The Best Way to Avoid COVID this Weekend


Like so many in New Orleans, my income is largely tied to the hospitality industry, which is tied to tourism. Like so many New Orleanians, the foundation of my security has been rocked yet anew by another spate of festival cancellations, venue closures, and event postponements.

Yes, I get that there are breakthrough cases among those of us who are vaccinated, but, get this, if everyone who could get vaccinated would get vaccinated this damned plague would not have the opportunities for mutation that it is enjoying now. I get that some people either cannot be vaccinated because they are under 12 or have autoimmune disorders that disqualify them. This rant is not for you. This is for those of you who are too paranoid to consider the impact of your in-action on the rest of your community. If you are unwilling do your part to keep our community safe you should sit home.

Hence, I am here to celebrate the current list of New Orleans bars, clubs and restaurants that are requiring proof of vaccination for admission.

This list, as reported by Clair Lorell, ran in New Orleans Eater on Tuesday.  If fairness prevails this list will be outdated by the time this publishes. There are plenty of excellent places to visit including Palm & Pine, Tipitina’s, Red Gravy, Jewel of the South, The Maple Leaf, and many more.

Jordan and Amarys Herndon, the chefs/owners of Palm & Pine, issued this statement regarding their decision:

“We have determined that the only way to keep our team and guests safe while continuing operations is to require proof of either vaccination, or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of dining at Palm & Pine. This decision was not made lightly, and we are confident it is the correct choice at this time.  This policy will go into effect Thursday 8/12 for table service and will be effective immediately for guests wishing to dine at the bar or kitchen counter.  We greatly appreciate the understanding of our guests as we navigate this new protocol.

We will accept a photo on your phone, LA Wallet, or a hard copy of your vaccine card and it must match the information on your photo ID.  Once we see it, we will update your information in Resy to reflect that you have provided proof of vaccination and you will not need to produce on future visits.side

To dine with a negative COVID test, the test must have been administered in the 72 hours before you dine with us and the information on it must match your photo ID. If you cannot present either proof of vaccine or a negative test you may dine outside, if willing to mask while interacting with your server and while entering the restaurant for the restroom.

We will not be responding to communications criticizing or questioning our decision.”

Yes! Bring it.

If you find me out and about this weekend it will likely be at one of the places on that list.

If, on the other hand, I hunker down and conserve my expendable income until I figure out just how disruptive the fallout from this unnecessary replay of Pandemic Panic will be, you will find me at home, quite possibly cooking. Here are a couple of health-conscious options on my current “play” list.


No Cook Summer Garden Sauce with Pasta

Serves 4

  • 4 pints cherry or small heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • High quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, about 6 cloves
  • 18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving or 2 heaping tablespoons dried basil, crushed and rubbed between your hands
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1pound dried angel hair pasta or a low-carb “pasta” product, such as Healthy Noodle brand
  • 11/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, 1/2cup olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours. Stir it from time to time when you walk by. No big deal if this does not happen. Just before you’re ready to serve cook the pasta or pseudo-pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain the hot pasta well and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the cheese and some basil and toss well.  Serve in big bowls and pass the extra cheese.


Easy Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy-free)

Serves 4

  • 1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk (use one that is the homogenous rather than one that separates into layers)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon powdered unsweetened gelatin
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or 1/3 cup Swerve confectioners-style sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruit for serving, optional


In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of the coconut milk with the powdered gelatin. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to allow the gelatin to “bloom.” Add in the vanilla, then gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking well to help the gelatin dissolve. DO NOT boil. Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove from the heat, and stir in the maple syrup or Swerve and the remaining coconut milk.Pour the mixture into 4 small dishes, and place in the refrigerator fridge to set for at least 4 hours. Serve with fresh fruit if desired.


Have a good weekend, everyone. Do something nice for someone else, like get vaccinated if you can and have not already done so.



Digital Sponsors

Become a sponsor ...

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.