The Camellia Grill Remains Closed
There are those that say the Camellia Grill had slipped in recent years--that the food wasn't as good as in the past. The ownership had gotten into some financial troubles in the past couple of years and I recall some brief talk the place might actually be a casualty of the owner's bankruptcy. I remember having a conversation with a friend when this was in the news and we agreed the idea of New Orleans without The Camellia Grill would be inconceivable--no way it would ever happen. The events of 29 August 2005 obliterated that rationalization as well as countless others.
Its now nine months later and The Camellia Grill still hasn't reopened post-KTMB. Located two blocks from the River, the building is located upon some of the highest ground in New Orleans and the MAN-induced floodwaters of Lake Pontchartrain never came close to inundating this section of Carrollton. The fluorescent pink State of Louisiana Department of Health inspection placard necessary for reopening after KTMB was posted in one of the restaurant's window in October, but the place never opened. Perhaps, it was slipping a bit before the storm. Both the interior and exterior were beginning to be in need of renovation, but I didn't think the food or the service declined--although others would disagree with that assessment. The last time I ate there was about 10 days before the storm the evening of my son's fifth birthday. My wife and I made a big deal of taking him there for his first time saying that we had waited until he was big enough to be able to sit on one of the stools at the counter. Longtime TCG employee Peanut was our waiter. Word. He gave my son a yo-yo and had all of the patrons in The Camellia Grill sing "Happy Birthday" to him. If the place never opens again, at least my family has a great final memory of the one time my son had his birthday dinner there.
About two or three weeks ago I noticed a shrine of sorts has appeared on the front entrance of The Camellia Grill where with post-its people are leaving messages hoping for a soon re-opening, wishing for a particular dish, or communicating the desire to see a particular waiter. My son of course scribbled one to Peanut--wherever he may be.
There was something in the Times-Picayune a while back (like around Thanksgiving) about what was going on with The Camellia Grill but I've heard nothing for months . . . Anyone?
21 DECEMBER 2006: UPDATE
TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Carrollton, Camellia Grill