I think one of the most depressing scenes my first trip down to New Orleans after Katrina, was seeing Camellia Grill, dark and shuttered. That stretch of Carrollton by the riverbend had flooded and the famous diner looked forlorn.
The landmark eatery with pillars and picket fence was opened in 1946 and seemed as Uptown New Orleans as it could get.
We waited and waited, but still no Camellia Grill -- and that meant no coffee freezes or unbelievable omelettes or steak tartar.
I think my first date, freshman year, might have been to Camellia Grill. A trip there generated a lot of excitement, and the place was always very bright and noisy, day or night. You could go at 2 a.m. and always see someone you knew.
It was almost inevitable you'd have to wait for a seat. For years, there was a guy who worked behind the counter who was everybody's favorite - Harry. He had some standard lines and always pulled the sleeve of paper off the end of the straw and presented it so you could pull it out yourself.
The streetcar went right by Camellia Grill, so it was a destination in and of itself.
But happy days are here again, Camellia Grill reopened April 20 with great fanfare, I hear everything tastes just as great as ever.
626 S. Carrollton, NOLA