On August 20, 2014, the New Orleans City Council introduced an ordinance to lease the renovated St. Roch Market to Bayou Secret, LLC. Such sales require the New Orleans City Council to delay the vote 21 days which means it may be voted upon at the September 18, 2014 Regular Meeting.
Prior to Katrina, St. Roch Market operated as a fish market serving po' boys and gumbo. Historically, the market contained local small business food vendors who offered their fares to the surrounding community which is currently designated a food desert by the Department of Agriculture.
In 2012 it was renovated by the Lathan Company, historic renovation specialists out of Alabama. The property has been managed by the New Orleans Building Corp. which is comprised of the Mayor, 3 mayoral appointees, and 3 New Orleans City Council members. The lease requires Council approval because it is city-owned property. The selection of Bayou Secret, LLC currently has the support of Jason Rogers Williams and Nadine Ramsey.
Bayou Secret LLC is a group of New Orleans entrepreneurs who founded the Launch Pad work space. Managing members include Will Donaldson. If approved, Bayou Secret LLC would operate as the master tenant of the space subleasing to various vendors. Current plans include a fresh food market, entrepreneurial hub, and community resources.
This lease, which will likely be approved, would be another great example of the public private partnerships that are pushing New Orleans forward and pushing the progress into communities that were previously overlooked prior to Katrina.