Where the locals eat, NOLA Corner Stores

 

This may come with some backlash, but I remember being a little girl, maybe 10 years old when I first brought liquor and loose cigarettes from the corner store.. The items weren’t for me, but for a nameless adult, who will remain nameless, because I’m still the child and that person will still whip my butt LOL. But as children back in the day we were able to purchase these products for adults from the corner store with or without a note, I always had a note. I can remember being told to make sure the loose cigarettes where in their own bag and to not crush them or put the cigarettes to my lips, but I could pretend to smoke had I choose to buy candy cigarettes with the coins that came with running errands.

The days of sending your kid to the store for adult beverages and cigarettes has been banished long ago, but that relationship still exists. Corner store owners and New Orleanians have a type business friendship, there’s a defiant bond with the two families. If the owners, workers of the corner store didn’t know you there’s a chance you were new to the neighborhood or you’re a tourist who took the advice of a local. The relationship between the owner had its benefits and each could offer some sort of assistance to the other. Unlike the supermarket chains where you have a line of  impatient customers and cashier who has your items bagged up while you’re digging through your pocketbook for your wallet that you left at home, you are left with putting your items back. If that same situation would have happened at the corner store, where you’re a regular customer the owner would have let you take your items, because he knows you will return to pay your bill. Then there’s the times when you may not have any money and the owner will allow you to run a tab until your pay date. This trust, this bond secures the owner a loyal customer who will also look out for the store in general, such as being robbed.

As with any corners there may be a homeless looking person or a wineo hanging out at the corner store and if you wondered why they aren’t ran off by a broom toting owner, let me tell you. That so-called bum will be the first person to help not only the store owner, but the people who walk pass him. The same person to ask for spare change has been the same person to tell me I dropped my money. Do not allow judgement to keep you from spending with these small business owners.

The corner store may run you a dollar or so extra for personal items, but the bread and butter of the corner store is just that, food and you will not only save, but you will get some real New Orleans food from that small little kitchen. A typical corner store will have a meat department offering meat specials  that may last weeks depending on the package.

The reason why I highly recommend certain corner stores is the cook that works the kitchen cooking the best breakfast, lunch and dinner that will have you never cooking again, because the food is not only delicious, but it’s very affordable, damn near cheap and they cooks are so heavy-handed. Two people and a kid can eat off a dinner plate, especially if it comes from Ms. Vernadine’s Kitchen at Jack’s Meat Market.

If you’re a native of New Orleans, have $3 to your name you can get a breakfast plate of hot creamy grits, eggs and a choice of meat, I always select hot sausage, oh and a cold drink too… On average a cold po-boy cost is $2.99+ and a hot po-boy $4.99+ depending on the choice of meat or seafood… I’m wondering if I need to explain the difference between a hot and cold po-by…??? The lunch and dinner plate will averages about $7.00, it’s not the prices that should have you leaving the tourist trap, but the flavors of a NOLA Auntie or Mama cooking her butt off, because she loves it and the corner store allows her to feel as if she has her own kitchen.

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Another plus to going where the locals go is you can get the best and when I say best I mean it, but the best “Boiled Seafood” is actually done in our neighborhoods. You can walk up on a seafood boil and eat and drink without worry of a bill. Everyone eats who stops by, but the next best is the corner stores such as Cajun’s. If you’re not a New Orleanian, you may not care about the price of crawfish, but we care!! Crawfish hit $7.99/lb and we damn near went into withdrawal, because of our refusal to spend $20 on 2 1/2lb of crawfish, that’s not enough to satisfy the taste buds of a 5yr old…But the prices went back to normal, well not the normal of back in the day of $1.99/lb, but a good medium. To get the best boiled seafood it’s an absolute must to leave the tourist area. You can eat all the raw oysters you want in the Quarter’s, I recommend Felix’s and Acme, but for “boiled seafood” take you a nice walk or ride and eat the good stuff.

