Select Bourbon Street bars, restaurants stay open

French Quarter still seeing signs of life despite Isaac

NEW ORLEANS - Most bars and restaurants on Bourbon Street in New Orleans closed before Hurricane Isaac moved in, but not all of them.

The watering holes that stayed open had plenty of customers Tuesday, both local residents and tourists who didn't get out in time, and now can't leave at all.

The Oceana restaurant and a handful of others stayed open in spite of the storm and their customers are mainly those who can't leave town because of their jobs, such as Greg Aviala.

"We work at a hotel over on Toulouse Street and we're all staying to help the hotel," Aviala said.

J.D. Lipe, who works at the Oceana, said people like Aviala are who they are taking care of.

"The hotels, cab drivers, everybody still left in town, they want to get something to eat, they come to the counter, we take care of them," Lipe said.

Tourists also make up the crowd still hanging out in the French Quarter. Bill McDonald brought his whole family down from Indianapolis for his mother's birthday.

"Today is her birthday and she turns 80, so we planned this trip a long time ago," McDonald said. "We planned this trip to come here to New Orleans cause she's never been here."

Now that they're in town, they can't leave because all of the flights out have been canceled. But that's okay with Bill's mom.

"I'm having a blast," she said. "Everything couldn't be better."

And as long as Mama's happy, everybody's happy.

"This is something I've always wanted to live through, but as my mom said this morning, you haven't lived through it yet," Patricia McDonald said. "But I feel pretty confident that we will. And I'm glad I'm here with all my loved ones."

Fortunately, the French Quarter sits on some of the highest ground in New Orleans, so it's an excellent place to ride out any flooding the storm may bring.

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