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Where Y’Eat: Bringing Back a Classic Beignet with New Orleans Character

Of course I was wearing dark clothing when I bit into that first beignet at the new home of Morning Call Coffee Stand. And of course some of the powdered sugar I just heaped on its golden shell drifting down to decorate my shirt. Just as surely as a strawberry sno-ball paints your palate red, eating a beignet means wearing some of it. Here’s another truth: New Orleans people love it, because they love every part of the beignet experience, because it is ours.

After all, it is the rituals and quirks, developed over a long time and entwined with our own stories, that contribute such grit and gravity to a local food culture.

That’s one reason why the return of Morning Call has stirred such feeling.

This new café opened at a crossroads, at Canal Boulevard and City Park Avenue, snug between historic cemeteries, split by that awfully-long stoplight.

Its history goes back to 1870 in the French Market much like its arguably more famous peer Cafe Du Monde.  

In more modern times these two beignet brands developed along different tracks, though both are family owned local businesses. It was Cafe Du Monde that took over Morning Call‘s last location in City Park back in 2019.

But now after two years Morning Call has marked its return and when the doors finally opened last weekend, it felt more like a homecoming than a debut.

I talked to people a generation older than me about their lifelong allegiances. I met a kid who was barely born the last time Morning Call was around, who was tearing into his first-ever Morning Call beignet and trying to imitate his dad at the table, gripping a coffee cup with both hands.

This is what you get when your food traditions aren't just old and established, but passionately pursued and refreshed over the generations. That’s something that stays with you just as surely as the sugar flurries from your next beignet.

Copyright 2021 WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio. To see more, visit WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio.

Ian is the host of Where Y’Eat and the Community Impact series at WWNO.