Episode 10: Cafe Reconcile

Staggering numbers of violence like that are a product of decades complex deficiencies at the state level and in the home. But a complicated problem doesn’t always mean the solution must be complicated.

Cafe Reconcile – Top New Orleans Brands with Story Block Media

Soul Food

A couple years ago one of New Orleans’ local news stations, WDSU, did a three-month study to determine the most dangerous areas of the city. In those three months, the Central City area of New Orleans saw 122 violent crimes. One hundred and twenty two. In three months.

Staggering numbers of violence like that are a product of decades complex deficiencies at the state level and in the home. But a complicated problem doesn’t always mean the solution must be complicated.

Give kids a way out and they’ll take it.

On a corner in Central City known for drug activity and prostitution, Rev. Harry Tompson and members of the community bought an old building where they could carry out a beautiful plan.

Their idea was to provide kids a safe, supportive place where they could learn personal, educational, and life skills. It would be a way out for kids who dreamed bigger than the violence and poverty that was eating away at the lives around them.

Cafe Reconcile opened its doors and began hiring the kids who wanted out. They learned how to work the line and serve tables. They learned that people cared about them and that this city has unending love for people who make great red beans.

To date, over 1000 kids have passed through the doors of Cafe Reconcile. They went from “at-risk youth" to promising talent working in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the city and beyond.


If you want to see the face of the new New Orleans, check out the video below where Joran “Chef Joe” Smith talks about the work they’re doing over at Cafe Reconcile. It will make you hopeful and hungry. And when it does, take those feelings down to Oretha Castle Haley for some real soul food at little cafe that’s changing the world.


And if you’ve missed any of our past Favorite NOLA Brands blogs, find out what other brands are doing big things in the Big Easy: