We recently sat down with our friend Eugene of Krewe du Brew to talk coffee and community.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Eugene Anderson the 2nd. I’m originally from a little small town in Tennessee called Moscow, Tennessee. It’s a city of about 400 people. I’ve been here in New Orleans off and on since the early nineties. I think I’ve spend more time in New Orleans than any other place. (Laughs)
Did you do a lot of travelling, also?
Well, I went to school at Southern University in Baton Rouge and did a lot of internships here in New Orleans and some in Cleveland and some in Texas. And then I’ve been back here in the city since 2005 — right after the storm I came back to the city. But that’s it. I’ve lived from Tennessee, New Orleans, Baton Rouge when I was in school, Houston, Dallas, South Florida, Cleveland…
What made you decide on New Orleans?
New Orleans has always had a spot in my heart. This was the first place I lived once I left Tennessee. I came down here, you know, eighteen year old country boy, and just fell in love with the city, man, fell in love with a lot of the people here, and it’s just been my heart.
How’d you get into the coffeeshop?
Ahh… Let’s see… McDonald's! (both laugh) Honestly! My wife and I would always stop by McDonald's and just get lattes on the way to work. It was always our little routine. We lived in Mid City at the time and we’d stop at McDonald's, grab a latte, and I’d go to work, and she’d go to work. And I realized, you know, “this is not great, I can make this.” So my mom bought us a little home espresso machine one Christmas. And then we started doing it, experimenting, started really getting into it. From there I was like, “I think I want to do a coffeeshop.” That’s how I got started.
When did you start it?
I started here in 2012. Me and a guy named John Hagan, we started this one together, and then John went back to work, so I bought out his half, and it’s just been me ever since — me and my wife ever since.
The artwork here is really great. What’s your personal connection to it?
Well, we wanted to make sure this space was very community oriented, community based, so we always try to give different artists the walls. So every couple of months we’ll have a different artist just have the walls so they’ll put up all their work and artist statements themselves and just try to sell their work from here. It’s a really good symbiotic relationships because they’ll get a chance to share their work and sell their work and we don’t have bare walls. So it works out really great for both of us. We’ve had a lot of photography and photographers. We had one of my friends, Emerson Montebelli, we had his stuff on the wall before. He’s a world renown photographer, travels all over the world taking amazing photos and we had some of his stuff here.
What else do you do for community outreach?
We always try to make sure we give different groups the space if we need to. I mean we’ve had different things from church groups meet here, to political groups meet here, to kids groups meet here, non-profits meet here. And we just try to be an open space for people to be able to use. We’ve had locally shot films shown here — supporting a whole different gamut of what people in the community are doing — to have that space available for different people to use if they need to.
I’m sure you immediately feel the support back...
We definitely feel the support. It’s actually something I was thinking about this morning. This place is really more than just us and more than just coffee. It always feel like one of these spaces that people just come in, and we want to be really part of the neighborhood and of the community we service. We’ll have people that’ll stop in, don’t want anything, not gonna buy anything, just come in to say, “Hey”. Or kids that will come in to show me their report card because I got on them because they got a C last time and I know they can get an A in math. So, things like that, you know. Every business wants to be financially successful, but you know, things like that are really the kinds of things that make me feel good.