Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Uncensored Voice of the Service Industry

"Oh, you should make it more tourist friendly." No, you miss the point. The Quarter Rat isn't about a sugar coated French Quarter and tourists. It's about the people who make it all happen. Those that are here day in day out dealing with what very few others on earth could tolerate. The Quarter Rat is not for tourists, it's for every bartender, server, bouncer, doorguy, barback, dancer, musician, shotgirl, cook, dishwasher, DJ, sign holder, Lucky Dog guy, street mime and even the hustlers on Bourbon Street. Workers with no unions, no clout, no security, no power and no voice.  The only strength that we have is comradeship, friendship, and common heart aches.


41 comments:

  1. Fuck that asshole Art. I bet he snorts coke with Pam Fortner.

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    1. How unfair. Pam never walked into Tropical Isle and fired the entire staff. Pam never sexually harrassed her employees. She may be difficult to deal with, but she does not deserve to be compared to what Art and Laura are doing. At least Pam and Earl make an effort to give back to the community. No one can say the same about Art and Laura.

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  2. funny i lived in NOLA 10 yrs ago and workied for that ass hole pam!!!but i would kill her with kindness going out of my way to say hi just to piss her off. best think that ever happened to me is her firing me..cause not to long after that i got hired by Jim Monaghan and worked at Monaghans Erin Rose(now known as Erin Rose) and worked for Troy Koahler for many of years. good luck everyone who got fired. there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!!!!!!
    thanks
    kerry ragland

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    1. I worked there 10 years ago too. I remember a girl named Kerry that was fired for stealing...

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  3. Pam & Earl are the worst people in the quarter to work for. They are drunk fake mean people who use money to push people around. The quarter will be a better place when they are gone.

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    1. If you think so then obviously you have never worked for motwani. he has built his own palace in a gated subdivision in Metairie on the backs of his underpaid and cheated employees. I read a few years ago that he was the most sued person in the city. If I find the story or source I will come back and post my name.

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    2. If you think Pam and Earl are bad, then you must have never worked for the Karnos. Pam and Earl are one of the few bar owners who are able to provide their emploees with health insurance and 401Ks... not to mention their employees rake in a lot of cash slinging Hand Grenades. Easiest bartending gig in town.

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  4. After hearing about this and knowing a few people who have worked there over the years, I know that I won't EVER step foot in that fucking place again.

    To quote the late and great Rick James, "Cocaine's a helluva drug."

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  5. Why don't Pam and Earl have that picture of Nagin posted all over the place? I bet they are in the middle of all that criminal stuff. They are crapping in their pant I mean Depends.

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  6. It's worth noting that they also own the Dungeon. I've heard complaints about what they've done with the place.

    Someone I know went to work there after originally applying to work at Yo Mamma's. She said that her "training" was done by Art, who would sit and slowly get maintenance drunk while leering at the scantily clad female bartenders, after which he'd talk about how she needed to pull her weight more. The guy was basically a nightmare to work for, and she was glad when they didn't call her back to work another shift. From the description I got, Art seems to view his businesses as a place for him to get drunk and hang out at while making money off of it.

    I've realized that there are a lot of restaurant and bar owners who have no idea how to run a business and use experienced, underpaid help to run the business for them, all the while treating them like slaves. It's very much a plantation mentality in the New Orleans service industry, as demonstrated by the publisher getting fired for publishing disparaging remarks about a *rival* business owner.

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    1. When did they get the Dungeon? I thought Allan still owned it????

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    2. Chickie had it - then he sold it to Art and Laura

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    3. I was wondering why the Dungeon was so shitty the last time I went! They totally changed everything that made it fun and unique. Bummer, won't be going there again.

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  7. I always felt a little weird flying to Nola and enjoying a burger anyways. Bout like going to Philly for cheesesteak and buying it from Domino's. Sorry the summer haze is burning a few undeserving servicemen. I could not do what you all do. Hell, I can barely serve myself at home without wondering why I haven't thrown my bourbon in my face for be a drunkass. And on the other side of the coin, I can't stand my bloody mary's! I keep telling myself to order them from somewhere else. Truth hurts! I shouldn't have to serve an asshole a great bloody mary if I specialize in bourbon, I shouldn't order something I know isn't going to be right, and you shouldn't be eating a damn burger if you are dining out in the Quarter! Whatzdamatta witsu!? I do not find the article at all terrible if it is true. Didn't say factual, said true. Firings and feelings and manner it occurred sound unfair. But the QR would've been a great way for Art to channel his side of the story. These kind of ongoings are my understanding of the QR's purpose. It seems the serviceman has lost his voice even in their own magazine.

