Within the next few days, the smiling faces of Kira McKnight and Sierra Baker will become fixtures downtown. The life – and business – partners are taking the plunge into brick-and-mortar retail sales at a new shop called Cookie B’s Smoothies and More at 431 Texas Street, just across from the Caddo Parish Courthouse.

The road to Cookie B’s for owner McKnight has taken her from her hometown of New Orleans to being an operator in the yard at Calumet Specialty Products on Jewella Avenue to the recent passing of her mother, Annie McKnight. Everything she has experienced has brought her to this point.

Sierra on the left, Kira flashing ‘peace.’

For seven years, Kira did hot, hard shift work at Calumet. Boiling oil into products like gasoline is by its nature dangerous work, and her hours were long, often 4 am- 4 pm. As she tired of shift work and considered life post-refinery, she thought of those things she loved: helping people become healthier and more mindful of their bodies; discovering positive energy. It didn’t hurt that she also loves eating and drinking healthful and delicious things. A smoothie lover for years and a practitioner of meditation, Kira shared her keys to living happily and had become an Instagram ‘influencer.’ It was there she met partner Sierra Baker.

The thing about social media is that you can live anywhere and form a bond, and Kira and Sierra did, almost immediately. “I needed her kind of energy in my life,” Sierra tells me. Kira is nothing if not positive. She believes in taking positive stands, and radiates calm. “She is such an inspiration,” says Sierra. Kira needed all the positivity she could muster to help her through 2021, a year she says was her ‘worst ever.’ Early in the year, she lost her beloved dog, then suffered a serious house fire, and, as if the gods of fortune believed this was not enough heartache to bear, she lost her best friend; her mother, to Covid.

Cookie B’s ‘flower wall.’

Throughout the shop are things to honor her Mom Annie, whose nickname was Cookie B. Annie loved the outdoors and flowers, and she loved her only child, Kira. Through the shop named for her Mother, Kira will share Annie’s memory with others. “My Mother is with me everywhere I go,” Kira says. For part of her life, Annie was a bartender who loved interacting with customers and making drinks. “She would love this,” says Kira.

Kira and Sierra are also infusing their own personalities into the formerly monochromatic space. They both love bright, happy colors, Kira loves plants and greenery. They have created a swing for a fun photo backdrop and are working hard to get every detail ‘just so’ in time to open as soon as they get approval from the health department.

Once they are allowed to open, their normal business hours will be Monday-Friday, 7:30 am-5:30 pm.

Lots of last minute touches are still being applied!

Their menu initially will be filled with a variety of delicious, healthy Smoothie drinks. Kira might direct you to her favorite, the Strawberry Slam, a flavor-filled drink filled with strawberries and banana. The menu is filled with ‘must try’ options, from Chocolate ‘Thinny’ Mint, to caramel-infused Cracker Jax to the ‘dessert-y’ Organic Cookie Crunch with sandwich cookies and yogurt. Choose from ‘light and lean’ options, meal replacement options and ‘Crushed’ fruit bowls that make use of Acai, a ‘super food’ fruit that comes from palms. Add-ons will be offered, as will the option of unsweetened almond milk. Frappes will also be on the menu along with Iced Refreshers that bring thoughts of flip-flops and summer days and include light and crisp Blood Orange Coconut Ginger and Watermelon Cucumber Mint.

All the products are fresh freeze dried; “We want them to stand out,” Sierra says. Sierra and Kira want their space to be a place where downtown office workers can come hold a quick ‘Smoothie’ meeting with clients, or take a break from a hectic schedule a retreat from stress.

We look forward to the energy and vibe our newest business owners will bring, and encourage you to come give one of their tasty smoothies a try.