Banks Street Bar and Grill, a dive bar open since 1959 in New Orleans’s Mid City neighborhood, hired new management this week — and one of their first orders of business was firing the entire staff, apparently. At least one employee still had access to its Instagram account at the time of firing, however, and they have been chronicling the saga online for all of its followers since.
It started on Thursday when an unnamed user posted a screenshot of a note to the bar’s Instagram page. The message, which appeared to be from management, said it was time to “clean house” and that interviews for “those who wish to remain a bartender” would take place over the next two days. Finally, the main point of contention: “As of today everyone is being terminated. If you find this to be unfair [then] I implore you to reach out and come interview with me in the next day.” The note does not seem to be intended for the public, and the posts following it are primarily Banks Street Bar-related memes or screenshots that would indicate the page is in the control of a former employee.
Public support for the staff was immediate, bolstered by first-hand accounts from former employees of their experiences with the new management. “Good luck ‘starting over,’ hiring and training an entirely new staff when everyone in the industry sees the way you treat your employees,” wrote one user from the bar’s account while sharing a screenshot of an email from a manager that says, “Let’s just fire everyone and start over.”
The user referenced “people who have poured out their blood, sweat, and tears into this place,” in honor of Rand Owens, the previous owner of Banks Street Bar who died in 2020 at 33. Owens, also the founder of Mid City Pizza, purchased the bar in 2018 — he started Mid City Pizza in the bar’s kitchen. Following his death, Mid City Pizza, MCP Uptown, and Banks Street Bar continued to be run by an ownership group that included Owens’s siblings and a family friend.
A fundraising page dedicated to supporting the staff At Banks Street Bar says that all 12 staff members were fired Thursday, “during the slowest season of the service industry (summer) with no backup, no pay, and no notice. This fundraiser is in place to [ensure] the members of our community can pay rent on the first and help them until they get more work.” The page, organized by Cheyenne Nichols “for my friends” says Nichols, aims to raise $1,000 for each staff member. The owners of Banks Street Bar have not responded publicly at this time (that we know of). Eater has reached out and will update our coverage if we hear back.
Follow along on Instagram, where the memes keep coming.