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Morning Call fights for its survival in court hearing Thursday

Beignet stand faces eviction from its only home in City Park after losing lease to rival Cafe du Monde

The fate of a New Orleans institution could soon be known as Morning Call and City Park head to court this morning.

The dispute stems from City Park’s decision to toss out Morning Call’s bid for a 10-year lease in the space inside the casino building it’s called home since 2012.

City Park says it had no option but to junk Morning Call’s bid after its operators failed to attend a mandatory pre-bid conference on April 27. Morning Call’s owners have argued that they were simply late for that meeting, though they’ve acknowledged it was over by the time they arrived.

After City Park awarded the lease to Cafe du Monde, Morning Call’s owners filed a lawsuit asking a judge to stop the park from signing the lease with their rival, prohibit them from moving into the casino building and stopping the park from evicting Morning Call.

City Park has since asked Civil District Court Judge Christopher Bruno to toss out the lawsuit. Bruno has not ruled on that request.

In court documents, City Park’s lawyers note, among other things, that the park has already signed a lease with Cafe du Monde and the injunction that Morning Call seeks cannot undo that.

The park has said Morning Call can stay in the casino building while the legal battle plays out.

If, however, Morning Call loses its case, it could spell the end of the nearly 150-year-old beignet and coffee stand.

The owners recently closed their longtime home in Metairie to focus on the City Park location, where they said the business was better.

The owners have said they are looking for another location but have not yet said if they’ve found a new spot.

Danny Monteverde can be reached at danny@wwltv.com