Twice a month, volunteers at the Crescent City Cafe serve up a free, restaurant-style breakfast for guests who are facing income difficulties or homelessness. For over 10 years now, the cafe has welcomed anyone who steps through its doors with a choice of delicious breakfast foods and a friendly dining experience.
The Crescent City Cafe began in 2009 with a simple idea: serve meals to people facing homelessness in a dignified manner. Staffed entirely by young adult volunteers, the cafe offers a restaurant experience and creates a sense of community at the same time. Every first and third Saturday of the month, the cafe operates from a fellowship hall at the Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church.
“Anyone at any stage is welcome to come eat,” says Adelle Bergman, Crescent City Cafe’s Executive Director. “We created that community space where people know they’ll have breakfast served by smiling faces.” That sense of community is very real, too. Former guests who have gone on to obtain housing and more stable living situations will sometimes drop by just to say hello.
In addition, the food served at Crescent City Cafe is similar to what diners in New Orleans might buy for brunch. Breakfast tacos, open-faced biscuits with pulled pork and blueberry cream cheese French toast casserole are just a few of the favorite dishes offered up twice a month.
Moving forward, the cafe’s team hopes to have an even bigger impact on the community. “So we are actively working toward becoming a pay-what-you-can restaurant in the New Orleans area,” says Bergman. This would include a dedicated restaurant space where visitors can pay a suggested price, pay what they can or trade volunteer time for their meal. It is another way to help reinforce the idea that food is a basic need, as well as break down barriers. “We want to create a space where there’s no ‘us versus them,’ just people eating,” says Bergman.
Groups and individuals are welcome to volunteer at Crescent City Cafe. Simply visit their website (CrescentCityCafe.com), click on the volunteer tab and fill out the calendar. Donations are always accepted, and a gift of $5 will help provide breakfast for a guest at the current cafe. Donors for the planned restaurant are also needed at this time.