Week in Review, April 15-21: Bonvenu Bank, Prima Aprés, Tacos del Cartel and More

NEW ORLEANS — Citizens National Bank is now Bonvenu Bank. The 40-year-old institution unveiled its new name and logo at an April 18 event at its three-year-old south Louisiana headquarters at 3908 Veterans Memorial Boulevard. According to Jim Hudson, the bank’s New Orleans market president, the decision to rebrand came down to the fact there are too many other banks with similar names. “There are one hundred and seventy-seven banks in the United States that have Citizens in their name,” said Hudson at the event. “There are six banks in Louisiana that have Citizens in their name. We want to own our brand and be unique in everything we do. I think we do too many good things in the community for other banks to take credit for the things we do.”

Here are more of this week’s top business headlines:

Service Corporation International, which owns seven Dignity Memorial funeral homes and cemeteries in Greater New Orleans, has invested $1.1 million to build a new 384-casket Devotion Mausoleum at St. Bernard Memorial Funeral Home & Gardens. The funeral home averages 275 services per year. Several parish officials and community members attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

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Chef Abney Harper and restaurant executive James Vitrano have opened Prima Aprés, a fast-casual restaurant in Mandeville. Taken from the words prima, which means first in Italian, and aprés, which means after in French, the restaurant marries Italian pasta (eaten first) and French meringue (eaten after). Served in white Chinese takeout boxes with chopsticks, the made-to-order pasta is available in six shapes (such as spaghetti and orecchiette) and with six chef-created sauces (such as bolognese and buttery lemon). Toppings include pecorino romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, olives, breadcrumbs, crispy prosciutto and red pepper flakes. Meanwhile, the pavlova (a French meringue dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar) is served with vanilla bean ice cream and toppings such as English toffee, toasted coconut and caramel sauce. The owners plan to open a second location in Baton Rouge next month, followed by additional locations in the New Orleans area and outside of the state. 

On April 17, DoorDash released a report that it says shows how alcohol delivery has helped Louisiana merchants grow their businesses and created more earnings opportunities for its delivery drivers. “Consumers today now have more options than ever when it comes to safe and responsible alcohol delivery, helping to drive growth,” said a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based technology company in a press release. According to the report, Louisiana saw a 200% increase in the number of merchants selling alcohol on the platform last year.

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation has selected Children’s Hospital New Orleans to be the home of one of its newest broadcast media centers. Walker’s Imaginarium, a child enrichment center planned for the main campus of the hospital, will be home to the foundation’s first Seacrest Studios in the Gulf South. The studio will allow pediatric patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media. The Ryan Seacrest Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring young people through entertainment- and education-focused initiatives. The Children’s Hospital project is happening  in partnership with nonprofit Kids Join The Fight. Walker’s Imaginarium, which will include two floors of interactive, kid-friendly exhibits, will be home to the 1,200-square-foot Seacrest Studios. Crews will break ground on the space later this year. It is scheduled to open early in 2026.

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Finally, Tacos del Cartel is expanding. VEHO Hospitality Group, the Mexican restaurant’s parent company, is renovating the location at 2901 David Drive in Metairie while preparing to open a second location at 1010 Girod Street in the Central Business District. The CBD location will be open before Cinco de Mayo, and the Metairie location, which debuted in 2020, will close briefly before reopening in June. VEHO is led by Danny Cruz and Vilexys Cruz, who the say the renovation and new location are part of an overall rebranding of the dining concept. “The purpose of this rebrand is to reimagine the legacy of Tacos del Cartel as it conveys our personality and our promise of authentic and elevated Mexican cuisine,” said Vilexys Cruz in a press release. “Everything will be new, from the visual identity to the flavors and mixology.”

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