Outside of food and pricey household item you can pay phone and utility bill, buy a phone, a fresh white t-shirt, cigarettes, knock off sun glasses, fake jewelry and the list goes on. Most have ATMs and check cashing service. Let’s not forget about gas, you can fill up your tank and belly all in one stop.

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But the reason the wineo’s hangout is to be close to the liquor. If you haven’t noticed there are no liquor stores in New Orleans, therefore with the exception of a few Walgreen’s all corner stores, convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, well all the stores sell liquor, beer and wine. There are specials too, you can get two 16oz Bud Light Beers for $3, 2 for $5 Absolute half pints and you can get a personal bottle of Moet. The stores in New Orleans will have what my Papa would call a “taste.” I loved to eat even as a little girl and I overheard my Papa tell my Mama “pour me a lil taste” and I came running into the kitchen saying I want a taste too. lol But in my defense he used to make the best alcohol, I wish I could have a big ol taste right now and I would add a lil taste to it to. lmbo

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It’s a good thing to off Canal, go past the French Quarters to get not only a deal, but you can get to spend your money within our communities. Plus You will be able to experience New Orleans!

I highly recommend coming into the community, stop in a corner store or gas station order a po-boy, a few pounds of crawfish and grab a couple of beers, go back to the Quarters, go on the levee and enjoy your good eats and beautiful scenery. Don’t forget some newspaper and napkins…

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This is a bucket list activity, it’s a must and I’ll even ask you to do it for me, please. I know you have money is endless and you’re good with not only buying, but eating a $15 poboy that you can get for $5, because you’re like in the French Quarter’s, on Bourbon St and the backdrop of it all is intoxicating itself, but I guarantee you will not regret it.

 

As I mention the locals and the owners of the corner stores, well small businesses in New Orleans have a relationship and depend on each other for their livelihood and your support can assist in making those ends of lack meet.

If you’re worried about the wineo or homeless people hanging on the corner, please know they will not rob. They may ask for a lil change, but don’t worry you are safe. My suggestion for handling NOLA panhandlers is to 1st acknowledge them, always speak to everyone in New Orleans and give eye contact, this shows respect for human life and that you aren’t to high on your pedestal to say “Hey, Hello” but a good reply would be “Man, I’m sorry I just spent my last, I’m sorry I don’t have it or I was about to ask you for a $1.) Both of you will walk of laughing and the panhandler will be grateful for the acknowledgment.

Here are a few of the New Orleans Corner Stores or Gas Stations that recommend. I have a few that are actually in walking distance from the French Quarters.

Cajun Soup

Stuffed Bell Pepper, Baked Macaroni & Cheese and Gumbo

 

Brother’s Fried Chicken 222 Carondelet St., New Orleans, LA If you want to really dig in to the culture and taste what the locals like, this place can’t be missed. You get it to go and you’re good, dining isn’t an option.·Brothers chicken in New Orleans has some of the best chicken I ever tasted. I can’t believe it’s cooked at corner store or gas station . Where else can you go and get a 2 piece fries and a drink for $4.93 and a 40 piece for $16.99 wow gotta love it! 30441302_1818609078159751_5716008524970983424_o.jpg

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  • Basin St. Supermarket 237 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112                  Cornerstore with excellent food that served the families of the Iberville Housing Projects before Hurricane Katrina. I think this place is better then a lot of the tourist traps in the area. The food is delicious, 12in Po-Boys for $6, broiled seafood, liquor all at affordable prices. I would recommend this place over most of the places in the French Quarter. In fact if you want to eat good avoid the French Quarter altogether all the good places were around it! Come into our neighborhoods!
    (504) 522-7947

basin st

Photo of Brown Derby Super Store - New Orleans, LA, United States

Brown Derby 3402 Tulane Ave, new Orleans, LA 70119 Phone number(504) 484-0900

People are sure what to expect from a gas station/ convenience store , but this place isall that and a bag, well a plate of some good ole southern food. You can get a meat and two sides for lunch , and finish it for dinner. And it isn’t more than 8$, plus you get a drink to go with it!

