Love NOLA: Lagniappe for our servers and small business owners

Sep 14, 2012

I usually use this space to tell a story, to share a moment, about this city all of us love. Today, I want to use it to make a request, to ask a favor.

You see, while most of us have put the guest who would never leave called "Isaac" out of our minds, while air-conditioning, dry shoes and restocked refrigerators have allowed us to forget the surreal reality of a fleet of invisible Entergy trucks driven by 1,100 invisible Entergy workers, the truth is that there is a big group of our neighbors who haven't recovered from Isaac. A group we love. A group that makes New Orleans, well, New Orleans.

I'm talking about the waiters, waitresses, bartenders and small business owners for whom Isaac wasn't just a four-day, five-day, seven-day inconvenience. It was a four-day, five-day, seven-day hit to the wallet.

You see, when Frenchmen Street went dark for day after day after day (after day), the people who make it come alive each and every night went without a paycheck. Or tips.

When the Pakistani who runs our corner market here in Tremé lost power, he didn't just lose revenue, he lost everything in his meat case (a particularly brutal hit since he had just used his savings to send his wife and youngest daughter home to Pakistan for a few weeks).

I have friends who lost four days of work at one of our city's most beloved restaurants because of Isaac. That's tough; but when you consider that the restaurant had just closed for its week-long summer vacation, it becomes brutal. Imagine: Losing almost 50 percent of your income for the month. I'd have a hard time making it. How about you?

And, let's not forget all the great boutiques and what-not that dot our city. Long-time favorites like Plum on Magazine Street and new slices of awesomeness like Bon Castor in the Bywater. No power meant no hours meant no revenue. For days. And, believe me, if you've ever run a small business, you know that every day counts.

So, what to do?

It's simple. In this city that so lovingly — and so often — puts its arms around us, let's put our arms around the servers and small business owners who took a hit from Isaac.

And, let's open our wallets with some much-needed lagniappe. Do you usually tip two dollars for a round of beers? Tip three (or four). Add an extra 5 percent to your next dinner bill. Stop in a store and buy yourself a little "Where's Entergy?" something (locally-made, of course!). You don't have to spend a lot. Just spend something.

To show you care. To show you love NOLA.

Thanks, in advance (and the next time you see me, the first round's on me!).

Brett Will Taylor is a southern Shaman who writes Love: NOLA weekly for NolaVie. Visit his site at