In January 2014, cleaners were working on a dark and gloomy basement when they stumbled upon a cache of curious relics. Once upon a time, the building had been an unassuming neighborhood restaurant. However, these unusual items hinted at it being used for seriously shady backroom operations.
The property was located on Ord Street in Los Angeles, the heart of Chinatown. The neighborhood is home to some 10,000 people and has been a commercial hub for Asian businesses since the late 1930s. And, having served as a Chinese eatery for some time, the building was about to be transformed into something completely different.
In fact, chef Marcus Christiana-Beniger planned to bring some southern hospitality to the district. Indeed, he planned to convert the building into a restaurant called the “Little Jewel of New Orleans.” But before he could begin serving po’ boys, gumbo and shrimp Creole, he needed to completely clear out the space.