Esplanade Mall in Kenner, LA: A New Orleans Suburb Icon Reinvents Itself

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Nestled in Kenner, Louisiana, the Esplanade Mall has been a staple in the New Orleans area since its opening on October 9, 1985. Developed by Cadillac Fairview, the mall was initially anchored by D. H. Holmes, Leon Godchaux, and Mervyn’s, with Macy’s joining the lineup in 1986.

In its prime, the Esplanade Mall was a bustling shopping center that brought people together for leisure and entertainment.

Over the years, the mall has seen its fair share of changes. For instance, Dillard’s acquired the former D. H. Holmes space in 1989, opening a men’s store after the Godchaux’s anchor closed in 1992.

The mall even weathered Hurricane Katrina in 2005, sustaining damage but reopening within months.

However, the mall also faced challenges, such as the closures of Macy’s and Mervyn’s in the mid-2000s and the transformation of Dillard’s into a clearance center in 2012.

More recently, the Regal Grand Esplanade & GPX theater closed temporarily due to the impact of the global pandemic. Sadly, Hurricane Ida in 2021 forced the mall to close again, leaving its future uncertain.

Current and Former Anchors

Current Anchors

  • Dillard’s Clearance Center (1989–present)
  • Target Corporation (2011–present)
  • 3.6.5+ by image (2016–present, temporarily closed since 2021)
The Esplanade Mall Kenner Louisiana
The Esplanade Mall Kenner Louisiana” by Jeff Hitchcock is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Former Anchors

  • D. H. Holmes (1985–1989)
  • Leon Godchaux (1985–1992)
  • Macy’s (1986-2006, 2008–2017)
  • Mervyn’s (1985–2006)

Timeline of the Esplanade Mall

October 9, 1985 Esplanade Mall opens
1989 Dillard’s acquires former D. H. Holmes space
1992 Dillard’s Men’s Store opens in former Godchaux’s space
2005 The mall closed due to Hurricane Katrina,
and reopens later that year
2006 Macy’s and Mervyn’s close their stores
2011 Target opens in former Mervyn’s space
2012 Dillard’s converts to a clearance center
2017 Macy’s closes its store for the second time
2020 Regal Grand Esplanade & GPX theater closes temporarily
2021 The mall closes due to Hurricane Ida
January 2023 New owners announce redevelopment plans

The Esplanade Mall: A Cultural and Social Hub

Throughout its history, the Esplanade Mall has served as more than just a shopping center—it has been a gathering place for the local community. The mall has hosted various events and activities that brought people together, such as holiday celebrations, community gatherings, and charity events.

From children’s play areas to fashion shows and art exhibits, the mall provided a space for people of all ages to connect and share experiences.

Esplanade Mall in Kenner
Esplanade Mall in Kenner” by Jeff Hitchcock is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With the planned redevelopment, the new Esplanade Mall aims to continue this legacy by creating a vibrant and inclusive environment where the community can unite.

The mixed-use lifestyle community will incorporate public spaces for art, music, and other cultural events, further enriching the lives of Kenner residents.

Community Events and Activities

  • Holiday celebrations
  • Charity fundraisers
  • Art exhibitions
  • Fashion shows
  • Children’s play areas
  • Concerts and live performances

A New Beginning for the Esplanade Mall

In January 2023, new owners Eddie Ni of Pacifica Esplanade, LLC, and Minneapolis-based developer Marshall Nguyen took the helm with ambitious plans to redevelop the 700,000-square-foot mall into a mixed-use lifestyle community.

Their vision includes converting the second level into residential units, estimated to number between 900 to 1,000 while keeping retail, restaurant, and entertainment spaces on the first floor.

The former Macy’s building is set to become a grocery store and additional entertainment facilities, addressing the demand for more housing and restaurants in Kenner.

Kenner City Councilmember oversees the former mall district and has expressed excitement about the project’s potential to contribute to the sales tax base.

Over the next three to six months, the City of Kenner’s planning department will work closely with the new owners over the next three to six months to ensure a well-structured development plan.

The council has signed a resolution to support the project as a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which will amend to facilitate the mall’s revitalization.

Esplanade Mall in Kenner
Esplanade Mall in Kenner” by Jeff Hitchcock is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Bright Future Awaits

As the Esplanade Mall embarks on a new chapter, locals can look forward to a vibrant mixed-use community that combines residential, retail, dining, and entertainment options. With support from the city and the community, the Esplanade Mall will rise again, forging new memories and strengthening connections in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner.

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