Beignets are back in New Orleans, signaling another step in the emotional and economic recovery of a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding.
The landmark Cafe Du Monde reopened Wednesday for the first time since it was shuttered at midnight Aug. 27 as the hurricane approached New Orleans.
Karen Filos of neighboring St. Charles Parish pulled her 16-year-old daughter, Kellie Book, out of school and headed for the French Market to be among the first to sample beignets, the sugary, French-style doughnuts made according to a recipe brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. The name is pronounced ben-YAY.
Filos said she made the trip to the Cafe Du Monde “because it reopened and I wanted to bring New Orleans back. ... We’re going to walk around the (French) Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral and then walk up St. Charles Avenue. I cried when I came because I was so afraid of losing it.”
She sheepishly conceded that she passed on Cafe Du Monde’s nearly as famous dark-roast coffee, with dried chicory root mixed in, because she’s not a fan of coffee. She sipped Coke, instead.
Cafe Du Monde is a landmark attraction for the tourists who flock to New Orleans, but also for the residents who are trickling back to the recovering city.
“It makes a huge statement for the city of New Orleans: We’re open for business, come visit us,” said Councilwoman Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, who represents the French Quarter. “The most significant thing about Cafe Du Monde is it is a draw for locals and tourists.”