NEW OREANS (WGNO)— The Raphael Village is a place on Jackson Avenue for people with special needs, providing services for all ages.

Now, the Village has opened a new café, specifically designed to empower the adults who work there.

“The Dragonfly Café is our newest social enterprise and it involves our guild members working as interns in the café, serving, learning how to wash dishes, taking orders, cooking in the kitchen. All of those components that they can then translate into employment out into the greater community,” said Raphael Village Founder and Executive Director, Jackie Case.

The café is at 530 Jackson Avenue. A parent of one of the adult workers, Eileen Lumar-Johnson, expressed how important the café is to her and other families.

Maple BBQ-glazed short rib on a sweet potato cornbread waffle at Dragonfly Cafe

“One of the things that parents deal with, who are parents of young adults or children with special needs is this one thing- what happens if my child outlives me? Raphael Village fills that void for me as a parent,” said Elieen Lumar Johnson.

Café worker AJ McMillian told WGNO’s LBJ why he loves coming to work.

“Well, they treat you like family, and that’s what matters in a job,” he said.

Chef Greg Thomas spoke about the joy of working with this special team.

“You can give, you can receive, but we all have something to contribute, and it puts a smile on my face knowing that I can help empower others. It makes me smile from down here,” said Thomas.

The Café is open for breakfast and lunch, Wednesday through Friday, with brunch served on weekends. While standard breakfast is available, there is also specialties like the maple barbecue glazed short rib on a sweet potato cornbread waffle.

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