by Ian McNulty
The Morning Call Coffee Stand opened a new café in City Park this week, marking a new chapter for an institution with long roots and deep nostalgic ties in New Orleans.
The Morning Call was first opened in 1870 in the French Market, where for more than 100 years it served coffee and beignets and competed with Café du Monde for the business of market shoppers and vendors. Morning Call relocated to Metairie in 1974, where it runs one shop near the Lakeside Shopping Center and another inside the Clearview Mall.
Over the summer, the café and City Park announced plans to open a new Morning Call inside the park’s Casino Building, the structure also known as the Timken Center and located just behind the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. It replaces an earlier concession stand inside that building.
A grand opening is in the works for the new Morning Call in the next few weeks, after which it will operate 24 hours a day. For now the stand is keeping shorter and varying hours day to day.
On a recent visit, however, this new Morning Call hardly felt new at all. With tile floors, marble counters, big steel coffee urns and an arch of bare light bulbs, it conjures images from historic photos of the original Morning Call and it fits naturally in the old bones of the park’s Casino Building. Café tables continue out on a veranda where columns frame views of the playground, a lagoon, Popp Bandstand and the Peristyle.
In addition to beignets and café au lait (plus iced and frozen versions), the City Park Morning Call serves a short menu with gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice and such and beer and Irish coffee. It currently accepts cash only.
Morning Call Coffee Stand
Casino Building (Timken Center), City Park, phone n.a.
3325 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-4068
Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 779-5348