A local non-profit, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, received unanimous approval by City Council for plans to bring a coffee shop and office space to St. Ann Street.
According to executive director of the organization, William Stoudt, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans started after Hurricane Katrina as a way of getting youth involved in the city’s rebirth and recovery.
“Today, what we do is purchase and renovate blighted and foreclosed properties in various neighborhoods, we fix them up with the help of volunteers and we sell those homes at a significant discount to teachers as a way of stabilizing our educational system and creating opportunities for young people,” Stoudt said.
Stoudt said the organization has purchased four other residential properties on St. Ann Street that will be renovated and sold to teachers.
The current site, located at 2801 St. Ann St., consists of a vacant historic corner store, a single-family residence and an accessory structure. The organization owns the property and plans to restore the historic space into a coffee shop and office space for the neighborhood.
“Teachers spend a lot of time at coffee shop, kids need places to be tutored and so our organization is happy to move forward with this project and bring back life into some of these old commercial establishments,” Stoudt said.
The organization received initial City Planning Commission approval back in December. The City Planning staff report said the plans would “benefit” the area.
“The conversion of the site to a proposed coffee shop and office could be seen as a benefit to surrounding properties as it would restore occupancy to a vacant commercial structure, while maintaining its historic architectural character,” the report states.
Council member Susan Guidry commended Stoudt and the organization on its work for bringing a historic building back to commerce. She said she thought there would be few negative impacts on the neighborhood.
Guidry also mentioned that Stoudt’s father serves the community by being on the Lakeview Civic Board.
“It runs in the family,” Guidry said.