An interesting contrast between hurricane experiences
NEW ORLEANS -- At the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter, dinner the last few nights has consisted of grilled tilapia, bow-tie noodles with tomato basil sauce, a T-bone steak and a nice red wine to wash it down.Complete article here. I'm surprised it hasn't been picked up by the national news. Or, at least, if it has, I haven't seen it.
It's being prepared by two of the Bourbon Street hotel's chefs, who are using propane grills to prepare meals for the 31 staff members who have stayed behind to protect the 500-room hotel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"We're eating like kings," said Gary Davis, the hotel's electronic technician. "We've got to eat it all before it goes bad."
Less than a half mile away, at the New Orleans Convention Center, Sadique Jabbar's first meal yesterday was a bag of Cheetos someone gave her around 11 a.m.
"You know the only reason we've been fed?" Jabbar said. "Some men out of prison have been breaking into buildings, getting food for us and bringing it back here."
Even under normal circumstances in this city -- like most cities -- the disparity between the haves and have-nots is broad. After Katrina, it's cavernous.
The Convention Center has become the symbol for the failure of authority in this city. They went days with no water or food. Children are crying. People are passed out from the heat. A dead body has sat outside in a chair for days, baking in the sun until someone finally put a bedspread over it.
The Royal Sonesta is the opposite extreme.
The lobby looks as if it could receive guests at any moment. Generators keep some of their appliances in operation, including a refrigerator, a television, and several large air circulating fans. They even have ice for cold drinks.
The director of security, Joel Smith, spends his nights with a gun in his hand on guard against looters, but his days taking quick dips in the hotel pool.