In a quiet end to a debate simmering on Freret Street for five years, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously last week to allow the Supermercado Las Acacias to begin selling single beers.
The store received permission to sell alcohol at its current location at 4929 Freret Street in 2011, but city officials and the neighborhood forged an agreement with Las Acacias not to sell any single bottles of beer. When store owner Alba Sanabria broached her request to remove that restriction last year, several contentious neighborhood meetings ensued, but the Freret Neighbors United group ultimately voted at a packed meeting in favor of Sanabria.
Her request reached the City Planning Commission in June. Because the city’s master plan and comprehensive zoning ordinance do not address single-serving beers, commissioners voted to support the request as well, sending the issue to the City Council for a final decision.
Introducing the request on Thursday, Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell praised Sanabria’s tenacity, both in operating the store on Freret Street since 2009 and in pursuing the issue.
“The Supermercado was one of the first to return to Freret Street, serving the community on a daily basis,” Cantrell said. “I’m well aware of the great effort she has gone through to move this process forward.”
Cantrell noted that at one of the meetings, a member of Freret Neighbors United walked out of the meeting and returned with a single beer he’d bought from another nearby business that opened after Supermercado Las Acacias.
“I know it was a little contentious on the front end, but the reality is this grew out of the spirit of being fair,” Cantrell said. “It just didn’t seem fair Ms. Sanabria couldn’t participate at that same level.”
At the council meeting, no one spoke against the request, and the City Council voted 7-0 in favor of it, including Councilwoman Stacy Head, who mediated the original agreement against singles. Cantrell said she would place a hold on the ordinance from being enacted until the good-neighbor agreement with Neighbors United can be updated.