The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

A hurricane-hardened city coping ‘the New Orleans way’


Shrimp and grits served for breakfast on the sidewalk at El Pavo Real. “Super Secret” seasoned pork and braised greens handed out at the door of the Live Oak Caf. Spicy jambalaya dished out under a canopy erected on the empty sun-scorched streetcar tracks by a couple who just wanted to help.

The hearty fare is being served up from neighbor to neighbor, free for the asking and badly needed in a city where the lunchtime conversati­on topic is often the dinner menu and where camaraderi­e flourishes over Monday plates of rice and beans.

In New Orleans, food is just one of the many ways that residents help each other during hard times. And it’s been no different in the days after Hurricane Ida, which flooded or destroyed homes, tore up trees and knocked out the entire city’s power grid.

While chefs and amateur cooks alike piled plates high with comfort food, residents with generators charged their neighbors’ cellphones and revved up chain saws to clear downed trees, while volunteers at a local church handed out bags of cleaning supplies and boxes of diapers.

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