NEW ORLEANS — There was a lot of hustle and bustle inside the new PJ's Coffee shop during its grand opening Sunday.
"There's so much support, I love it, the atmosphere, I love everything about it," said LaToya Flemming, who went to support the new business in the East.
Flemming was one of many customers who said they are glad to see some life in this part of the city after Hurricane Katrina.
Among large crowds, she enjoyed her beverage inside the brand new coffee shop on Read Boulevard.
"She's part of the foundation of bringing New Orleans East back," Flemming said.
The owners, Stephanie Chambliss and Jamal McCoy, said they opened the shop because they wanted a place to drink coffee.
Since there aren't many options without crossing over to Jefferson Parish, they decided to come together and open one themselves.
"We're happy to be able to provide a quality business coming to the New Orleans East area," McCoy said.
It took some time before this day happened, well over a year to see the dream manifest into reality.
"It actually feels great, we kind of started out just looking to open up a coffee shop, we didn't realize the magnitude of what this really was revitalizing the east creating jobs in the East," Chambliss said.
The new business comes the same weekend the Grand Theatre caught fire, renewing calls for the building -- the last big business to open in New Orleans East before Katrina -- to be torn down.
People who live in the East say they don't see any locally-owned businesses opening, which is why they're pleased to see the new shop.
City leaders like Kelisha Garrett, Executive Director of the New Orleans Black Chamber of Commerce, said the PJ's could boost more business in the East.
"The significance and importance of economic development and small businesses being able to launch in the East will change what it's known for today," Garrett said.
State commerce leaders like David. St. Etienne, President of Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said he hopes the business will be an example of the area's potential to thrive.
"When you look at the present economic opportunity zones, the East has a large portion of that. This is a seed for growth, this is one of the gems, if you will, in all of regional New Orleans because the East is underdeveloped," St. Etienne said.
Peoples' attitudes at the grand opening reflect those words.
"This place is going to exude nothing but goodness," Flemming said.
According to the business owners, the shop includes a community room for people who like to host meetings.