News (USA)

Gay restauranteur dies in husband’s arms in shocking New Orleans murder

Jacob A. Carter (left) and Daniel Blagovich, are a married gay couple. They're both young, white, brunette men with moustachs. In this picture, they smile on he front steps of a house or business while holding their Dalmatian dog)
Jacob Carter and Daniel Blagovich Photo: GoFundMe

Police in New Orleans, Louisiana are looking for the murderer of gay business owner Jacob Carter. Carter was vacationing in the city with his husband when an unknown gunman shot him once and fled, leaving Carter dead at the scene around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, January 5.

“He died in my arms,” Daniel Blagovich, Carter’s husband and business partner, told The News Tribune. The two founded their business — Howdy Bagel in Tacoma, Washington — at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tribune said it was “a proudly queer company,” and local queer business owners called the shop “a safe haven where acceptance, love, and joy thrives.”

As part of the couple’s visit to New Orleans, they met with Jeff Hinson and Breanne Kostyk, the owners of New Orleans’ Flour Moon Bagels, to discuss their business experiences. Blagovich and Carter often worked 60 to 80 hours a week at their business and looked forward to their Louisiana vacation.

“Just after they landed, they sent us a message about how charming our city is. You could hear the excitement they had about discovering this town, which makes it even more saddening,” Hinson told the aforementioned publication. “For the city to take them is unacceptable.”

Before opening Howdy Bagel, Carter had done social work with refugees and served as a documentary photographer in the Middle East. The bagel shop serves homemade bagel sandwiches with fresh and unique ingredients. It sometimes sets up pop-up shops around Tacoma’s farmer’s market and Seattle. The shop’s supporters have left flower bouquets and lit candles outside of the restaurant’s front door.

Jacob Carter and Daniel Blagovich
Howdy Bagel This image of Carter and Blagovich appear on Howdy Bagel’s website

Two individuals named Stevi Hamill and Scout McLaughlin established a $50,000 GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign last Sunday to pay the bagel shop’s rent and its employees while it remains temporarily closed. The campaign raised nearly $200,000 as of Tuesday evening.

“If you knew Jake, you know he was someone who exuded kindness, warmth, and genuine care to everyone he met,” Hamill and McLaughlin wrote on the GoFundMe. “Jake was one of the brightest spots in the lives of everyone he loved. This loss is immeasurable for our community,”

New Orleans police have not arrested any individuals in connection with the murder yet. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 or homicide detectives at (504) 658-5300.

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