Gretna residents have been patiently watching the renovations at the new Bae’s Bakery at 731 Lafayette Street, slated to open on Tuesday, May 10. The shop owners are Hope and Jonathan Liberto who are inviting locals to drop in and say hello. The building is a storefront in the Gretna Historic District that was built circa 1940.
Census records indicate that in the 1940s it was owned by Maurice and Leona Fink and was a grocery store. By the 1950’s there is evidence that it was a meat market run by their son, Lloyd Fink. It’s a definite that beginning in November 1958 it became the place of business for Vince’s One Stop Seafood Market. In 1962, Vince’s relocated to a larger space further down Lafayette Street. Decades passed and the little storefront was used for various businesses including several title companies, Envy Hair Bar Salon and a real estate office.
So how did the charming storefront become Bae’s Bakery? It all began with
Hope Barrilleaux Liberto, her energy and dreams! She grew up in Harvey, attended St. Joseph School until it closed and then Immaculate Conception Elementary. After graduating from Immaculata High in 1999, she went on to UNO as a business major. She took a semester off when her first child, Cameron Frey, now a 20 year-old nursing student, was born. She then enrolled into the Clinical Laboratory Science program at Delgado.
After graduating in December 2005, she worked for three years at Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma. In 2008, back on the Westbank, and never one to sit idle, Hope simultaneously went to work at West Jefferson Medical Center and back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology in 2011. By 2013, she was a laboratory manager at West Jeff.
“The year 2011 was a big year for my career, but also big because I was reunited with Jonathon. We were engaged in 2015 and planning a wedding in Miramar Beach in 2016,” Hope said.
“Sometime in between, I learned to sew and embroider with the help of my mom, Linda Matherne Barrilleaux. It became such a passion that I created a Facebook page called Sew Cute Crafts to sell baby clothes.
“Planning the wedding, I called a few bakeries in Florida and just couldn’t order a cake without tasting it. I became determined to make my own wedding cake. I consulted with a former home baker and coworker, Jessica Calvert who gave me the tips and tricks to do it myself.
“A few months of tastings and trial runs later, we were headed to Florida, the pre-baked unfinished layers with us. The morning of my wedding, surrounded by close family, I was in the kitchen with my “Bride” chef hat on, frosting my own wedding cake.
“Following the wedding, family asked for custom cakes. I began making cakes for friends, then friends of friends, then friends of those friends. Baking is my passion, I love to create masterpieces that taste as good as they look,” she said.
“I started an LLC and changed my Facebook name to Sew Sweet Crafts to fit the demand of cakes. During this time, I was holding a full time job and managing a cottage bakery! The cakes were booming with 10 to 15 requests a week. It came to a point where I had to choose, my college career or my passion for baking. It was not an easy decision!
“Jonathan and my family supported the opening of a storefront. We began by thinking about the name. Definitely no time for sewing now. Finally, we decided on Bae’s Bakery! My husband and I call each other B.A.E. for “Before Anyone Else.” We call each other that so much that our four year-old son, Sullivan thought my name was Bae! This journey began with our wedding, so Bae’s seemed fitting. Sew Sweet Crafts began rebranding to Bae’s Bakery.
“We began looking for a location in downtown Gretna. I literally drove the streets of Gretna every day on my way to work. One day, I was drawn to 731 Lafayette Street. We offered, she accepted and the renovations began. My talented daughter, Cameron took time from her busy school schedule to create the artwork in the showroom. After many months of waiting, it’s finally happening and I couldn’t be more excited!
“I knew that the last day of my career at West Jefferson Medical Center was going to be tough for I was leaving my work family of 10+ years, my team, my friends. It was 6 a.m. and as I was backing out of my driveway, a song was playing. I was a block away from home when the lyrics registered…“If you got a chance, take it, take it while you got a chance. If you got a dream, chase it, ‘cause a dream won’t chase you back.” At that point, while sobbing uncontrollably, I knew I had made the right decision,” Hope said.
The goodies that Bae’s have to offer are not just delicious cakes of all kinds, but also macarons, cake balls and bundt cakes. By pre-order, chocolate covered Oreo’s, pretzels and strawberries, as well as “letter/number cakes” and puffed pastries are also available. Local tidbit, you may have already had a Bae’s sample, since Bae’s Bakery placed 2nd in the 2022 Gretna King Cake Tasting!
Hope’s hubby, Jonathan Liberto serves as Constable of Jefferson Parish, First Justice Court and they live in Gretna. Hope is the daughter of Carl and Linda Barrilleaux and the sister of Christina Jones, all Harvey residents.
“My mom works with me fulltime, a volunteer of course, and Jonathan and my family are always there for me. I have four dedicated employees and am also incredibly grateful for the support of my loyal customers. Without everyone’s support, this would have remained just a dream,” the proud baker said.
For more “sweet” news, go to baesbakeryla.com and visit Bae’s Bakery on FB, or call 504.345.2397.