Bob Hennessy was running late. The North Shore resident, and owner of Morning Call coffee shop in City Park’s Casino building was due for a mandatory meeting with Robert Becker, CEO of City Park, but navigating across the Causeway cost him an extra 15 minutes.
It also cost him a few million dollars in revenue as Becker awarded the lucrative coffee stand contract to Morning Call rival Cafe du Monde.City Park is a public agency, and is bound to honor Louisiana’s public lease laws. Miss a mandatory pre-bid meeting? Your bid proposal gets tossed into the nearest trash can.
Morning Call now has 60 days to vacate the Casino Building and turn the keys over to Cafe du Monde.Morning Call had been competing with Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet for the lucrative City Park coffee stand lease, and had submitted the highest bid of the three businesses. That does not matter. And the lawsuits they are a coming. Morning Call was established in 1870 in New Orleans French Market and had a 100 plus year run in the city proper til vacating for the suburbs in 1974. The business opened in City Park’s Casino building in 2012.
Originally founded by Croatian immigrant Joseph Jurisich, the coffee shop would remain in the Jurisich family til Joseph’s grandson Alvin passed away in 1991. Prior to his passing, Alvin Jurisisch’s children were disinherited.After a lengthy, and hard-fought legal battle, Alvin’s wife Carol then inherited the business and passed it on to her two sons Bob and Mike Hennessy.
If you have a couple hours and you would like to read about how the Jurisich heirs lost Morning Call to the Hennessys then click here. It’s not for the faint of heart.
As we were leaving we noticed a waiter standing off to the side of a nearby lagoon having a morning smoke. Robbie has been with Morning Call for 28 years and is the longest tenured employee with the company. When asked after the scandal he shrugged “It’s all in the hands of the Lord now”
Update July 18th 2018
Morning Call will be allowed to remain in City Park for the time being. The old donut shop sued City Park as well as Cafe du Monde, and this morning park spokesman John Hopper announced that Morning Call will be allowed to stay while the lawsuit plays out. No court date has been set.