On Friday evening, the forecast had the storm heading for the Florida Panhandle (hope they make out okay.) Overnight, the direction and intensity shifted into a “worst case scenario” prediction for our city (should we close? should we leave? should we stay?; so many false alarms in the past.) By mid-day Saturday it was clear we were closing and most of us were leaving, but the sign we left on the front door (below) reflected decades of “experience” in these matters.
We didn’t reopen on August 30th. Almost eight months later, on April 18th, 2006, we began the journey back. We estimated it would take 3-5 years to fully recover; it took 6. Most of the staff left before, during or after the storm; everyone survived, but half never returned.
The generosities of our customers, new visitors and the nation’s public were unexpected but welcomed and deeply appreciated. This past decade has been transformative for our lives, our city and our business. It serves as another reminder that, no matter what the circumstances, we should never underestimate the spirit, resolve and ultimate success of our communities and our country.
Thank you, from all of us at The New Orleans School of Cooking.