John McCaslin

There are times in our lives to restart,
Times when everything comes apart:
Do you know what it means
To miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart?

- F.R. Duplantier


Given the tremendous loss of human life and personal property, it may seem ridiculous even to think about what New Orleans has lost in its restaurant sector, says our good friend John Mariani, a columnist for Esquire and Wine Spectator.

Still, the author of the Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink says "if any city on Earth seems to revolve around and exist for food, it (is) New Orleans. . . . New Orleanians live, sleep and breathe food and love their restaurants as much as the millions of visitors who came solely to eat there."

Now, with bayou stoves submerged in water, Mariani is helping spread word that top chefs here in Washington will join forces Monday as the soon-to-open Acadiana restaurant at 901 New York Ave. NW becomes "the po' boy headquarters of a fundraising effort."

Participating chefs serving up brown-bag carry-out po' boys for a donation of $25 include Jeff Tunks (Acadiana, DC Coast, Ten Penh and Ceiba), Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel's), Michel Richard (Citronelle), Roberto Donna (Galileo), Ris Lacoste (1789), Cesare Lanfranconi (Tosca), Frank Morales (Zola), Todd Gray (Equinox), Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve), RJ Cooper (Vidalia), John Besh (August, New Orleans), Jeff Buben (Vidalia and Bistro Bis), Kevin Scott (New Orleans Bistro), and John Wabeck (Firefly).


Reporters were told initially that the Hurricane Katrina press conference Friday at the National Press Club was being called by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Black Leadership Forum, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Urban League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

As expected, black congressmen wasted no time criticizing the slow federal response to the massive storm, albeit Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio Democrat, assured the audience: "The issue is not about race right now. There will be another time to have issues about color."

Now, the National Conference of State Legislatures informs The Beltway Beat that it was "mistakenly included as an endorser of statements" made at what it labels a "Congressional Black Caucus press conference."

"The issue discussed at the press conference today was not voted on at any of NCSL's business meetings nor was it ever considered," says the nationwide bipartisan organization.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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