 

Photo of Brown Derby Super Store - New Orleans, LA, United States. This plate was everything!

Turkey necks , mustard greens , Mac and cheese, etc.  Its one of my favorite spot a captiona caption

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Verdi Mart 1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

This longtime market & deli is known for Creole-inspired sandwiches, entrees & sides. The All that Jazz PoBoy is a local and tourist favorite.

Note: Open 24hrs, take out and cash only. Service can be slow when crowded.

Mardi Gras Zone 2706 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70117
Bywater
 Phone number(504) 947-8787

Mardi Gras Zone this is a great little Neighborhood Market that has a variety of goods including hot fresh food and cold deli food as well as some Mardi Gras supplies.

 

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Jack’s Meat Market 2279 N Derbigny St, New Orleans, LA 70117 St.Roch

Jack’s Meat Market  Late-night neighborhood convenience store selling fresh meat, groceries, hot plates, breakfast, lunch and dinner. My neighborhood spot. Ms. Vernadine is a great cook with a beautiful spirit.

New Orleans not for the local New Orleanians anymore

I’m just here to rant tonight after community market. I felt lost in my own neighborhood, going in these buildings was like warping to a different city. The establishments I visited today were places my family shopped at as a kid and I was excited to go there as an adult, but I would not have any feelings of dejavu.

It has me wondering if this is what New Orleans will feel and look like in the coming years. Don’t get me wrong the establishments were beautiful but didn’t have that New Orleans feel.

Let me start at the beginning. This afternoon I decided to finally get up and run some errands, we were completely out of toilet tissue and there was no substitute for that, so I had to go to the store and I refuse to pay $4 for no ply toilet tissue at the corner store. I love the neighborhood corner store for everything, but personal and household products. You can feed your family at the corner store, especially with the delicious heavy handed portions that the neighborhood cook, Ms.Vernanadine dishes out. For $10.00 you can feed 4-5 people, big people, and its good stuff like fried catfish, baked macaroni, and cheese and smothered corn or an arm long to-boy to your liking. I’m getting hungry just telling y’all about it.

I needed groceries as well, if it was just me, I could just eat out every day but I have a 7-year-old who likes milk, cereal and what she refers to as ” hot food cooked on my stove.” So, off to the store I go and I was excited to go to the new grocery store that was blocks away.

For the past year, I would drive almost 5 miles to the closest grocery store. I decided to make a walking field trip of it to get some pictures to share with my followers, plus it was beautiful out. At first, my daughter was down to accompany me until she opened the front door and saw a few of her friends heading to the after-school program at the church.

I walked her to the church, where some of the church members were retouching the paint. Our neighborhood church congregation is another change that came with Katrina, but it’s not a bad change because they are for our community and respect the natives of New Orleans. Plus, my baby girl lights up when she goes over there and they all welcome her, know her personally as with all the children that attend. My daughter gave a hug to one of the ladies with a paint brush and asked to paint. The mother in me said, ” No, it’s an adult job and the kids are inside, you go on in.” The lady asked if it was ok for her to paint a few strokes, stating ” we love that helping spirit” and my baby girl started painting as I walked off on to my adventure.

I walked down the restored neutral ground, one of few restorations that didn’t change, but add to New Orleans. If you don’t know what a neutral ground is, well it’s a strip of the sidewalk or ground that runs up the middle of the street dividing the two sides where one can walk safely. I love walking along this route under all the beautiful oak trees, lines of shotgun houses and the air just smell of New Orleans. I love it, it defines New Orleans.

Today I decided I would end my standoff with St.Roch Market after my sister brought me some farmed raised, Not saltwater oysters! Can you believe the nerve of them to serve farm-raised plain axx oysters?? Why? The worker didn’t even know why. Prior to Katrina was an open-air market, a multi-vendor market selling fresh produce, fresh seafood, prepared foods, butchered items, and sundries of all varieties.
In the 1990s it had fallen into disrepair but was still an active part of the neighborhood. For a time it housed a Chinese food restaurant. In 2005 it was serving inexpensive seafood and po-boy sandwiches until the evacuation of the city for Hurricane Katrina. Like most of the city, it was damaged in the hurricane and extensive Federal levee failure floods that followed, and the market did not reopen.

