Circle Food Store, which sits at the corner of N. Claiborne and St. Bernard avenues, was a cornerstone to the surrounding neighborhood from 1939 until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit. After the hurricane, the building flooded with 5 feet of water, and its owner has been unable to reopen the store in the years since; he’d been shopping for an insurance policy for the business at the time.
The store, which opened as New Orleans’ first African-American-owned grocery, has been dearly missed in the seven years since Katrina. The mayor, Mitch Landrieu, said, ”there are very few symbols of what New Orleans was and what it could be than Circle Food Store.” (Read the Gambit article here.)
Circle Food is set to reopen during the summer of 2013, after extensive renovations to the interior. During the next few months, I will be documenting the process from the inside and out. I’ll be talking with neighborhood residents to find out how Circle Food brought such vitality to the area, what it has been like in the store’s absence, and how the neighborhood will transform when its previous cornerstone is restored.
The following images of the building’s interior were taken a few days before the renovation’s groundbreaking ceremony, which was held on Jan. 14. I have also included some shots of the exterior of the building and of the surrounding area.
Check back periodically to see more images from the project!