As President/CEO of Coaxum Enterprises, Inc., Henry L. Coaxum, Jr. is the Owner/Operator of seven McDonald’s restaurants in the New Orleans area. His first job with the McDonald’s Corporation was as a manager trainee at the McDonald’s restaurant located on the I-10 Service Road and Read Boulevard in Eastern New Orleans in 1984. His career came full circle in 2002 when he became the owner/operator of that very same restaurant. This restaurant also has the distinction of being the first McDonald’s to receive the Nation Restaurant News’ Successful Settings Award in 2003.
Although three of Coaxum’s original restaurants he opened in 2002 were damaged and closed due to Hurricane Katrina, he bought and reopened the St. Charles Avenue restaurant in February 2006 – just in time for the 150th Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. This was the first McDonald’s restaurant to reopen on the east bank of New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, Coaxum set a restaurateur record by acquiring and reopening four closed full-service restaurants in five months. In December 2006, Coaxum reopened his originally-owned Read Boulevard location, which was rebuilt to its award-winning appearance and décor.
In January 2007, he reopened the S. Claiborne Avenue restaurant (one of his original three restaurants he owned pre-Katrina). In July of that year, he reopened the Bullard Avenue McDonald’s, which was the first quick-service restaurant to reopen on that eastern New Orleans avenue.
Coaxum helps to keep the “Golden Arches” shining through his fundraising efforts with numerous foundations and non-profits. He was presented with The Ronald Award, aprestigious award which honors McDonald’s owner/operators for outstanding service — to both the McDonald’s brand through exemplary operations, marketing and employee relations practices, as well as to their local communities.
Coaxum serves as President of the Great Southern Region’s Black McDonald’s Operators Association. He was appointed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as Chairman of the NOLA Business Alliance Board, launching the city’s first-ever public-private partnership for economic development. He also was appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the city’s Hospital Service District Board that will oversee the development and operation of a full service hospital in Eastern New Orleans.
Coaxum was selected as a 2012 Laureate of the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, joining the Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, Inc. which inspires and prepares young people to successfully participate in their economy through workforce development, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
Coaxum’s work with the area’s youth also is being furthered as a McDonald’s franchisee. He offers two education incentive programs for his student employees. For high school students, employees are rewarded with pay raises for good grades. And for college students, his “scholarships” help pay for books and tuition if the student employees’ grades are maintained while being employed. “Our youth need to learn that you can get rewarded if you work hard at both school and a job. Who knows, that job could end up being your career,” he says.