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Three Ways Dining in Nola Has Changed Since Katrina

Local culinary legends talk about the city's changing restaurant industry.

In the kitchen at Commander's Palace
In the kitchen at Commander's Palace
Brasted

New Orleans preeminent alt-weekly Gambit celebrates 35 years of publication this week, and to honor the anniversary food critic Helen Freund asks three local culinary legends what has changed the most in the New Orleans food scene in that span of time, and primarily, since Katrina (besides the city's insane restaurant boom). The answers:

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Lil Dizzy's [Photo: Brasted]

Gentrification

"When I opened (Lil' Dizzy's Cafe) in Treme about 12 years ago, this was a black neighborhood. Now, this is a 90 percent white neighborhood, and I'm not mad about that, but can everyone survive that? No." —Wayne Baquet Sr., Lil Dizzy's

Lunch biz at Commander's [Photo: Brasted]

Acceptance of Women in the Industry

"The truth is, we couldn't (hire) girl cooks in any quantity until the last couple of years, and now there will be many a night when there are more girls than guys in the kitchen... It doesn't feel that long ago for me—maybe 15 years— but we (used) to have certain guests call and make a reservation and say, 'And we do not want a female server.' All that has changed." —Ti Martin, Commander's Palace

Tacos at Johnny Sanchez [Photo: Brasted]

Diversity (at the cost of fewer classic Creole options)

"If there's one thing that rubs me the wrong way, it's that it's become easier to find a taco in New Orleans than it is a po-boy, and I say that only half-joking."— Frank Brigtsen, Brigtsen's

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