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  8. I think the Old timers like Art Earl Pam and Billy are soon to be over. They have taken and taken from this great city and not payed in to it. They have been cheating by paying cash to employees not paying into SS workman's Comp or unemployment insurance. The have even stole the tax money they have collected and not payed it to the state or city in which needs it. When you see a sign or a Togo window that is cash only thats a sign that they are stealing from the people and they are the ones that are saying that everyone is stealing from them. The City does not have a tax problem they have a collection problem. They need to go after all the tax cheats and get good bar owners on Bourbon and we would have money for more police and better streets. Turn them all in!

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  9. I did go in and eat at Yo Mama's after the "happening" - not knowingly what had gone on. It was a different place - not the warm, welcoming place it had been before. Food was OK - not great, but OK. In New Orleans you can get by with OK (although I don't know how, when there are so many GREAT places. Since finding out what went on I won't be back.

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  10. Unbelieveable.
    I worked there for about eight months and had no problem with Art, and when I unexpecedly quit with no warning, he kept calling me to come back. But that was when he was clean, he wasnt even drinking. Too bad about the staff. I wish you all well.

    -RKD

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  11. wtf are you talking about Joseph? These 2 POS's aren't "Workers with no unions, no clout, no security, no power and no voice." Hell, they got the guy who wrote this fired from Molly's, a place they don't even run! These people are abusive scum, and after all the misery they've caused over the years they probably deserve a whole lot worse than a mini-boycott and some bad press in this, the alt-est of alt-rags. Fuck their lives and their side of the story, I wish the both of them nothing but the worst.

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  13. This is too sad! I definitely won't be recommending the place to friends/visitors anymore, and I totally agree with Mink - they deserve some serious comeuppance.

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  14. Fuck those goddamn coke heads. They deserve all the bad press they get. Neither me nor the many people I used to send there will ever return. My heart goes out to all the former workers. They are the real life and blood of a great restaurant. Ask any regular. I write this post as a West Coast tourist who frequents The Quarter.

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  15. Here's a weird question: I don't see why the article about the firings at yomommas sparked so many comments about Pam and Earl. I didn't know they were in any way related. Not defending anyone for any reason, just curious. I happen to work for P&E and I hear from coworkers how f'ed up it can be around them but honestly I come in, make money, stay out of all of the drama and leave. I'm missing something here.

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  16. I think they are just talking about the bar owners in general. They have few good ones so I think they are talking about the ones that have the worst reputation and Earl and Pam top the list.

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    1. Earl and Pam top the list because they have employed more bartenders than most places. Everyone who comes to town tries to get a job there because of its size. Some work out, some don't. No reason to drag them thru the mud over it. Yeah - they are difficult to work with... eccentric... and can be really annoying... but they are some of the few bar owners who actually live in the Quarter. They obviously care about what happens in the Quarter - because they live there.

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  17. Let me clarify: The YoMamas story about the owners Art and Laura was written by a former employee of YoMamas named Donald S. Prior to publishing the article, the Quarter Rat magazine spoke with over a half dozen former employees who confirmed this, and other facts not mentioned in this story.

    Pam and Earl of a different establishment were only mentioned by above commentators who know of their contempt for the Quarter Rat publication. Also this month we made a vague reference to an insignificant beverage served at their establishment.

    Otis B. Easy who is the publisher of Quarter Rat was fired from his bar tending job at yet another establishment on Toulouse St. Different owners, but stemming from publishing of the above story of YoMamas.

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  18. As a former Quarter Rat myself I love seeing what could be the beginings of the organization of the Service Industry in hopefully not only the Quarter but all over the city. Outsiders dont get what it takes If you haven't had to buy new work shoes for the third time in a year you wont get it. Or spent the day in bed after pulling 2 or 3 doubles(12 to sometimes 20 hr shifts)in a row cause you knew the peeks in the season make up for the lean summer.

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  19. When I first moved to the French Quarter six years ago I found a second home at YoMama's. The bar was full of locals and the food and service was fantastic. I would often brag about Art's business savvy. I use to think he ran one of the most straight up bars in the Quarter. I use to wonder how he could make such good as tequila yet be a teetotaler. The staff was his best assets not the burgers. Jamie, Erica, Renee', Chad, Libby and Amy (know I missed a bunch). Then walks back in Laura..............:(( Art is a big boy and has made his own choices but it is truly sad to watch what was once one of the best establishments in the Quarter go down the drain. Although the sign out front still reads YoMama's, she died quite sometime ago. "The Renegade"

