Note de l’editeur

Each year in the October/November issue of Acadiana Profile, we celebrate the best chefs and restaurants in the region. This issue is no exception, however our focus is much different this time around, given the struggles the restaurant and bar industry have endured as owners and their staff navigate COVID-19. Every sector of business and life is impacted by the pandemic, but in a place where food and drink dominate our daily lives, conversations and the very culture, watching the people who bring us our sustenance suffer is particularly heart wrenching. Rather than omit the annual feature or push it to some unknown time when the economy has improved, we decided instead to visit with the community. How are they doing? What creative ways have they discovered to continue serving their loyal customers? What’s next?

Of course, none of us knows what’s truly next. Rather, we all are just doing the best we can in an unprecedented situation. There is one thing that is for certain however and that is the spirit of not only the restaurateurs, chefs and staff in the back and the front of the house, but also the communities they serve.

When we couldn’t break bread together, they brought food to us curbside and those of us with cash to spare over-ordered, over-tipped and air hugged the masked staffers who’ve felt like extended family as they handed over lovingly prepared family meals. As soon as they could invite us into their dining rooms again, they cleared out half of the tables and chairs to make space to keep us safe and flung open the doors, with joyful smiles evident in their eyes. As of press time, the barstools in the watering holes that are like second living rooms to many of us are still empty. We continue to donate to the virtual tip jars of our favorite bartenders and barbacks and the musicians who’ve filled countless evenings and weekends with song. We aren’t sure when we’ll be able to Cajun dance together again, but until then, we’ll keep twirling about at home and on our porches and in our yards to online concerts.

In the middle of it all, there’s hurricane season. The devastation to our loved ones in the Lake Charles area has been vast, but then so has the recovery effort. In this issue, we are also celebrating the people rebuilding, feeding and lending a helping hand to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Laura. It will take time and a lot of work, but we have no doubt whatsoever that the affected areas will be revitalized and come back stronger than ever.

No matter what the future holds, Acadianians will do what they have always done — come together and persevere. Stay strong, Acadiana.

Melanie Warner Spencer, Managing Editor
504-830-7259Melanie@AcadianaProfile.com

 

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