New Orleans Loses Power After Hurricane Ida, World Central Kitchen Already on the Scene
On Sunday, the Category 4 hurricane Ida slammed Louisiana battering the state for 16 hours before being downgraded to a Tropical Storm. It will take days to assess the weather event's impact and to measure the amount of destruction it left in its path.
On Monday morning, half of the state and all of Orleans Parish — which includes the city of New Orleans — was without power, due to "catastrophic damage" to all eight of its transmission lines, and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the only power in the city is being provided by generators. On top of that, the city's 911 phone number is "experiencing technical difficulties," so anyone who is currently in an emergency situation has been advised to go find the "nearest fire station" or police officer.
On Saturday, Chef José Andrés left Haiti, where he and his World Central Kitchen organization had been preparing and distributing food to earthquake victims, and flew to New Orleans to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. He and his team landed ahead of the storm, and have already set up three kitchens and have enough supplies to prepare over 100,000 meals.
"No two hurricanes are equal, and that means we are going to have to [see] all of the different possibilities," Andrés told CNN on Sunday night. "We have food trucks coming in, and they're going to be helpful to us to position them strategically in different parts [of the city] that we can be delivering food quicker. Tomorrow morning as soon as it is safe, our teams will go out and start making meals and delivering to the different places that will be in need."
It is too early to know how the storm has affected New Orleans' famed restaurant community. On Saturday, Nola.com shared photos of dozens of different restaurants and their hurricane-prep efforts, which ranged from the Mardi Gras-colored boards that Antoine's had nailed over its windows to the green shutters that had been securely fastened at Dooky Chase's.
A number of restaurants, including Antoine's, Commander's Palace, GW Fin's, La Petite Grocery, and Cafe du Monde announced that they would be closing in advance of the storm, to ensure that their staffers and customers had adequate time to prepare their homes and to head out of the city.
"Hurricane Ida is a serious storm," James Beard award-winning chef Frank Brigtsen wrote on Saturday. "Please take it seriously. If you're anywhere in the cone, please evacuate if you can. Hope to see you on the flip-side."
Some restaurants, including legendary Creole spot Arnaud's and Brennan's — the birthplace of Bananas Foster — already announced that they would remain closed until later in the week.