‘NCIS: New Orleans’ filming scheduled on Chartres, Decatur streets; parking affected

(Graphic by Eric T. Styles)
Parking will be limited along portions of Chartres and Decatur streets on Tuesday as production crews film scenes for “NCIS: New Orleans.”

The 500 blocks of Chartres and Decatur streets will be affected between midnight and 11:59 p.m., although crews will arrive on location and will film between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to CBS Studios, which is currently producing episodes for the series that’s in its seventh and, most likely, final season.

During filming, parking along the lakeside portion of the 500 block of Decatur Street and the riverside portion of the 500 block of Chartres Street will be impacted.

Crew member parking and base camp will be located in private lots to minimize the impact in the area, and all driveways and handicap zones will be respected, according to CBS Studios, which will also have New Orleans Police and security details on site.

CBS Studios is working with Film New Orleans, an agency that regulates site location permits in the city, on the production, which stars actors Scott Bakula as the fictional Navy Criminal Investigative Service supervising special agent Dwayne Cassius Pride and assistant supervising special agent Hannah Khoury, played by CCH Pounder.

“We realize that you may have had a great deal of filming in the past and that it can sometimes be a nuisance,” according to CBS Studios. “We work closely with Film New Orleans to help ensure that we adhere to the standards they have set forth.”

Anyone with questions regarding planned deliveries, construction and with concerns regarding parking or the filming may contact CBS Studios site location managers, including:

Ryan West, assistant location manager, 225-955-0930, ryan@ncisloc.com
Claire Dahm, assistant location manager, 260-205-3151, claire@ncisloc.com

Carroll Morton of Film New Orleans can also be reached at 504-658-4341 or 504-240-9504, and cgmorton@nola.gov.

Matassa’s Market reopens in the French Quarter with new operators

(Photo: Infrogmation | CC)
Matassa’s Market, grocery store located at the intersection of Dauphine and St. Philip streets, reopened earlier this month.

The market, located at 1001 Dauphine St., reopened several weeks ago after its owners leased it to new operators, according to nola.com.

Owners Louis Matassa and partner Vincent Catalanatto Jr. shuttered the business in January, although the exact reasons weren’t immediately clear at the time. Many believed the store would join other neighborhood businesses that closed permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent government restrictions.

But Matassa and Catalanotto, who own the building, leased it to Richard Djapni, a Monroe-based pharmacist who also operates several grocery stores throughout Louisiana.

Matassa is a third-generation owner of the store. His father, Cosimo, opened a recording nearby on North Rampart Street in the 1940s and worked with artists such as Little Richard, Allan Toussaint, Fats Domino, Ray Charles and others. The grocery store was started by Giovanni Matassa, Cosimo’s father, in 1924.

Anonymous customer tips Spirits on Bourbon workers $3K for a second time

(Photo: Courtesy of Spirts on Bourbon)
Mardi Gras ended a little more than a month ago and with hardly any excitement whatsoever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a detriment to service industry workers in the French Quarter, and especially the bars on Bourbon Street, which were ordered closed through the holiday weekend to, you know, prevent spread of COVID-19.

The weekslong celebrated holiday is typically an opportunity for industry folks to earn money from tips and wages, but both of those were virtually nonexistent because of the coronavirus business restrictions that heavily reduced sales and also kept bars and restaurants from also earning revenue.

But for some French Quarter industry folks, there was an occasional life raft.

For the second time, a patron came in and dropped a $3,000 tip for the staff at Spirits on Bourbon, located at 615 Bourbon St. This time, it was on a tab of only $141.50.

The patron came and tipped the bartender $3,000 in July, also.

Smith was reluctant to identify the patron, citing privacy concerns, but added that it was a man from out of state and runs his own company, but didn’t identify the industry.

“There really are some great people in this world,” co-owner Steve Smith wrote on social media. “You may remember we had a Good Samaritan leave our bartender a $3,000 tip in the beginning of the pandemic. Well, he came back and did it again and gave another server $3k! We are very proud of and happy for our staff.”

A Rat and a Cage

A number of years ago I was working nights as a dishwasher at Little Vic’s on Toulouse. I can’t remember exactly when it was, it might have been around Mardi Gras because we were slammed. Every seat full inside and out, the counter had a line going out the door. Customers wall to wall, a long line for the restroom, drunks pissing in the courtyard next to others who were dining. A situation both profitable and volatile.

The head cook was pissy and slamming shit around, the wait staff frantic with the demands placed on them. I was elbow deep in suds for hours as well as bussing the tables and trying to police the bathrooms. It was a single use bathroom and groups would go in, one would use the toilet while others would piss in the sink and in the drain on the floor.

By ten o’clock we were all ready to choke one another. I had turned a deaf ear to the complaints of the raging cooks. Suddenly I heard a commotion in the front of the house. Was there a fight? Did someone pass out? Did someone puke on the bar? I went out front to see what chore awaited me. Almost the entire restaurant was standing by the front door gawking. “What da fuck now?” i asked myself. As I pushed through the crowd I spotted a black car on the sidewalk. The two left wheels inches from both of our stoops. Great, an auto accident I thought. I pushed closer.

There it was, a stretch limo parked on the sidewalk blocking our doors. I see some idiot standing up through the sunroof waving to the gathering crowd like he was the fucking Pope or something. “What da fuck?” I blurted out. A random guy grabbed my arm and exclaimed like a screeching teen age girl “IT’S NICOLAS CAGE! IT’S NICOLAS CAGE!”

I was about ten feet away from the limo when he turned our way with that goofy fucking face of his shaking as many clambering hands as he could. “I don’t give a shit who it is, get the fuck off of my sidewalk!” I screamed and returned to the kitchen. The raging chef asked me what was going on in the front. I told him that evidently Nic Cage thinks we have a fucking drive thru window or some shit.

He screamed “NIC CAGE?” and dropped everything and bolted to the front of the house to see for himself. I just started throwing pans into the sink mumbling about how much I hated every soul in the Quarter right now.

“Celebrities” there’s not a goddamned one I would shake hands with.

Free virtual lecture on New Orleans female Creole cuisine pioneers scheduled March 10

(Graphic via Facebook)
An online lecture on the history of female chefs who shaped the style of New Orleans Creole cuisine is scheduled March 10 and will be available to the public for free.

Titled, “The Queens of New Orleans Creole Cuisine: From Tante Zoe to Leah Chase,” the lecture is hosted by the Hermann-Grima Gallier Historic Houses located at 820 St. Louis St. in the French Quarter and will feature Zella Palmer, a professor and food historian at Dillard University.

The lecture is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the link can be found at hgghh.zoom.us. Although the lecture is free while in-person programming is paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum is accepting donations to cover the costs of producing the lecture. A link to donate can be found here: app.etapestry.com.

During the lecture, Palmer will discuss African-American women from the 18th to the 20th centuries who were major contributors to establishing New Orleans as a city known throughout the world for its Creole cuisine.

The lecture will include Palmer’s research into the lives of Nellie Murray, Rose Nicaud, Leah Chase, among others, and how history has developed as a result of their contributions.

Palmer is also the chair and director of Dillard’s Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture and who researches the culinary histories of African-Americans, Native Americans and Laintos in New Orleans and the South.

She curated The Story of New Orleans Creole Cooking: The Black Hand in the Pot academic conference in March 2015. In 2019, under Palmer’s leadership, Dillard University launched a Food Studies academic program.

Additionally, Palmer is also the author of the 2019 cookbook, “Recipes and Remembrances of Fair Dillard: 1869-2019.”

More information on the event can be found on its social media page.