In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the New Orleans community has rallied to show their support for hospitality workers at the brunt of the fallout. Various funds have been established to help those who have lost their jobs, and everyone from civil leaders to Mardi Gras krewes to the restaurants themselves have stepped up to help. Whether you’re a worker in need of assistance, or you’d like to find a way to give back, here are a wide variety of resources for you to tap in to.
Funds/ Grants for industry workers
The NOLA Virtual Tip Jar represents dozens of artists and service industry workers who are out of work due to the pandemic. Donate to the servers in your favorite restaurants, the painter you’d run across in Jackson Square, the orchestra performer whose show has been cancelled, the tour director who showcases the city like a true local, and many more.
Created to support local bartenders, NOLA Tip Party allows folks to donate to their favorites. In collaboration with the NOLA Virtual Tip Jar, this site is specifically for bartenders.
To support the incredible team that is the heart and soul of Willa Jean, the restaurant launched the Willa Jean Family Fund, which will be distributing 100 percent of the proceeds directly to the employees who are without pay for the foreseeable future. For every donation, the team will be offering a small token of appreciation once the restaurant is back up and running, including their famous chocolate chip cookies, Willa Jean t-shirts, and brunch for two once the restaurant reopens.
More than just a Mardi Gras krewe, the Krewe of Red Beans has started their own initiative to support local restaurants while giving back to those on the front lines of the pandemic. The krewe has been placing large orders at various restaurants across the city to feed hospital staff. They’re already ordered from Marjie’s Grill, Coquette, Cake Cafe, Blue Giant, and Joey K’s, with more to come each day. Visit their website to make donations and help #feedthefrontline.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Entergy Corporation are committing $250,000 and $200,000, respectively, to stand up the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Fund and are actively recruiting donations, along with Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, from business and industry, foundations, and the public. Give now and support those who are the heart and soul of our city.
The Greater New Orleans Foundation is launching a new fund to support hospitality industry workers. With the support of Mrs. Gayle Benson and the McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco® brand pepper sauce, and in partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association, this program will provide grants of up to $1,000 for service and hospitality workers whose families are experiencing financial crisis in the Greater New Orleans region. You can also donate to GNOF through the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund, which helps support those who have been affected by the pandemic.
Created to serve hospitality workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Culture Aid NOLA is providing meal kits to culture and hospitality workers in need. See here for how to donate to the cause or receive a meal kit.
Creative ways to support industry workers
Dirty Coast has released a line of t-shirts and bags to benefit hospitality workers. 50 percent of all of the sales will go to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation (LHF) and United Way Southeast Louisiana’s newly-established Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund. While you’re shopping online, check out the new line of shirts with proceeds to benefit the Krewe of Red Beans and Second Harvest Food Bank, including “If You Can Read This You Are Standing Too Close,” “Handshake Alternative,” and "Feed the Front Line" prints.
NOLA Relief has launched a line of t-shirts with sales proceeds going directly to musicians, artists, and those in the service industry. Shop the line here.
Louisiana Hospitality Foundation Fish Fry
The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation will partner with local restaurants each week to offer curbside “fish fry” meals for the next several Fridays during Lent. Past restaurants have included Station 6, GW Fins, Ralph’s on the Park, Pêche Seafood Grill, and Lüke. The participating restaurants rotate weekly and will serve the fish focused meals, curb-side and to-go, adhering to all safety regulations. A portion of the proceeds from each “fish-fry” will go directly to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation's Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund so they can assist those with the greatest need. Restaurants will serve their own menus offering fried or grilled fish options served with a side for $15 per person. Pickup is on Fridays from 4-7:30 p.m.
Purchase a meal for a hero at Copeland’s
Copeland’s Family of Restaurants recently announced a new program to support those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic: #FeedYour___. The program entails purchasing a meal from any Copeland’s New Orleans and donating it to a healthcare worker, first responder, or a friend in need of a warm, comforting meal. Purchase a meal from Copeland's of New Orleans for pickup through CopelandsToGo.com or free delivery through Waitr App using promo code: FREEDELIVERY to give to a local hero today.
Rouses Markets has developed a new program to sell dishes from local restaurants in their grocery stores. Dishes include Turtle Soup from Commander’s Palace and hummus and pita from Saba, available at the downtown Rouses location at 701 Baronne St. Proceeds will go directly to the restaurants. Call ahead or head to your local Rouses’ deli section to see what’s available from local restaurants.
Free Meals for Hospitality Workers
In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer will be providing a free drive-up food pantry for hospitality and gig economy workers affected by COVID-19. The drive-up food pantry will take place every Tuesday at Connect Church of Algiers (1110 Kabel Dr.) and every Thursday and Saturday at Holy Angels (3500 St. Claude Ave.) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Blue Oak BBQ is offering a free bag lunch to hospitality workers every Saturday from noon until they run out, dubbed BLOAK Saturdays. This Saturday’s meal includes green curry chicken from Banana Blossom and RAMONA organic wine spritzes. They’ll be located at 3300 Gravier St. and encourage service industry workers, musicians, and all who are currently laid off due to the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 to stop by.
The Restaurant Workers Relief Program is offering free meals and supplies for those in need every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-3 p.m. at Cochon Butcher (930 Tchoupitoulas St.). Make sure to bring a valid state ID along with a recent pay stub or bank direct deposit confirmation showing proof of New Orleans restaurant employment.
Toups Meatery in Mid-City is offering a Family Meal every day at 3 p.m. free of charge for the needy and especially those in the service industry. Call (504) 252-4999 to secure your box. Past family meals have included red beans and braised oxtails over Louisiana rice, rabbit and lentil stew, and Chef Isaac’s famous chicken and sausage gumbo. Debbie Does Doberge, French Truck Coffee, and Dixie Beer have also donated various food items to the cause.
Cafe Carmo has free meals for anyone who may need it Tuesday through Friday with vegan and gluten-free options available. Lunches should be picked up between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dinners should be picked up between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Secure your order online here. They ask that those who can make a donation will do so on a sliding scale, so that they might continue to offer this service.