Metairie Newsstand With Deep Ties To New Orleans Shuts Down

METAIRIE, LA (AP) — In a sign of the digital times, one of the last newsstands in metro New Orleans— and certainly its most popular — was closing Wednesday.

         Lakeside News was an unremarkable-looking place from the outside, in a strip mall in suburban Metairie. The newsstand was transplanted from the French Quarter in the 1970s.

         But it was a favorite spot among locals for decades, in part because of its location next to another New Orleans landmark, the Morning Call coffee house. It also was transplanted from the French Market to Metairie in the '70s.

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         With its crammed aisles of glossy magazines of every kind, poetry reviews, an array of foreign newspapers, selection of maps, horse-racing betting forms, stacks of local papers and 24-hour service, Lakeside News was a slice of Europe and old New Orleans rolled into one.

         "Morning Call and here would be two of my stops," said Jim Sparacello, a 77-year-old retiree from the oil business. After hearing the newsstand was closing, he stopped in for a visit.

         "When I came in here, I might pick up a French newspaper, or an Irish newspaper, just to get a different perspective," Sparacello said. "This is one of the casualties of the next generation."

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         Adding to its mystique was the fact that relatives of New Orleans mobster Carlos Marcello ran the outlet for decades.

         Michael Marcello, a nephew, said the newsstand was losing money because people don't buy as many newspapers and magazines. He said the business also was hurt by the digitalization of such things as fantasy football.

         "There's no money to be made on it," Marcello said. "We tried to please everybody — bicycling magazines, foreign bicycling magazines, how-to-build foreign kit cars. Foreign papers. Soccer nuts would get their foreign newspapers to get the results of all the big matches in Europe."

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         At one time 1,500 titles were sold at Lakeside News, he said.

         Jack Marie, a 68-year-old oil rig inspector, sat in Morning Call with his wife and friends for another round of coffee and banter. Everyone at the tables said the newsstand would be missed.

         "The newsstand to me is where everybody goes to get the answers they're looking for," Marie said. "When you walk into a newsstand, you're getting the truth."

         He frowned. "It's a sign of the times. People don't get what a newsstand is."

         – by AP Reporter Cain Burdeau




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