Jacob Carter

Jacob A. Carter (left) and Daniel Blagovich, shown with their dog Millie, were marital and business partners who ran a thriving bagel shop in Tacoma, Washington. Carter was murdered in New Orleans early Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.

The co-owner of a popular, Washington-based bagel shop was gunned down early Friday morning as he vacationed in New Orleans with his husband and business partner.

Jacob A. Carter, 32, was killed at around 1:32 a.m. near the intersection of Bourbon and Kerlerec streets, New Orleans police said. A suspect approached, shot him and fled, leaving Carter there to die. Police had not made any arrests as of Monday afternoon. 

It was Carter's first visit to the Crescent City, said Jeff Hinson and Breanne Kostyk of Flour Moon Bagels. Carter and his husband Daniel Blagovich flew in from Tacoma, Washington on New Year's Day to take some much-needed time off after working 60 to 80 hours a week at their cafe, Howdy Bagel.

But the bagel devotees—known for labor-intensive, innovative recipes including a "cowboy spice" (onions cooked down with chilis and adobo) cream cheese—couldn't go too long without talking shop. Between meals at Mosquito Supper Club, Palm & Pine and Hotel Peter and Paul, they met up with their colleagues and longtime supporters at Flour Moon Bagels.

"The conversation was electric, because you rarely find people who are your spirit animals," Hinson said. "It was kismet to talk about our businesses and the passion we share."

Like Flour Moon, Howdy Bagel was a pandemic-born shop that shot to acclaim, garnering long lines and thousands of social media followers. It nabbed a spot on The News Tribune of Tacoma's list of best new restaurants in 2023. The news outlet lauded the "very, very kind and cozy" cafe's "galvanizing" debut.

A Texas native, Carter was a social worker who worked with refugees prior to the pandemic. He had also worked as a documentary photographer in the Middle East, according to The News Tribune.

But when he and his husband lost their jobs during the pandemic, he seized the opportunity to get back into the food industry. 

"I always wanted to do something in hospitality, and I particularly loved baking," he told The News Tribune in 2022.

During the stay-at-home orders, Carter was one of many home bakers who found peace in proofing and pop-up shops. In New Orleans, Kostyk and Hinson were on a similar path.

"I started following other pop-ups across the country for inspiration and being able to get feedback from everybody. It has become such a great hive of creatives across the country that came out of the pandemic bagel boom," Kostyk said. "We all reached out to each other for support and encouragement."

She was thrilled when Carter and Blagovich paid a visit to Flour Moon last week, and so were they. 

Jacob Carter

Jeff Hinson and Breanne Kostyk of Flour Moon Bagels met with their colleagues and supporters Daniel Blagovich and Jacob Carter of Howdy Bagel shortly before Carter's murder on Jan. 5, 2024.

In an Instagram post for Howdy Bagel, Carter wrote, "One of the most beautiful parts about baking bagels is how they've connected us to bakers across the globe. Thank you, Breanne and Jeff, for your hospitality, kindness, and love of bagels. Until next time!"

Kostyk still can't grasp that next time won't come for Carter.

"It is still hard to process. They should have been on a flight Friday returning to the next chapter of their business," Kostyk said.

Carter was one of four homicide victims since Friday who were identified Monday by the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office. So far, five people have been murdered in New Orleans in 2024. At this time last year, 12 people had been murdered in New Orleans.

"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 said. "For the city to take them is unacceptable."

Anyone with information regarding this killing is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 or homicide detectives at (504) 658-5300. Crimestoppers tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.