by David Klemt

How to Help NOLA’s Hospitality Workers

by David Klemt

Old bar sign hanging in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana

Hurricane Ida has left hospitality workers in New Orleans displaced and without work, stability or a sense of normalcy.

When Ida first made landfall, the storm was designated Category 4, meaning winds were between 130 and 156 miles per hour. The storm “weakened” to Category 2 with windspeeds up to 105 MPH.

When Ida hit Louisiana Sunday, August 29, it did so 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

Multiple sources have reported New Orleans residents as saying Ida’s battering of the city felt as though it lasted longer and was stronger than Katrina.

Sadly, the damage and horrific memories of Katrina continue to reverberate throughout New Orleans to this day. Social media posts and news stories reveal residents of the city are already afraid they’ll be abandoned by the rest of the country.

We can’t allow that to happen.


We won’t know the true toll Hurricane Ida has taken on New Orleans for some time. In fact, we won’t know just how severely ravaged the country is—from the South to the Northeast—for weeks, if not months.

Currently, the loss of life seems to be much, much lower in comparison to the casualties from Katrina.

However, the entirety of New Orleans lost power after Ida struck. The private company that provides power to New Orleans, Entergy, reported one million power outages.

Some outages have been fixed. But tens of thousands of residents remain without power—and therefore without air conditioning.

Per the Entergy website, it may take until September 8 for power to be restored in most neighborhoods. And that’s just in New Orleans. Cities and towns in parishes throughout the state of Louisiana may be without power for weeks.

Of course, power outages are just one issue. As Tales of the Cocktail CEO Eileen Wayner explained on an emergency episode of the Bar Hacks podcast, we won’t know about the breadth of Ida’s destruction for weeks, at the earliest.

We have no way yet of knowing about the true extent of: evacuees being relocated safely; access to clean water and food; property damage and loss; infrastructure damage; hospitalizations; and the toll on the city’s economy.

Disaster Relief

Tens of thousands of New Orleans residents have been displaced. The same goes for cities throughout Louisiana.

That means tens of thousands of hospitality industry workers are unable to return to their jobs. These workers, part of our hospitality family, must now navigate evacuation and survival without their steady sources of income.

In fact, they don’t even know if they’ll have a place of business to return to when they’re able to get back into their homes.

Responding immediately, Tales of the Cocktail has partnered with several organizations to provide relief to New Orleans hospitality workers.

These partners include:

For now, Wayner says the best way to support New Orleans hospitality workers is to donate to the above organizations.

Additionally, Wayner and Tales of the Cocktail board member Neal Bodenheimer plan to provide more information via Instagram Live on Wednesday, September 8 at 9:00 AM CST. Click here to make sure you’re following Tales on IG.

One of the keys to helping New Orleans and the city’s hospitality workers recover is to, as Wayner says, “keep the volume up.” So, please share their posts and the posts of their relief partners.

Image: Mary Hammel on Unsplash