The last couple of days have been busy, to say the least, and I’ve left the laptop at the shop. The one we’ve had there has crapped out and we haven’t had any Internet service at the house until today. It’s useless for me to try to post from the shop, since I get all diverted and can’t focus. It’s much easier at home. Forgive me if the post is a bit all over the road, but a lot has happened in the wake of the storm.
We took Alex home to Mid-City this evening. This was an area that was heavily flooded by Katrina (and where we used to live), but this evening all (or most) of the lights appear on and things are getting back to normal. That’s great, since the area has come such a long way since Katrina and was one of the big question marks for Gustav. We truly do love Mid-City.
I cried briefly this morning. I’m not usually prone to that but….
Those of you who know the restaurant know that our biggest seller is our redfish sammich. One of the reasons for this is that it’s made with ciabatta bread we get from La Boulangerie up Magazine St. This bakery is owned by a Frenchman named Dominique (we met his parents during a catering gig a few months back) and we’ve been consistent customers nearly since we opened. Dominique closed his shop before the storm, posting a sign in the window, and I just assumed he wouldn’t be back until this weekend or so. We had plenty of fish in-house and we’ve just been serving it on regular hamburger buns or on whatever cheapass French bread we could find. I called La Boulangerie Tuesday and left a message for Dominique to call whenever they got up and running again. This morning, Dominique appears about 9:30ish at the restaurant with 15 loaves of this wonderful ciabatta. Needless to say, I was beyond touched and, I guess, I could have kissed him (him being all Gallic and all). But suffice to say I ordered MORE for pickup tomorrow. Sweet.
This is why I do as much business locally as I can. Dominique goes out of his way to help us without being asked. Our crawfish guy (David from Lafitte) shows up religiously — no matter how little I happen to buy from him. The wonderful folks at Rouses have pushed to re-open and are pretty well stocked. Our main supplier (F. Christiana) has come back on line and already made a major delivery. The BreauxMart on Magazine is blowing and going. Where is Wal-Mart? Where is Sam’s? They’re still closed — as are most of the big national chain joints. Bite me.
Speaking of bite me — it’s been pretty easy to tell who stayed during the storm and who evacuated. Those who stayed have been patient and shown a good sense of humor as we’ve come back up to speed this week. They’re just glad to have someplace to go that has power and a/c and is serving a semblance of a normal menu. A lot of them don’t have power at home yet, so they’re pretty much just happy to show up. But a lot of those who bugged out are just coming back — and they expect (they sometimes DEMAND) that things be just like they were a week ago, before the storm kinda threw everything out of whack for awhile.
I threw one of them out of the restaurant yesterday. We were crazy busy for breakfast and, for the most part, folks were understanding that we were short of employees and inventory. We were the first place on Magazine to re-open after Gustav passed and we remain one of the very few with any breakfast at all. It indeed took a long time to fill this woman’s (to-go) order. The to-go folks are automatically bumped to the back when we have a house full of sit-down customers. But this woman pissed and moaned and bitched and griped and got on everyone’s nerves until she finally got her order and TBK comped it for taking so long. She continued to bitch about the service and I went out and apoligized and she kept griping so I finally told her that if she wasn’t happy she could go to the freaking McDonald’s on St. Charles (which hasn’t reopened yet). She continued bitching and I told her just get out. Get out of my place and go tell her friends who are just like her that I don’t want them in my restaurant and I don’t want her in my place again. Kristen also yelled something as she was slinking away. It was great. The customer is always right until they’re an asshole. Then they’re just an asshole.
I think we’re each put on earth to do one of three things: 1) to make someone smile, 2) to make someone think or 3) to help someone who needs help. If we’re lucky, we can accomplish all three. I’ve been extremely fortunate in the past week to see all those traits in a lot of wonderful people. It’s just a shame some folks don’t get it — and, frankly, I don’t want them in my place of business no matter how green their money is.
I’m going to the Saints game Sunday! Rae was nice enough to invite me and we should be staffed up enough for me to take a few hours off.
I can’t say enough about TBK and Stu and Kristen and all their work this week. We’re truly a family operation. Milo and Alex and Melanie and Matt are right in there with us and Jessica’s early return was a tremendous boost. We should be about back to full staff by Sunday.
Sleep now. There’s a lot to wake up for tomorrow.