Lakeside News owner Michael Marcello remembers when his Metairie newsstand could count on dozens of regular customers spending a couple of hundred dollars on periodicals every week.
But as anyone in the news or magazine business can tell you, many of those staunch print loyalists are dead or getting up in years. And with digital media ascendant, there is “nobody to take their place,” said Marcello, 54, whose family opened the newsstand next to Morning Call at 17th and North Hullen streets in the mid-1970s.
The inevitable result: Lakeside News has seen sales drop steadily over the last decade, Marcello said.
He held out as long as he could, but he now has decided that the newsstand’s last day in business will be Aug. 31 or shortly thereafter.
“It was hard to do,” he said Friday. “I didn’t want to give it up, but it was a fight I couldn’t win.”
Marcello said his father, Anthony, got the family into the newsstand business. The late Anthony Marcello and his partner, Leo Miceli, purchased Gilmore’s News in the 100 block of Royal Street in the French Quarter in the 1960s.
They later opened Lakeside News just north of Lakeside Shopping Center.
Gilmore’s News closed in the 1980s, but Lakeside News remained open.
Michael Marcello — a nephew of the late New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello — took over in the 1990s, after both his father and Miceli stepped away from day-to-day operations.
Under its bright-yellow and red sign, it became the go-to spot for picking up newspaper editions after major local events, such as when LSU’s football team won its first Bowl Championship Series national title in 2004 and when the Saints finally broke through to the Super Bowl in 2010.
Supporters began calling Marcello almost immediately after New Orleans CityBusiness first reported on Thursday that Lakeside News would close at the end of the month.
Some of them urged him to move Lakeside News into the private function room of a deli and catering business he owns around the corner named Cello’s.
But Marcello said Friday he isn’t considering it.
“It’s just a hard business,” he said.
UPDATE, AUG. 31, 2015: An employee who picked up the phone at Lakeside News said the newsstand’s final day in business will most likely be Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Lakeside News’ lease was technically supposed to expire at the end of Aug. 31, but the business next to Morning Call at 17th Street and Severn Avenue in Metairie will apparently be allowed to remain open a couple of days past that. This post was updated since it was first published to reflect that information. (Ramon Antonio Vargas)