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Where Y'Eat: A Haunting Tribute to Lost New Orleans Restaurants, With Uplift for Tomorrow

Ian McNulty
A Halloween display to lost New Orleans restaurants and bars.

It was just another Halloween display at small house on a Mid-City side street, but it stopped me in my tracks. There were foam headstones, standard issue Halloween décor, except these were customized with the names of restaurants and bars we have recently lost

There’s the logo for the Circle Bar and Lost Love Lounge, for K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, and for Namese, a Vietnamese restaurant a few blocks away.

It was unexpected reminder of how much people in this town to connect with our restaurants and bars, how woven they are into the story of New Orleans.

They are part of our culture, and they can also be pieces of our own past, our sense of where we’ve been and how we live.  Right now, with so much change and anxiety, each loss hits us personally.

But there’s uplift behind this headstone display. It’s part of a neighborhood effort that people are carrying on under different terms.

The Mid-City Porch Tour is a nonprofit fundraiser that usually sees people in costumed groups strolling between decorated homes, with food and drink at each stop from local businesses. It was created by the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization after Hurricane Katrina, when the support and determination of neighbors meant everything.

In the pandemic, the group can’t ask people to gather in groups, and it couldn’t ask restaurants and bars now struggling to survive to contribute. So this year, it’s a self-guided tour, with a map laying out a route to see decorated homes in the area on your own.

People vote for their favorites, and the prizes include gift certificates the group bought from local businesses, to send a little support their way. Look up for maps and details.

What I suggest is that anyone doing the tour should making stops at neighborhood restaurants and bars part of the outing too. Go-cups are back, takeout is easy, and in the spooky spirit of the holiday you could just call it trick-or-drinking. After all, you'll already be wearing a mask.


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