Let’s Be Grateful for What We Can While Keeping Local Businesses Alive

Unity And Teamwork Concept.
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Every day my gratitude for what I have deepens as I continue to lose things I used to take for granted. Today I took a solitary one mile walk down Magazine Street from my home to Audubon Park, so I could walk a lap while maintaining at least six feet between myself and the nearest person. Not a quarter of the way into my lap, nature called. There are no such things as “public” restrooms anymore. I had overlooked this new reality.

It was a very long, very uncomfortable walk home.

Yesterday I was moved with gratitude because my daughter Cecilia, 23, and her boyfriend of many years, Matt, also 23, have returned home from LSU to finish their undergraduate degrees online. My husband Andrew, 55, and I, 51, are a little wary of moving a couple of recent campus departees/potential Petrie dishes into the opposite end of our home but we are also grateful to have them here. We have kept our circle tight but to some we simply cannot deny admission.

I just wish I could hug my daughter. But hugs are where we draw the line.

Last evening Cecilia and I visited her grandmother, Robin, 83, who lives just around the corner. My daughter and I leaned on opposite ends of Robin’s car in the street while Robin stood on the porch. We were grateful for the time together. Robin poured La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc into paper cups from a bottle covered in bleach wipes, put the cups several feet in front of her then stepped back while we retrieved the cups. Robin, insatiably hospitable, is desperate for more interaction than that which she gets when Brain Perkins, proprietor of the nearby NOLA Wine Merchant (5601 Magazine St., 227.3888, hopperswines.com),leaves a boxed delivery on her porch once a month. Though the lightest of imbibers, Robin fears not having on hand what she needs to entertain those rare guests who dare approach to lean against her car in the street while she holds court from the porch.

Robin also wants a hug from my daughter. She wants one from me, too, but hugs now reside on The Other Side of the Line.

Back to NOLA Wine Merchant (formerly Hopper’s Carte des Vins), this is one of our many locally-owned businesses that is struggling to hang on. They will deliver to established customers in the immediate vicinity and offer curbside service to all others. The elegant shop has an extensive portfolio. Please consider them for your needs before you grab your next bottle of wine or spirits from a big box or chain store.

When most of our restaurants shuttered, Louisiana Fresh Produce (1001 S Dupre St., 309-7276, louisianafresh.com), a local wholesale produce company, opened its doors for five days over two weeks and invited out-of-work members of the service industry to come in with bags and take what they needed.

“We had over 1,500 folks come through,” said Natalie Finnegan, the company’s marketing and outreach director. “It was totally insane: It was very upsetting actually…these mostly looked like they could have been our kids. I wanted to take them all home and feed them.” Here is a link to a video of that spectacle.

Louisiana Fresh has now pivoted from providing fresh produce to the majority of New Orleans’ restaurants to selling boxes directly to the public for curbside pickup. Louisiana Fresh Direct is offering for curbside pickup weekdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.:  Fresh Fruit boxes ( 1 pineapple, 6 Gala apples, 1 large honeydew melon, 1 bunch bananas, 6 oranges, 1 pint strawberries ) for $27.50; Fresh Vegetable Boxes (6 red potatoes, 4 yams, 12 Roma tomatoes, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 3 avocadoes, 1 bunch asparagus, 1 bunch celery, 1 head Iceberg lettuce) for $27.50; and a Crawfish Boil Box (enough produce for 1 sack of crawfish for a 10-person, socially distanced home crawfish boil—18 lemons, 5 pounds small red potatoes, 2 pound of mushrooms, 2 pounds jumbo onions, 1 bunch of celery and six heads of garlic) for $30. Place and pay for your order via Venmo @Louisiana-Fresh.

Chatter on Uptown Next-door is that Shawarma on the Go (3720 Magazine St, 269-6427, shawarmaonthego.com) a beloved Mediterranean eatery located in a Jetgo station, may have to shutter in the next week if business does not pickup. Among other things this grab and go spot offers carved-to-order gyro meat piled up on hefty sandwiches; and a fresh, plentiful chicken shawarma plate at thrifty prices. Two can dine lavishly for $20. In the past, I have wondered about couples I spied who seemed to be enjoying romantic meals at an outdoor table adjacent to the pump where I filled my car with high octane, but that is not such an issue these days.

On Saturday, Chef Isaac Toups and his wife Amanda Toups will be giving away free Easter baskets for kids at their Mid-City restaurant, Toups’ Meatery (854 N. Carrollton Av., 252-4999, toupsmeatery.com). On Easter Sunday, specialty brunch items will be available for pickup and delivery from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., in addition to the eatery’s regular curbside takeout. The restaurant is also offering “Family Meal” at 3 p.m.(until they run out) free of charge for the needy, especially those in the service industry. You must call ahead so they can safely box your food.

Do your very best to have a great week, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love, even if you are doing it from afar, digitally, or over the telephone. We need each other more than ever so take the time and make the effort to reach out. While you are at it make an effort to forgive past misdeeds and share some love.

Please reach out to me if you have something to share or I can help in some way because You’ve Got A Friend in Me.

 

 

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