Fair Grinds Brews On

Dear Fair Grinds’ Community,

There’s a lot of big news for Fair Grinders, but Hurricane Issac has got to be the lead story for our world along with big thanks for the support – and patience – of all of our community! In fact I held the September e-bulletin until Tuesday in hopes that more of you might have power finally.

You know our story because we were here in the middle of it together keeping the coffee hot and at your fingertips when it was hard to find a cup of coffee just about anywhere in the City of New Orleans. Stories in the Times Picayune with a picture of our unbroken morning ritual and in City Business marveled that we were somehow open even when it was just the last Lowe’s generator operating in the dark, a borrowed fan from Mark Herman, a borrowed extension cord from our neighbors, my mother’s big coffee pot, impressed labor from my son, Chaco Rathke, who couldn’t say “no,” heroic efforts by new manager, Zee Thornton, who rose to every occasion, and even guest turns helping provide relief behind the coffee bar from my daughter, Dine’, and my partner, Beth, both of whom enjoyed every minute. At one point one of the regulars yelled to me, “Wade, you should have had more children!” It takes a village!

It will take a couple of days to get back to normal. We have plenty of coffee, tea, juices, and most items, but some of our suppliers of baked goods are still getting back on their feet, so for Fair Grinds, just like the rest of the community, there will be progress every day, but nothing will be accomplished in just one day.

Looking forward, there’s a lot happening in September at the coffeehouse, because fall is when we cycle back into our busier time. Schools are back in session. Colleges and universities are open again. Events scheduled for late August will be rescheduling this month and on into the fall. The construction work on the balcony and new upstairs seating areas lost a week, but has started working again, so hopefully will get back in swing. Jeff Poree, doing us a huge favor, will be loaning us scaffolding soon so we can finish the last big wall on our painting job. Progress, slow but steady!

Big reminder though that the September Fair Grinds Dialogue on Fairtrade and the Port of New Orleans is more than a dialogue, and something closer to a combination information meeting on fairtrade coffee and why it is so important and a public forum to enlist explanations for why there is tariff discrimination favoring New York/New Jersey against the Port of New Orleans and how – and who – we can get to step up and start pushing for the changes which could make New Orleans the fairtrade coffee port for North America. I’m moderating and have invited guests from the Port, coffee roasters, university and religious fairtrade committees, longshoremen and other unions, public officials and political leaders, so that we can put our heads together, get the facts, understand the situation, and move to do what it takes to make a difference. Join us!

Fairtrade and the Port of New Orleans
Fair Grinds Common Space – 2nd Floor
Tuesday, September 18th
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Of course we continue to allow local and visiting musicians to introduce themselves to our community. Keep an eye on our calendar on the coffeehouse bulletin board and our website, because new groups are added to the line-up all of the time.

What Did You Do – A Group from Orlando – Friday, September 8th 730PM

Open Mic – Thursday, September 13th 7PM

Lydia Kolda, a new talent from Texas via Loyola, Saturday, September 15th 7PM

We also have the regular groups meeting in the Fair Grinds Common Space rooms on the 2nd floor, but it is amazing how the calendar is filling up. There’s more yoga! There are book clubs now with one group reading bell hooks every Sunday. Acupuncture is proving popular on Sunday’s as well. The Fix-it timesharing event will be rescheduled for September as will a postponed book signing. A “rights” group for the deaf is organizing starting this Saturday. The doulas are coming together. The cooperatively supported space means there is more people utilizing the space and doing great things on the 2nd floor. We’re excited about this!
You led the way and many followed as we were voted one of Gambit’s 2012 Best of New Orleans in the Coffeehouse category for the 2nd straight year – we’re so proud!


Wade Rathke