Deep Fried Diaries

The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture

New Orleans Restaurant + A Birthday Wish Come True

All it takes is a few minutes in conversation, and the New Orleans in me will about near slap you in the face.

If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s where I come from. And as any New Orleanian can attest, it’s an affinity you can’t shake, nor would you ever want to. Case in point is the New Orleans-style restaurant & bakery—smack dab in the middle of Arlington, Virginia—that is a product of our family’s time, money and fervor for the Bayou. Seeing people walk the streets of DC with goatees of powdered sugar (the kind of joy only a New Orleans beignet can bring), well ladies and gentlemen… that’s fulfillment.

In all seriousness, I experienced a different kind of fulfillment last week, as it relates to my hometown and our on-going recovery from Hurricane Katrina. For the past six years, I’ve been working pro bono with the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit dedicated to funding and rebuilding the homes of hurricane victims. It was the wish of New Orleans restaurant owner Drago Cvitanovich (of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant) to raise $90,000 dollars for his 90th birthday in support of the organization. The seafood restaurant put forth 100% of its July 11 sales proceeds, roughly $35,000, in hopes that the people of New Orleans could raise the rest.

Restaurant-owner Drago Cvitanovich and family of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant (Nola.com)

Link to New Orleans WWLTV coverage

The day was one big celebration—something New Orleans does very well. Drago’s Restaurant served food all day long at their Metairie location and had a cake ceremony mid-afternoon. And not only did the people of New Orleans meet the restaurant’s goal for donations, but they exceeded it by raising what appears to total over $100,000. The phenomenal success in all this is that three New Orleans families will be returning to their homes. Absolutely incredible… Click here to see PHOTOS

A special thanks to Drago’s Seafood Restaurant and everyone in New Orleans that made this whole thing possible for the St. Bernard Project. A community’s response to those in need is a direct reflection of its people, and in my opinion, New Orleans has some pretty good people. Take it or leave it.

I’m Simone. And this is what simone sez…

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