NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A member of one of the most famous families in New Orleans says she's considering taking legal action after receiving a restaurant receipt with a racial slur on it.
Aaron Neville's niece, Liryca, says she and some of her friends received that receipt Thursday at Huck Finn's Cafe in the French Quarter. Now, they're not only considering filing a lawsuit they also want a public face-to-face apology from the waiter, the general manager and the restaurant owners, "the wrong thing happened to the right person," said Neville.
The racial slur was listed on the receipt near a meal discount after someone in the party complained about their catfish. Friday, Neville held a news conference with her attorney and others who were at that meal to call incident an example of institutionalized racism, "his explanation was, that wasn't for you, that was for the people in the back, and all of the cooks in the back were black," said Neville.
Liryca, who is Cyril Neville's daughter, says she was so distraught by what happened she couldn't sleep or finish work Friday. Now, she and her attorney are questioning whether this is the first time something like this has happened at Huck Finn's Cafe, "were spending money just like everyone else with these companies, so, for you to feel that way, it's ridiculous. So, I want to bring awareness," said Neville.
The waiter who is believe to be responsible for putting the racial slur on the receipt was fired. A spokesman for the restaurant wouldn't talk on camera with us but did release this statement:
"Today, Huck Finn's Café recognizes that the action taken by an employee Thursday afternoon has caused a great deal of outrage and heartache among many in our community and on social media. We acknowledge that the anger and disappointment being expressed is legitimate and has serious merit. We want everyone to know that we agree. The employee's behavior was offensive and completely unacceptable.
Ownership stands by the decision of the restaurant's general manager to immediately and unilaterally fire the employee for his deplorable behavior. It was the right decision and his termination is consistent with company policy. Moreover, Huck Finn's Café is committed to reviewing all of our systems to further prevent anything of this nature from ever happening again.
Finally, we sincerely hope that the ignorant action of one employee is not considered a reflection of the entire staff at Huck Finn's Café. His behavior and language simply do not fit our belief system. All of our customers should be treated with love, dignity and respect, and we will not tolerate anything less. We humbly apologize to our customers and our community for this deeply regrettable incident. We share your heartache and outrage and would welcome an opportunity to deliver a personal apology to the individuals involved in the incident."
When asked about Huck Finn's Cafe's latest statement Friday, Liryca and her attorney said it's not enough. "We're definitely doing the research in regards to formal litigation my client has been injured not in the typical way as if you've been hurt physically but she has suffered emotional distress," said Neville's attorney, Morris Reed, Jr.
Neville and her friends say they have identified the waiter who served them Thursday at Huck Finn's Cafe. But, we have not been able to confirm his identity. A spokesman for the restaurant says legally they can not give out personal information about employees.