Ruby Slipper began as a single New Orleans café in 2008. Its owners Cooper graduate Jennifer Fenton Weishaupt ChE’95 and her husband fellow engineer Erich Weishaupt were active in community redevelopment in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. After all the city had been through they wanted to provide healing in the form of music, art, and food, and went on to found the free festival Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo in 2006, and to lead Mid-City’s Economic Development Committee. Ruby Slipper grew out of this desire to create space where the community could gather and celebrate after so much hardship. The plot of land the Weishaupts chose for their new restaurant was deemed blighted, but they transformed it into a local eatery that has since grown to a network of restaurants in five states.
Today, the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group is successful beyond anything its founders imagined, so the couple is committed to give back to their hometown by hosting fundraisers and non-profit events in their restaurants. In 2019 they created the Weishaupt Family Fund to continue supporting causes they cared about the most, and in 2020 responded to the COVID crisis by starting the Lagniappe Krewe Emergency Relief Fund to help hospitality workers hit hard by the pandemic. Weishaupt’s commitment to great food and community is what made her the recipient of the 2021 Peter Cooper Public Service Award given by the school’s alumni association.