JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — The 70121 ZIP code has seen a lot of expansion recently next to Ochsner Medical Center's main campus. But it has been a bit controversial.
Ochsner officials boast that the recent $360 million investment is creating new jobs and increasing property values in the area. But nearby residents opposed to it say its pushing neighbors out and run the risk of destroying unique neighborhoods.
Another attraction in the ZIP code is Haydel's Bakery which has been a staple for three generations. In 1959, Lloyd Haydel took over the Sunny Flakes Donut Shop property. He wanted to turn the area behind the shop into the area's first trampoline center. It came with one stipulation:
"Sure you can do that, but you have to run the donut shop that's in the front," David Haydel Jr. said. "I guess that was kind of fortunate for us, because the trampoline center didn't last as long. And we're still here 60 years later."
The original building was leveled by Hurricane Betsy which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on September 9, 1965. The family rebuilt and the business became Haydel's Sunny Flake Bakery. They kept the donuts for a little while and then turned it into a full line bakery. That's when all the different cakes started.
"My grandfather hired some of the old German bakers that were around the city and started introducing new products and stuff like that," Haydel Jr. said. "That's when we probably first started making king cakes."
Haydel's is famous for its King cakes, seasonal flaky Cajun kringle, crunchy cajunnolis and, of course, their wedding cakes.
The bakery has been passed down from Lloyd to his son David and now David Jr. runes Haydel's. But his mom and dad still work every single day at the bakery. We found his mom in the office and his dad in the back alongside his other son Ryan making king cakes the old fashioned way.
"We let the dough rise. We take the time that it needs to get all the good flavor. We still hand braid each king cake so it gets the cinnamon and the oil all throughout the dough," Haydel Jr. said. "And we make our icing and sugar right here in house."
Haydel's was actually the first place to ship king cakes in the late 1980s.
"FedEx approached us and said, 'Hey, you think you could ship king cakes?'' Haydel Jr. said. "We said, 'Why not?' We started shipping them that year and I think we might have shipped 500 that entire season. Now we ship close to 30-40,000 depending on the time of the year."
The 70121 ZIP code is also home to a fabulous gift shop called Special Creations that sells unique gifts and art made by artists at Magnolia Community Services. The organization is a multi-service non-profit that provides services for adults with disabilities. It serves about 250 people daily and there are more than 200 people on the waiting list.
"It opened as a store where our clients could both sell what they make in their work centers and have jobs in retail," Executive Director Jennifer Hebert said. "Over the years we've sort of really focused on their artwork because that's where they excel and what they love to do."
Whether it is paintings, pottery, knick knacks, wreaths, jellies or cookies, there is something for everyone and a lot of love goes into each piece.
"They feel a great sense of accomplishment. They get paid for everything that they do so if a piece of artwork sells, they earn a commission just like if it were in any other art gallery," Hebert said. "And that's really exciting."
Aside from art studios, the Magnolia Community Services campus also includes 11-acres with five residential homes, 23 vocational centers, a greenhouse, multipurpose center, a wellness center and full nursing staff. They welcome visitors to come tour campus and are always looking for donated supplies.
WWL-TV reporter Leslie Spoon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow her on Twitter at @LeslieSpoonWWL