Hurricane Relief, The Big Easy Style

Heartwarming stories are few and far between in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, however, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, The Oceana Grill just off Bourbon Street was serving up Gumbo and Cajun barbecued Shrimp today…

Just off fabled Bourbon Street, The Oceana Grill beat the blackout with candles on tables and a makeshift, but mouthwatering, menu of gumbo, price 10 dollars, and Cajun-style barbecued shrimp, a steal at 15 bucks.

For diners who sweated through a grim day-and-a-half dodging rising floodwaters and terrifying winds, the sight of shrimps doused in a luscious, thick, red sauce, was too good to resist.

And for once, there were no complaints at the stale bread on the side.

“I found it this morning, and I bought a bunch of gumbo,” said New Yorker Al Jennings, 53, who tried to evacuate with his friend Maria Torres, 36, from San Francisco, but couldn’t get a flight or a rental car before Hurricane Katrina struck on Monday.

“We came back, saw it was still open and stayed for dinner. It’s good food, the barbecued shrimp was great. The best I’ve ever had.”

Down the street, Tricon House, a Bourbon Street Bar offered up warm beers for $3.00 and cigarettes for $5.00 a pack.

“Normally we sell beer at 4.25, now we are selling them for three dollars, we are doing the opposite of price gouging,” said bartender Tammy Hoffman, 41.

“You don’t want to hurt your neighbor.”

Back at Oceana, a quiet settled over the restaurant, far removed from the laughter and revelry that normally fills one of the world’s most renowned nightlife districts.

But diners seemed delighted that there was at least somewhere they could gather, swap stories and offer one another support over a glass of Hurricane cocktail, mixed from various rum varieties and grenadine plus orange and passion-fruit juices.

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Info – list of organizations taking donations.

Update: Martini Republic has been following the news from Katrina… An even longer night for New Orleans as levee repair is suspended

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