Citing state bid law, City Park defends decision to replace Morning Call with Café Du Monde

NEW ORLEANS — City Park administrators are speaking out on what they’re calling “misstatements” about the park’s decision to replace Morning Call with Café Du Monde.

The park’s board of commissioners, which opened up bids to operate a 10-year lease at the building currently housed by Morning Call, decided at its June 7 meeting to award the bid to Café Du Monde.

Here’s what happened before the board voted, according to City Park:

  • City Park is subject to the State of Louisiana’s public lease law, which was referenced in the bid documents.
  • The bid documents are absolutely clear that there was a mandatory pre-bid meeting.
  • The pre-bid meeting was held on April 27, 2018.  Three businesses were present for the meeting.  Morning Call failed to attend the meeting.
  • Prior to the beginning of the mandatory pre-bid meeting, City Park staff noticed Morning Call was not present and took it upon themselves to call one of the Morning Call owners to remind them of the meeting.  No one from Morning Call called City Park.
  • One of the owners from Morning Call showed up after the meeting concluded. Subsequently, Morning Call apologized in writing for missing the meeting.
  • City Park’s legal counsel has advised that when the bid documents call for mandatory attendance at a pre-bid meeting, the public agency cannot legally waive that requirement and accept the bid of a bidder, like Morning Call, whose owner did not attend the mandatory pre-bid meeting.  As a result, City Park accepted the next highest bid from Café Du Monde.

It’s unclear what’s next for the iconic beignet shop. The City Park location of Morning Call is the last location still operating. The Metairie location closed recently because of an increase in rent. City Park officials have not said when Café Du Monde will take over the City Park location.