NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Chairs are balanced atop tables at Liuzza's Restaurant and Bar on Bienville.
Instead of a bustling late afternoon dining room filled with people hungry for a plate of fettuccine or fried green tomatoes, Senator Bill Cassidy chatted with a handful of people sitting at the bar as he surveyed the damage to the business from Saturday's floods.
The kitchen took on water, so it must be professionally cleaned and inspected before food service returns.
That will take money and time as insurance claims are filed.
In the meantime the just the bar is open for business.
Cassidy says he came here to offer encouragement and to make sure the restaurant's owners knew what resources might be available to help get the business back on its feet.
"Big Frank over there, man, he's got nothing but a spirit that he's blessed and he's coming back," said Cassidy.
The "Big Frank" he's referring to is Frank Bordelon.
Bordelon tells FOX 8 his mother came to work at Liuzza's in 1957 and his family bought the place in 1981.
"This is my neighborhood, I grew up here," says Bordelon, "the name Liuzza has been here for 70 years, means there's a lot of tradition."
Bordelon expressed frustration and anger at the new flood damage and the city's seeming inability to make real improvements in the drainage system despite the influx of both federal dollars and new fees attached to water bills.
"It's the idiots running the asylum, basically," lamented Bordelon.
Still he says "failure is not an option, yeah, we're coming back."
Cassidy exhorts people to show up and support that effort by lifting a frosted mug at the bar.
He also suggests federal help might be available.
For now, all he can offer is encouragement.
According to Cassidy, "the greatness of New Orleans comes from folks like big and little Frank and all the folks that work with them will come back bigger and better than ever."