Inside the co-op that wasn't

Former workers allege masquerade in NOLA

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Editor’s note: Today’s story is one in a series of monthly contributions from freelance journalists, supported by sponsors who share The Food Section’s goal of showcasing a range of experiences and perspectives. You can join the Burgoo Paddlers circle by contributing here.

In May of 2022, a bar opened in New Orleans’ 7th Ward to media fanfare. The previous operator of the space had been a neighborhood fixture, and its closure during the pandemic “stirred up a sense of doom,” as Eater New Orleans put it. Now, its new owners—including one who had tended bar at the location—were promising to reopen the space as the Velveteen Lounge, a worker-owned cooperative.

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