Two Mid-City stalwarts are featured in Gambit’s annual 40 Under 40.
Jennifer Weishaupt, 34
Industrial safety manager, Shell; co-owner, Ruby Slipper Cafe
Erich Weishaupt, 34
Real estate investor; co-owner, Ruby Slipper Cafe
With tenacity and optimism, Erich and Jennifer Weishaupt have made an impact on their Mid-City neighborhood that can be seen, heard and even tasted.
Jennifer hails from New York and first moved to New Orleans in the mid-1990s to attend Tulane University. She is now an industrial safety manager for Shell. Erich, a native of Montgomery, Ala., moved to the area about the same time to work on offshore rigs. They married and soon embarked on real estate investments together, selecting neglected properties to restore near their Mid-City home.
“When we chose to come back to Mid-City and invest here for the future, we knew there was no turning back,” Jennifer says. “We knew we had to be all in to make this neighborhood as good as we know it can be.
“I was raised in a household where we never had money to give, so we volunteered a lot. If I’ve been blessed with some leadership ability, I want to share that with my neighborhood.”
The Weishaupts became heavily involved in the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, of which Jennifer is now president, and they became charter organizers of the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo, a free festival that draws thousands of people to the area each Memorial Day.
They continue to turn blighted properties into inviting homes, but their most recent project has been the biggest transformation of all. Last spring they opened the Ruby Slipper CafÃ©, their first foray into the restaurant business. In the process, they transformed a corner store that had been a magnet for crime into a bright destination for breakfast and lunch.
‘When we see an opportunity, we try to gain the skills we need to make it happen,” Erich says. “It takes a while for the business returns to come back to you, but right away you can see these things helping the neighborhood.”
by Ian McNulty