The Maroon

Chains replace local shops on Freret Street

A+new+Starbucks+location+is+under+construction+at+the+corner+of+Jefferson+Avenue+and+Freret+Street.++The+sudden+influx+of+chain+stores+along+Freret+has+been+unsettling+for+some+local+residents.+Photo+credit%3A+Mairead+Cahill
A new Starbucks location is under construction at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Freret Street.  The sudden influx of chain stores along Freret has been unsettling for some local residents. Photo credit: Mairead Cahill

A new Starbucks location is under construction at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Freret Street. The sudden influx of chain stores along Freret has been unsettling for some local residents. Photo credit: Mairead Cahill

A new Starbucks location is under construction at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Freret Street. The sudden influx of chain stores along Freret has been unsettling for some local residents. Photo credit: Mairead Cahill

Mairead Cahill

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Freret Street has changed a lot in recent years as local shops have been forced out in favor of bigger chains, leaving many residents like Monwell Frazier upset about the switch.

Frazier, a Loyola alumnus and lifelong resident of Freret Street, explained that the changes he has seen on Freret Street show how his neighborhood has slowly become gentrified.

“It’s changed a lot. Some would say for the better, but I don’t know, a lot of the culture of it has changed for me,” Frazier said. “Freret’s changed so much, so quickly in the last three years that most of the local businesses that I grew up going to are completely gone.”

What used to be the popular Village Coffee House on Freret Street has since stood empty and lifeless for almost 18 months, until news was announced that the building would be remodeled into a Starbucks. The sudden news has upset residents in the close-knit community.

Earlier this month, Freret Street Poboys and Donut Shop also shut its doors for good, leaving yet another empty storefront on the sidewalk. Since the announcement that a Starbucks will be landing on their street, residents fear the local nature of Freret is changing.

Freret Hardware and Paint has been on the street for decades, but shop employees like Derrick Porter do not share the concerns of residents and think that the changes have been good for the community.

“It’s more integration happening, more friendly now. You’re not scared to walk up the street, and so it’s changed for the better,” Porter said.

While some businesses are happy that new companies bring new trade, residents of the community took to social media to express their concern that the character of Freret will be changed.

“It’s just the picture of gentrification. It’s confirming that this neighborhood is young enough, white enough and affluent enough to have a Starbucks coffee right there, just kind of really puts the cherry on top of the gentrification sundae as to how much Freret’s changed and kind of died off as a local thing,” Fraizer explained.

While locals mourn for the Freret Street they grew up with, one thing is clear: changes are coming to Freret street whether residents like it or not.

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Chains replace local shops on Freret Street