St. Roch Market: From Abandoned to Amazing

Back in 2008, when I really began my love affair with New Orleans, the city was only three years past Hurricane Katrina, and signs of the devastation were everywhere. While everyone remembered the French Market, what a lot of people didn’t know is that there had once been numerous public markets in New Orleans….such as the St. Bernard Market which had become the Circle Food Store, and the St. Roch Market at the corner of St. Claude and St. Roch. The obviously-historic building stood in the middle of a neutral ground on St. Roch, but the market was boarded up and abandoned. I wasn’t sure, but I imagined that it had been boarded up before Katrina….the oil bust in the 1980’s had devastated the economy of New Orleans, and the city before Katrina was one of the poorest in the United States.
So I was amazed to see the St. Roch Market beautified, restored and opened for business on my recent trip to the city. My musician friend and I visited and found that, rather than a market, it has been turned into a food court, with many different food, dessert and drink options. After a chocolate cupcake from Bittersweet Confections, I had a breve mocha latte from Coast Roast, the New Orleans branch of a Long Beach, Mississippi coffee roastery. We had only recently eaten breakfast, but there were many food options, including both Thai and Haitian cuisine. The fact is, the St. Roch Market has something for nearly every palate, as long as you’re willing to be adventurous.

St. Roch Market
2381 St. Claude Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 609-3813

Walking Around the French Market

The French Market is a familiar tourist attraction in the French Quarter just to the east of Jackson Square in New Orleans. Carefully restored by the Works Project Administration in 1936, it is a fun collection of shops, restaurants, and a flea market. The French Market is the largest of a series of public markets that were built in New Orleans, but sadly the others have not fared as well as the French Market. The St. Bernard Market is adjacent to the Interstate 10 overpass at North Claiborne and Esplanade. It was most recently the Circle Food Store, but has been empty and abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. The St. Roch Market on St. Roch Street just above St. Claude Avenue is also abandoned and looks to be in even worse shape than the St Bernard. These historic markets are just as worthy of restoration as the French Market, but if something isn’t done soon, they will be lost forever.