Cafe Degas came back from Katrina but can it come back from Covid 19?

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NEW ORLEANS – When Jerry Edgar saw the utility guy working on a power line across the street from Cafe Degas, he ran over and begged to have the Cafe’s gas restored because without it, the chef couldn’t cook a meal.

That was fifteen years ago, the gas was restored, and Edgar, who’s Cafe Degas’ co-owner, was back in business. There were other issues, of course, like a wait staff that had scattered after Hurricane Katrina, along with many customers. But within six weeks, the chef was once again serving up moules and frites, and customers who were able to get back into the city were eager for the French classics Cafe Degas is known for.

Today, the crisis is coronavirus, and Edgar says the recovery is far more uncertain. How could a Category 3 hurricane be easier to overcome than a virus? Edgar sums it up in one word: progress.

” With Katrina, you always saw progress,” says Edgar, “it started coming back slowly and you started seeing progress. You don’t really have that with (Covid 19)”

Cafe Degas follows all the safety rules and social distancing, giving the cafe a more intimate feel, with each table its own island. But restaurants depend on having a full house to make ends meet. Edgar says the uncertainty of not knowing when the Cafe will be full again is stressful. Seeing regulars trickle in is hopeful.

“We’ve got some real troupers,” says Edgar, “who came back and showed their allegiance.”

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