In the 10 years that followed Katrina the building was gutted but sat vacant until 2012, when the city of New Orleans, under Mayor Mitch Landrieu began a campaign to obtain state and federal funding to restore the building. In August 2014 the city leased the building to a private business who returned the building to a multi-tenant “food hall” which is a modernization of the building’s original use selling both prepared and fresh foods in a multi-vendor format.

Now, the St. Roch Market is a high-end southern food hall featuring a diverse lineup of foods and beverage, surveyors. Did you all noticed I said “Southern?” Maybe, I’ll give add New Orleans inspired flare. To be one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood, one would have #1 complimented the locals taste, # be affordable for locals, especially the kids who walk past it after school and #3 has a New Orleans feel. You know what let me add #4, vendor rent should be affordable for local chefs and cooks.

I ordered a salad and desserts because of I just knew I would be treated with some true New Orleans cooking, cooked by local entrepreneurs, but I should have remembered the oysters…The salad was very tasty and the pastries were delicious for a total of $32.00.

I ate outside took a few pictures and off I went to Robert’s for my next disappointment.

Robert’s was a Schwegmann Brothers Giant Super Market, located on St. Claude Avenue near the intersection of Elysian Fields Avenue prior to Katrina. I blogged about Schwegmann in the fall, I’ll try to pull it up. The store opened in 1946, closed due to Katrina and Robert’s grand opening was this weekend, which shows you how long we didn’t have a supermarket in our area.

I could give you the whole layout of the beautiful store with the cheese and wine samples greeting you as you entered and the mini checkout lanes that prompted me to turn my basket around to look for the full checkout line because there could be no way it could hold over 15 items and I had about 50.

I must admit they pulled me in with the heat and serve crawfish etouffee, salmon with baby potatoes, chicken cordon blue and the list goes on. That was just what she asked for “hot food cooked on my stove” well she won’t know I warmed it up, but at $10 for a 9-ounce serving I feel ripped off. Simple things such as bread, milk, cheese, and cereal were $1+ more than going to a store in Gentilly. Ish, you get to see the lake driving to Rouses and Robert’s is in the hood, but to give you a peek into the look of it I’ll let you laugh at what my Lyft driver who kept passing up the store told me after 12 minutes of looking for me. He said, “Miss. I’m so sorry, I would have never known you were right here because they have the doors hidden from street view, I thought you were at Footlocker.”

As I walked s couple times to retrieve my groceries, he asked me why I didn’t roll the basket out to the car. The wheels locked at the exit door. Finally, he asked was it a whole foods store, because he never picked anyone up here or knew it was there. After 2 months of being opened, I wonder why, I would say the store wasn’t for locals, well not the ones like me. My 40 items came to $261 and I’ll never shop there again, $4 for one box of cereal and that was the sale price.

Y’all know I love food and eat at the fanciest of places, but living in an urban neighborhood in New Orleans you want just that. I love both places, they did a wonderful job with the renovations, but in doing so they took the soul out the buildings, the prices will force the residents out of the neighborhood they called home prior to Katrina.

Patronizing these establishments gave me a glimpse of what they are attempting to turn my city, the city I longed for when I lived in Minnesota, the city whose soul called for me to return home, my city New Orleans is being renovated into just what these places are, home for the tourist.

Tomorrow ill tell yall how I feel about people moving here from other states and now are the go to New Orleans specialist and making tons of money from their views of our city. If you ever been to Jamaica you know you are greeted by a Jamaican, driven to your hotel and around town by a Jamaican, food cooked by a Jamaican, your tour guide is a Jamaican. Yes, you are overseas, in a foreign country, but isn’t that how tourist describes New Orleans and yet tourist trust another tourist in our city. Why?