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  20. As a hardened eleven year service industry veteran of the employee/owner French Quarter Wars I understand the culture here: Johnny Whites, Yo Mama's, Buffa's, and Port of Call. Looking back on this from upstream from Memphis that whole service industry experience was very interesting for me as a study in the Quarter service culture. Behind the scenes in the French Quarter is an entire world within itself being played out daily there behind the scenes. Like a bunch of teenagers sneaking around and doing things they should not. As a cook at Yo Mama's during the week when I had no help it was necessary for me to make my own deliveries of what ever I had cooked. I'd jump on my bike and hurry to make the deliveries usually to other kitchens or bars or residents there in the Quarters and get back to the grill. It was so interesting going back into those places, I am talking, way back into the bowels of the French Quarter. Sometimes it was scary because it they did not know you back in there the looks were hostile, sometimes funny, or welcoming and sometime as if you were considered a nonentity. I agree with many here: I don't think the employers care about their employees in the Quarters. The routine here has been set over all these many many years of doing business as they do (following some unwritten law of the French Quarter). It does not matter how dedicated the help is because there is always a replacement waiting in the wings to take someone's place - circles within circles and it goes on and on from one job to the next. The smarter employees know things work and the quest for permanent employment is turned into a chess game, or as you say "musical chairs". And those who know how to play the game can win in their own particular ways.

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  21. Once a Rat Always a RatJuly 28, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    I was a rat for many years. I worked for Alvin Kagan @ Kagan's and Molly's. When he died, I worked for his ex for a bit. Maxwell's, Blue Crystal, Avalon, blah, blah, blah (I was even Security at The Bourbon Pub). There's good and bad all over that 8x12 block chunk of real estate. Lived all over the Quarter, Faubourg, and 9th Ward (a couple of blocks from Jack Dempsey's). My blood family is not as close as my French Quarter Family was. I haven't found anything remotely close to what I had since I moved to SoCal eighteen years ago. Those of you who are now where I was back then, make the most of your Rat Family! They won't last forever. Best Wishes - Mike

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  22. Sounds like they have been talking to the owners/managers of Razzoo
    I hope yo mamas and razzoo and all the other clubs/restaurants That take advantage of their workers go to hell and if that doesn't happen I'll be waiting at heavens gates to bash their knee caps in and laugh!

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  23. FQ hospitality staff are service industry warriors and I respect your fortitude and perserverance.

    I put my time in and have an understanding of what it takes to survive and the extra-stuff it takes to succeed (patience, tolerance, thick-skin - as well as the ability to eat and swallow shit when necessary to keep your job). Integrity is often a liability; raising a concern or questioning "policy" is often grounds for dismissal.

    I've had it with asshole bosses and beta-male managers; I'm now working Uptown in a gentle joint under a chef who never raises his voice - the money is just as good and the hours better.

    Nowadays, I prefer my FQ as playground.

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  24. Get a lawyer. I know Louisiana is a "fire at will" state, but having to put up with drug-infused mental abuse and sexual harassment isn't legal.

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  25. This story is about Art and Laura and what they did. It is truly unfair to lump Pam and Earl or the owners of Molly's into this horrific chain of events. Disgruntled employees should take up their grievances with the rightful owners of the properties they worked for. I'm not defending the behavior of Pam and Earl or Molly's owners, but Art and Laura did this... Not Tropical Isle and not Molly's. No one ever walked into either of those places high on cocaine and fired the entire staff.

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  26. These people were fired for many reasons, stealing, not coming to work, trading shifts, constantly comimg in late, not sticking to recipes, fighting in the kitchen, all the while calling Art every five minutes with this or that bs. I work for Art and he is the best boss i ever worked for. He tied one on because he knew what had to be done because everything was going to shit and it didn't set well with him, he runs a business, not a daycare. As for don, the fat lazy dishwasher that posted in the Quarter Rat, he never got his job back because after that faithful day, he jumped on-line that same day and talked a bunch of shit about the place so why would he get hired back? Everyone was givin the chance to come back, the Weak links, the problems, were'nt hired back, like don, the rest opted out for what ever thier reasons were. Some thought they were too good to re-apply so them not being there is on them. As far as the coke usage, yoi people are stupid, Art has has multiple sinus sugerys, as recent as 2011 and is still struggling with it so if it's the snifflig you hear and assume it's coke then you are an ass. The fact that shit is said about his drinking is so hypicriticle being that all of the service industry has a vice, his drinking is in no way out of hand, he has a business to run and who the fuck wouldn't enjoy thier own bar? Art offers 401k and pays better than most of the other bars in the Quarter. The fact of the matter is he has been around for 30 plus years, i think he knows what he's doing, he cleaned house because he had too, it's all about the numbers at the end of the day, not referee ing childish employees... An actual question asked by a former "bar tender", "What's in a rum and coke?" i mean..... People get fired and it never sits well with them so in turn, they talk shit and majority of people who have anything to say about him other wise is a hypacrit.

