Construction begins finally on Robert's Fresh Market for Marigny-St. Roch neighborhoods

Robert's Fresh Market helping to quench food desert in Marigny-St. Roch neighborhoods

NEW ORLEANS - For years there's been a hole in the Marigny.

"We never had anything around here to just stop and get something really quick," said Tish Douzart.

"We have everything else we need plenty of restaurants and bars," said Donna Maloney.

Residents and workers have just about everything but one thing they needed. 

"Mostly fresh produce," said Breanna Bitz.

The last grocer in the ara, Robert's Fresh Market closed down after Hurricane Katrina damaged it. 

"If you didn't have good transportation it was very difficult to get groceries."

Bob Heriard has lived in the neighborhood for three decades; he shopped at the old Robert's until it closed.

"It's been so needed it's the first topic of conversation when you talk to neighbors," said Heriard.

Ever since the closure, the Marigny, and St. Roch neighborhoods have been a food desert. 

"We would have to go Uptown or Chalmette or to Broad Street," said Douzart.

Even with the Circle Food Store nearby, some choose to travel 20 minutes to get to the next market. 

"As someone who works in this area I'm constantly in search of food while I'm in this area and there's not a lot of options between gas stations and restaurants," said Bitz.

So when the noise and humming of construction returned to the former market at St. Claude and Elysian Fields, "It was music to my ears," exclaimed Heriard.

It was met with excitement.

"Well it's fantastic to see something actually happening because we had been waiting and waiting, hearing bits of news," said Miles Swanson.

For 12 years, the residents have waited. And this spring, work has finally begun to bring back Robert's Fresh Market by year.

The old store will be entirely redesigned, while in the back there will be room for additional retailers.

"I like it because it was a grocery store originally and it's going to be back to being a grocery store," added Mary McCarthy.

Construction will still take about a year to complete, a long time, but for Heriard, that wait doesn't seem that bad.

"What is there to think about it's wonderful," said Heriard.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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