Architect, Joel Ross, (clarify Joel’s role) and Ben Tiller, vice president of The Berger Co., a real estate development firm. The beloved “one stop shop” reopened in January of 2014, much to the delight of New Orleans residents all over the city.
The Tulane City Center is proud to have played a small role in an enormous and ultimately successful undertaking by Mr. Boudreaux as well as many community members, financiers, builders, and New Orleans design professionals.