Sunday, October 30, 2005

Le travail quotidien

Jill and Eva came to town to do some work on their homes. Things went really well ! Jill got
some major things done like cleaning up her yard, getting a new water heater, meeting with an adjuster. It was a very productive 6 days.

We toured the damaged areas of the city and saw the giant debris heap on Ponchartrain Expwy~ whew.

When they first arrived, like most people, they were pretty overwhelmed by what they saw. It was just a matter of days, however, before they were passing thru neighborhoods saying, "oh, this is looking so much better!". I had to laugh at this transition because we all swing very heavily between the emotions that accompany this shift in our perspective and many of us feel like we don't know for sure if we are ok with how we
feel about the city. Good, hopeful one minute, tired, fed-up, disgusted, exhausted, wondering if it's worth all the work, where is everyone?, who are all these people?, proud, indignant to those not here helping to get our services up . . . it's a wide gamut of emotions. With every friend we see again, we feel happy and reassured. I am putting a curse on everyone who bails on us right now. Sissies can just stay away. It's totally doable and it's not infinite and it's not dangerous unless you're stupid.

A fine example of daily life in New Orleans right now happened this morning. First, there are
3 coffee shops open uptown. One has no espresso, he is waiting for a new one to arrive, his
shop was looted. Each day I go to the one near me and I get and iced breve. Today, he has almost no half-n-half. I am tired. I put my head down and just order the espresso and figure I can just go buy some half-n-half at the store. Instead, I went and bought about 5 jugs and brought it back to the coffee shop because I know what it is like from my filling in at La
Crepe don't even have the staff to get supplies sometimes. Turns out that his
dairy man, a local distributor, Brown's Velvet, somehow shorted his shipment. That guy is probably working overtime too, so he's probably exhausted like the rest of us who are really
pitching in to help local businesses get back up and running in addition to our friends and our own homes. It's cars on a cable and some folks don't get it. I do, and I will be getting some free
coffees I am sure, they really appreciated it.

Some guy was giving the manager of CC's on Jefferson such a hard time this morning because they aren't able to be open on Sunday! What a jerk! Grab an apron, asshole. Help them, don't yell at the poor man. He is bringing employees in from Baton Rouge to help have the coffee shop
open 6 days a week and we should be thankful.

I see a lot of people who seem to have the time to sit in the coffee shop and linger. Boy, those were the days!

And those local folks who were always like, "you're not FROM here", meaning you weren't born here. Well, there are some of those "local" people who aren't here either and I can't wait to run into them some night! They can never say that again, I will kick them right back to their silly little high-school.

In an effort to give you a complete picture of the current status of things, another example is that at La Crepe, we can't offer a full menu because the two chefs and the dishwasher are doing all the prep work too. So anything that's high maintenance, like fondue or their signature french onion soup we can't offer. Mussels we are doing with great effort.

One of the owners said perhaps one night we should have only those high maintenance items
and none of the other dishes. I think it would be funny. I am getting a kick out of working there and I learn so much about how they make the dishes and how they make decisions.
I am also surprised how many people ask for alterations to standard offerings, which to me is
somewhat insulting to the chef. Jeff and Son go out of their way to make people happy.

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