Good Work Network fosters the endeavors of local minority-owned and women-owned businesses. The non-profit’s most recent investment is Roux Carré, an open-air food court on the blossoming Oretha Castle Haley commercial corridor.
Opened during the first week of December, Roux Carré features a central outdoor dining area surrounded on four sides by brightly colored food stalls, which at first appear to be repurposed shipping containers connected like Legos. Each vendor sells and serves their own individual menus from their respective stalls, but they also collectively share a common commissary kitchen. Exposed to the elements, the dining area is an ideal setting for a casual lunch or weekend dinner on a nice day.
The first set of “food-preneurs” represents the city’s African American, Caribbean and Latin American influences. Estralita Soniat runs an express version of her eponymous restaurant in Westwego, well known for its red beans and rice, daily plate lunch specials and traditional po-boys. Clinton “Johnny” Haughton opened Johnny’s Jamaican Grill after a successful stint serving up jerk chicken from a food truck. His expansion to Roux Carré has allowed him to grow the audience for his bold curry goat and stewed oxtail, two weekend specials served with rice and peas, caramelized plantains and slow-cooked greens.
Miriam Rodriguez, better known as the Pupusa Lady, serves an assortment of corn meal cakes with a variety of fillings, as well as ceviche, which she learned to make under the tutelage of Adolfo Garcia at the now shuttered Rio Mar. Meanwhile, the Splendid Pig extols the deliciousness of pork in all forms, including a candidate for the best cochon de lait po-boy in the city. Rounding out the list of vendors is the Juice Box, operated by the Youth Empowerment Project.
Comparisons between Roux Carré and St. Roch Market are inevitable. While both food halls are located in areas rapidly undergoing revitalization, Roux Carré has a certain spartan funkiness that meshes well with the surrounding neighborhood.