Early this spring, the French Quarter welcomed Addiction, a much-needed new locale for community-minded caffeine junkies.
Tucked away on Iberville, the welcoming coffee shop has a back story that’s quintessentially New Orleans: one of serendipity, repurposing, and love.
It all began in Philadelphia a little over four years ago, when business owner, photographer, and coffee-fiend David Taffet found himself in dire need of a change of life. On a leap of faith, he caved to a friend’s repeated advice that he move to New Orleans. While wandering the French Quarter, he stumbled upon Flawless, an all-black hair salon with a buzzing energy that totally captivated him.
“It was bouncing, banging, screaming… and real,” he remembered—“raw—real raw.”
He decided on the spot that he wanted the salon to be the focus of his next photography project, a project through which he met and befriended the salon’s fiery, multi-talented owner, Miss Tracy.
“There was really a miraculous connection between the two of us,” Taffet said. “It was amazing.”
They’ve since become partners in both business and life. A tall, loud black woman and short, soft-spoken, Jewish guy, they’re a pair of sure-fire soulmates that make “quite the first impression,” as Taffet noted with a chuckle.
Addiction is their latest project, housed in half of the former site of Flawless. The other half will remain a hair salon, soon to be re-launched as “Kinky and Straight” (a cheeky nod to their spirit of inclusivity towards all races, sexual orientations, etc.)
Miss Tracy, a welder and carpenter in addition to hair stylist and property manager, spearheaded the renovations herself. She’s an enthusiastic dumpster-diver to boot (“I’m the getaway car,” Taffet explained), and she hand-crafted the majority of the furniture from repurposed wood and metal.
The shop is full of curiosities, from the antique cash register from Schwegmann’s Grocery Store to the old Dixie Brewery lighting fixtures to the flooring panels taken from one of Miss Tracy’s former houses that now hang from the ceiling. Everything has a story to tell and a depth of character that couldn’t be ever be mass-produced. The realness extends to the products as well.
“We’re looking for purity,” said Taffet, who seeks out coffee, milk, and pastries that are as simple, natural, and local as possible.
Their homemade simple syrup, for instance, is sourced from a cane field right near New Orleans, and they only use crushed ice in the iced coffee to highlight the texture and flavor.
“I love detail,” Taffet enthused. “I want every part of the experience to be awesome.”
Particularly awesome is their specialty, “Miss Tracy’s Addiction,” a mouth-watering coffee concoction that incorporates coconut milk and cayenne pepper.
With Addiction, Taffet and Miss Tracy have united their passions for quality coffee, reclaimed materials, and irreverent humor to create a welcoming community space. So go get your fix. It’s sure to be “a habit worth cultivating.”