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    1. Hey Art,
      Just curious...what's the problem with trading shifts? If they're covered, what's the big deal? If you are not happy with your employee's; there are legal, fair ways to get rid of them. If you have a problem with the entire staff, hold a staff meeting and address said problems. Firing an entire staff and stating -- "feel free to reapply" is nothing short of insulting. Don't like your dish boy? Address it with him.

      Oh, and what sort of interviews do you run? How did a "bar tender" get hired without knowing what's in a rum and coke? Perhaps you and your wife need to pay better attention to the people you hire. Maybe then your loyal staff wouldn't have had to suffer.

      I will never step foot in your restaurant again. Shame, I LOVED your loaded potato and mushroom swiss burger. Guess what made it amazing? The incredible staff making and serving it. You know, the one's you just fired?

      I dont work in the Quarter but kudos to those of you who do. I can not believe the crap you put up with from patrons and bosses alike. And all the while, you are still friendly and meet the needs of your clientele.

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  27. I was a employee of Art's for a few years. You can say I was his go to man when it came to the night crew. Anything that needed to be done I did. I can honestly say he was one of the best bosses I have ever had. This was before Laura came into the picture. Once she started coming around everything started to fall apart. One of our best bartenders "who had a huge following" was fired because she warned a coworker about how to limit your interaction with Laura. It really is sad to see such a popular and loved establishment go to shit over a psycho bitch. I was fired for a completely fabricated reason for what I don't know. And I turned down a job two months before for more money and a better everything because I was loyal to Art. I never figured he would have fired me because I did my job and I wasn't getting fucked up like the other folks It really boggles my mind. Like the gentleman above me said some folks needed to go for the stated reasons. But to fire everyone and then have them come back to reapply "Beg" for your job is ridiculous. And to quote "how everything was going to shit" was completely Art's and Laura's fault. When you have nothing better to do then sit at home and watch the security cameras and create drama just to see how it unfolds is just sick.And to try and have your way with female staff and play with peoples lives is fucking twisted. As far as the drugs,crazy phone calls and paranoia I know the truth.And you can't tell me anything different. All I know is I don't wish bad things on people. But I know from first hand experience that what comes around goes around. I just hope I am around to see it happen.

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  28. Is that the same Don who used to cook for YoMamma's, and once worked at Molly's on Toulouse when Alvin Kagan was still alive?

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  29. In referance to the Dungeon, Art owned it before Chickie, who then acquired it from Art. This was sometime before I lived there, but the way I recall, the Dungeon was the happening place under Art's ownership. Many a rick celebrities frequented the place. And it was still one of the best places to be after midnight under Chickie. Not surprised to hear that Art re-acquired it, though. I remember him telling me that he wanted to get it back and that he made a mistake in selling it. There were plenty of times that Mikalene and I hung out there on nights the bar was virtually empty. Laura would be tending bar, cranking out the rock tunes on the jukebox. Art would come down and hang for awhile, then leave, return after a short while. We always assumed he was going off to do a few lines. Hell, We were, too. Mikalene, Laura and myself would take turns running to the bathroom out back the courtyard. Fun tinmes for us, actually. We loved Laura and Art was always really cool to us. We were regulars who liked to sit and play video poker for ghours while swilling down pitchers of beer, or just hanging out with Laura at the bar. This was from the time Art opened the place until 2001 when Mikalene and I moved away. It's kind of sad to hear that they are like this now. And as far as Pam and Earl goes, Mikalene worked for them and said that it was mostly Pam who would go on a firing rampage, but that they were both batshit crazy drunks.

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  30. Art never owned the Dungeon before Chickie, he only managed it. When the person who owned it died, it was suppose to go to Art but things didn't work out that way. Art then bought the Fatted Calf, later to become Yo Mama's.
    As to Laura, the psycho bitch, well I always knew she would be his downfall.
    I have known Art for many many years and I use to go the Fatted Calf quite often. He built that business up from nothing. There was no kitchen, no upstairs bar. He opened the kitchen, got that rolling, then built the entire upstairs himself. And there were a great crew of people working there back then that helped build the clientele. He even fired Laura and we all hoped it was the end. But sadly she returned, wormed her way back into his life and that is when things started the downward spiral.
    It's sad to hear it has become this bad that he would play a power trip on his employees by firing them and then expecting them to reapply for their jobs.
    There are much better and more professional ways of handling a situation when you need to fire some employees.
    Anyone know what happened to his son Damian or the doorman 3D ??

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  31. Too much blame is being placed on Laura in these posts. She was The star in the Dungeon of the past..

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