When you pass by Hey Coffee Company, Mid-City’s newest coffeehouse, the first thing that attracts your attention might be one of several things.
Your eyes may be pulled to the vibrant orange seating that extends from the doorway. Your gaze may drift upwards, to the large white wall that is illuminated in detail by a ceiling rail of track-lights. The first thing to pique your interest might be the scent of roasting coffee beans, or the full-body smell of espresso, coming to you freshly extracted from the gleaming La Marzocco Linea placed near the door.
For me, the first thing that grabs the attention about Hey Coffee Company is the warmth and openness of the people behind the bar. What keeps my attention is their mission to exude that positive attitude until it becomes an impact on the community.
At just over a month old, Hey Coffee Company is already a popular hub on the Lafitte Greenway. Placed just behind the Broad Street intersection, the shop’s floor is about 1,000 square feet of space intended for meetings, art exhibits, pop-ups, and, of course, coffee roasting. Tommy LeBlanc, the operator behind the café, intended for this mixed-use:
”We wanted our shop to fit where we are. We made sure the floorplan would allow us have a lot of things going on. Our programming isn’t regimented; it’s really brought to us by the people who come in here and want to use our space. So, we want to provide that.”
So far, they have. The blank white wall by the entrance is intended to be a gallery space. Currently, its showing works of comic wit by artist Cesar Meadows. Recently, the shop hosted a “Waffle v. Cinnamon Roll” breakfast pop-up. My mouth waters just thinking about the decadence. On my first visit, I was nearly unable to find bike parking: all the spaces were occupied by what was surely the entire Blue Bikes staff, gathered around for a meeting.
And always, there is coffee being poured.
So far, Hey Coffee has been successful at providing a place for people to express themselves, and join collectively. However, they’re not stopping there. Hey, Coffee is also giving a voice for something that cannot necessarily express itself: the ecosystem around them.
”As a biker, I wanted to be in communion with the Greenway.” – Tommy LeBlanc
Tommy continues, “It is an amazing thing as a way to travel, and for a meeting as a community. It’s such a changing space. The pavement is permeable, so between that and a unique system of drainage, it can take the first inch and a quarter of rain. The vegetation helps alleviate flooding too. Plus, it is a beautiful view. I think it’s only natural to partner with them and try to be a part of this incredible resource.”
‘Being a part’ hasn’t just meant providing a space to talk about the environment, but taking action as well. Hey Coffee Company is striving to be a cafe that leaves no trace. They started by eliminating trashcans, and have continued through small details, such as providing straws made of pasta instead of plastic. Hey Coffee Company has a dedicated recycling & composting program, the latter of which benefits other small businesses as well. A perfect example of the synergy provided by living sustainably.
Now, the cafe is down to just three pounds of trash a day, which fills up about a gallon zip-lock. Tommy frequently discusses the importance of cutting out landfill waste, and this mission has Hey Coffee in the running for Rubicon’s “Best Small Business in America.” It’s a competitive contest, with the potential to yield a big re-investment in sustainable and waste-free practices should Hey Coffee Company win.
The Greenway is a beautiful and useful local resource. It is not a space makes you think about littered landfills. It is a space to bring you closer with environment. A reminder of the beauty and necessity for the outdoors. Green spaces are important this way. To preserve and grow them requires awareness of how we treat the environment. Hey Coffee Company is using their gorgeous view of a local resource to push a mission of positive progress in sustainability, through responsible practices.
Hey Coffee Company is a great addition to an already incredible Crescent City coffee scene. Their mission to be a responsible business, mitigate their footprint, and become community collaborators is a unique niche that we hope to see even more of throughout New Orleans.
Help Hey Coffee Company continue their environmental progress as the “Best Small Business in America” by voting here.
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