Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Art safe at Upperline, "Cash Mob" for Coulis

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Upperline art
  • Ian McNulty
  • Art lines the walls at Upperline, shown here pre-Isaac.

For most restaurants in New Orleans and the immediate suburbs, getting open after Isaac was primarily a question of when electricity could be restored, fresh supplies procured and adequate staff lined up. But as many residents can attest by the varying conditions of their homes, the storm meted out its wind damage randomly around the area and some restaurants took more of a beating than others.

One significant example was Upperline, the contemporary Creole bistro operated for some 30 years by Jo Ann Clevenger. Part of the restaurant’s roof was blown off, causing water damage inside. The restaurant’s chef, David Bridges, and its staff got to work repairing damage quickly, however, and Clevenger is optimistic the restaurant can open sometime next week.

“In 30 years, if this is the worst that happens we consider ourselves very lucky,” Clevenger says.

She also reports that the famous art collection on Upperline’s walls has been saved. One of her managers noticed the roof damage right away and moved threatened pieces out of harm’s way.

Coulis huevos rancheros

Nearby, Coulis (3625 Prytania St., 304-4265) also suffered roof damage from Isaac. The popular breakfast/lunch cafĂ© reopened yesterday, and friends of proprietor Heather Leeming and her family are organizing a special event this Tuesday, Sept. 11, to help defray repair costs. The event, dubbed a “Cash Mob,” encourages the public to turn up in numbers between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. with at least $20 cash in hand to spend at the business.

Katrina Turillo, an event organizer and managing partner at La Divina Gelateria, says it’s a show of support for Leeming, whose husband, the chef James Leeming, died unexpectedly last year at age 50.

“You pay and get your meal as usual, but (the Cash Mob concept) is just a way to get business in when someone needs it most, and we ask people to use cash to avoid any credit card fees,” she says.

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