The Coffee House in Jeanerette cultivates community, remembers history

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Posted at 2:43 AM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 08:13:35-05

February is Black History Month and we're highlighting Black-owned businesses all month long. The first one is a restaurant that brings visitors from across Iberia parish and beyond to Main Street in Jeanerette.

Even before business hours, the phone rings off the hook at The Coffee House in Jeanerette.

"In this city, this is the best food in town," says Norma Bazar, who works at the restaurant.

For almost 30 years, the Grant family has run the business, serving plate lunches and a customer experience that's hard to match.

"Everybody is family who walks through that door," says Beverly Grant, who manages the restaurant now. She says the businesses in the historic building weren't always this welcoming though.

"Long long time ago, we had to go through the back door. Couldn't go through the front," she explains.

In the early 1990's, Norma Bazar recalls, a movement started to change what it meant to be Black in Jeanerette.

"We was on the picket line and we did what we had to do and it was very peaceful because what happened wasn't right so we had to step up and do something about it," she says.

One of the first things that was done was the opening of The Coffee House. At the time, it was the only Black-owned restaurant in town, hiring Bazar on staff at the beginning. In the many years since, she's remained proud of the movement and the business.

"I know we've made progress and hopefully we can continue to make progress," she says.