Circle Food Store

From its roots as the St. Bernard Market, Circle Food Store had served as a community hub for generations before flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Small Center worked with local business owner, Dwayne Boudreaux, to develop tools to advocate for renewed investment in the historic 7th ward grocery.

Project Dates

September 2009–December 2009


Circle Food Store, one of the only grocery stores in the 7th ward, was damaged during Hurricane Katrina and became one of the visual icons of the flood. Before Circle Foods’ reopening, the surrounding neighborhoods had inadequate access to fresh food, which means residents could only find groceries at convenience stores or by traveling several miles by car. This lack of options often leads to poor food choices, which result in long-term health problems for neighborhood residents.

Small Center Engagement

Small Center worked with the owner of Circle Foods, Dwayne Boudreaux, on a design study to strategize for and promote the rebirth of the historic grocery store. A team of architecture and business students from Tulane prepared a report that included schematic design, structural analysis, pricing, and a business plan for the store. That information was used to make a presentation to the City Council as well as local banks, granting organizations, and private lenders. Mr. Boudreaux was able to build community support through this process and used the Small Center report and the coalition he built to gain the political and financial support needed to renovate the historic and iconic building.

Partner Organization

Circle Food Store has been serving the 7th Ward and downtown community for over a century. Located in the meeting of Treme and Gentilly neighborhoods, Circle Food Store knows the “old” New Orleans and is embracing the “new” New Orleans like no other grocer in town. Circle Food Store is a family – and their employees and customers know that best.


Mr. Boudreaux leveraged Small Center’s designs to secure funding for a $7 million renovation. The building renovation started in February of 2013, and the team of professionals involved included the office of John Williams Architects, Joel Ross as project manager, and Ben Tiller, vice president of The Berger Co., a real estate development firm. The beloved “one stop shop” officially reopened in January of 2014, much to the delight of New Orleans residents all over the city.

Small Center is proud to have played a small role in an enormous and ultimately successful undertaking by Mr. Boudreaux as well as many community members, financiers, builders, and New Orleans design professionals. Our students and faculty helped to launch this project at an early stage when few people held out hope for this important institution’s revival.

To view or download the visioning document, please click here.


Circle Food Store

  • Dwayne Boudreaux (owner)

Seventh Ward Neighborhood Center

  • Sarah Howard
  • Jennifer Williams

Freeman School of Business at Tulane University

  • Patricio Campuzano
  • Ralph Mauer
  • J.J. Rassier
  • Francisco Robert
  • Chris Williams
  • Ruth Yomtoubian

Team Members

Project Lead

  • Emilie Taylor Welty (Design Lead)


  • Danielle Abelow
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Ben Flatau
  • Matt Fox
  • Jennifer Gaugler
  • Meghan Hartney
  • Whitney Huver
  • Garrett Jacobs
  • Ana Jimenez
  • Jason Liu
  • Lauren Martino
  • Frederica Merkel
  • Marian Prado
  • Sarah Rinehart
  • Karla Valdivia


  • Scott Bernhard
  • Dan Etheridge

Special Thanks

  • Pierre Stousse

Press and Awards

Circle Food Store reopens in the 7th Ward with pomp, circumstance and bell peppers


Circle Food Store shuttered after Hurricane Katrina reopens

WWLTV, Eyewitness News

Circle Food Store opens again after eight-year struggle to rebuild | The Times-Picayune

Circle Food Store Owner Presents Plans to City Council

Louisiana Weekly

Saving Circle Food Store

Tulane New Wave