As Todd Price noted today on NOLA.com, the former employees of now-closed Stella! are organizing a pop-up benefit dinner on Tuesday, July 1st at Three Muses starting at 6 p.m. The abrupt closing of Chef Scott Boswell's high-end French Quarter restaurant caught many employees by surprise, not the least of which was the kitchen staff. While a bankruptcy filing will keep Stella! employees from receiving their last paycheck for months, Blanche'd! aims help employees as they transition to find new jobs.On second thought, if the pop-up operation does catch on, maybe the staff won't want too much of a negative connotation attached to the name. That's okay. The Brennan's family can't seem to sort out who owns their name anymore. Maybe we can use that the next time an entire restaurant staff is suddenly Brennansed. (By the way, this benefit is happening almost one year to the day after the Brennansing of the Brennan's staff last year.)
As Price mentions, most of the food and alcohol have been donated and Three Muses generously provided the space for free (they're normally closed on Tuesdays). Not mentioned in Price's article, however, is just how remarkable it is that the benefit is happening in the first place and how it stands in stark contrast to Boswell's abandoned efforts for a $200-per-plate fundraiser.
Former Stella! waiter Jonathan Sanders said that if it wasn't for the the fact that the kitchen and front-of-house crew were together for so long, it may have been much harder to get things organized. As it stands, things have come together well enough that there are whispers of possibly making Blanche'd! a recurring pop-up restaurant depending on the success of the first event.
We talk a lot about how important the tourism-related service industry is to New Orleans. It's time we figured out how to treat our service workers better.