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"For those establishments that planned to close for this weekend to perform renovations or provide their staff the holiday off is understandable, but a major missed opportunity," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told WDSU Saturday.
"But for those that do not want to serve our visitors during Essence is absolutely outrageous and totally unacceptable." On Thursday, "The Grapevine," a New Orleans radio call-in show on WBOK hosted by Gralen B.
Domenica, for instance, announced on Facebook that it was closing for renovations. Grant replied, "I thought a modern place like this would be above such classlessness." Whether or not you consider it valid, such criticism gives voice to long-simmering frustrations surrounding hospitality and the Essence Festival - or, more specifically, the lack of hospitality many believe is extended to the largely African-American crowds that for over 20 years have flocked to New Orleans for the 4 of July weekend festival.
The timing may have inflicted more damage than the backed-up sewage line that prompted the closing."I just put two and two together to decide that there was a racially motivated reason for their closing," Devin Balance-Montrel said of Walk-On's, which he called "racist" on Twitter.The 24-year-old African-American explained that he used to work in the French Quarter, at Montrel's Bistro, a restaurant owned by family members that closed in 2013.It's unfair and ridiculous in 2016." 'This is offensive' Restaurant owners and managers that come into the cross hairs, online and elsewhere, feel unfairly accused.Many point out that the 4 of July since before there was an Essence Festival," said Galatoire's restaurant president Melvin Rodrigue two years ago, when asked why the historic restaurant was closed during Essence.