The beers previously available only at Zea Rotisserie in the Clearview Mall (4450 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 780-9090; www.zearestaurants.com) are now being served at all the company's restaurants through a bit of post-Katrina serendipity. The brewpub's equipment was lightly damaged and its brewmaster left town after the storm, so Zea's owners hooked up with Covington's new brewery Heiner Brau (226 Lockwood St., 888-910-BEER; www.heinerbrau.com), which is now making Zea's beer recipes. State laws regulating brewpubs forbade Zea from selling its beer outside the Clearview restaurant -- even "to itself" to serve at other Zea locations. With Heiner Brau doing the brewing, however, the beer can be sold at all the Zea locations and will be kegged and bottled for retail sale in the area. The arrangement gives a nice influx of business to the new brewery, opened in 2005 by Nuremberg-native Henryk Orlik , which also produces its own German-style beers for retail sale.
Farmers' Seed Money
The Crescent City Farmers Market (www.marketumbrella.org) is raising money through what the organization calls its "Crop Circle" for its vendors in the region who lost crops, barns, boats and homes during the hurricanes. The Crop Circle is the local variant of a "giving circle," a grassroots model for philanthropy that collects funds from communities for a common good. In the Farmers Market case, vendors are not currently required to pay rent right away but instead are asked to donate any amount they wish to its Crop Circle. Anyone can make a donation to the Crop Circle at the market's welcome booth on Tuesdays at Uptown Square (200 Broadway St., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) or by mailing a check to Katrina Crop Circle/CCFM, c/o Loyola Relief Fund, 6363 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118.
Prices to Boil Up
South Louisiana is on the cusp of crawfish season, and consumers can expect to pay more per pound of this year thanks to the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. The Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association says mudbugs are in short supply and will likely be more expensive this season since the communities in southwest Louisiana that produce so much of the state's harvest suffered a double-hit from mother nature. Before Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana farmers were contending with a drought and had to pump more water into the ponds where they raise crawfish. Fuel shortages after the storm made it more difficult for farmers to flood their ponds and postponed this necessary step of cultivation. Then Hurricane Rita roared through the region, bringing a saltwater surge that flooded some crawfish farmers' fields. Rita affected several thousand acres of crawfish production in lower Vermilion Parish, as well as Iberia and Saint Mary parishes, according to the association.