But whether or not restaurants were damaged, reopening them will be difficult. "We're kind of assuming that even in places like the French Quarter, even if they don't have water damage, they're not going to have customers for a long time," said Don Luria, president of the Council of Independent Restaurants of America, which is helping to find jobs for thousands of workers. "I think a lot of these people are not going to be returning to New Orleans for a long time, if ever."
This article in today's New York Times details what's going on with chefs and restaurant workers in Katrina-affected areas. I was glad to read that all 800 staff in the Brennan's restaurant empire in New Orleans are safe and accounted for. But think about this: "Nearly 10 percent of the New Orleans labor force, about 55,000 people, worked in the city's estimated 3,400 restaurants." And, having worked several years in the restaurant business, most of these folks live paycheck to paycheck and probably didn't have the means to evacuate. And what will they have to come back to if they did? From the article: