Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
“Hospitality: Making your guests feel like they’re at home, even when you wish they were.”
“The factors a scientist would remove from a rat’s life to make it depressed—predictability and control—are the exact things that have been removed from workers’ lives in the name of corporate flexibility and increased productivity. There’s little more relief for many low-wage [food] workers than for those lab rats desperately trying to keep their heads above water.”
“Chefs are nutters. They’re all self-obsessed, delicate, dainty, insecure little souls and absolute psychopaths. Every last one of them.”
People need to eat. People need places to stay. People need places to relax. The hospitality industry caters to their needs and encompasses bars, casinos, hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, event planning, and theme parks. Although many Kindred see little of value in these businesses (with the exception of clubs and casinos), they’re where many people spend their off-time, and the hospitality industry is a steadily growing one. Contacts and Allies among include bartenders, cooks, croupiers, managers, owners, pit bosses, receptionists, wait staff, and many others.
|Background Dots||Level of Influence|
|•||Entry level employee|
|••||Senior employee, low-level management, microbusiness owner|
|•••||Small business owner, middle management|
|••••||Larger business owner, upper management|
|•••••||Massive business owner|
Hospitality Influence •••••
One of the biggest names in New Orleans’ nightlife scene, and unquestionably the biggest in Faubourg Marigny, Calvin owns a number of wildly popular clubs throughout the district. He credits his success to his people. He’s beloved by his employees as an easygoing boss who provides exceptional pay and benefits, both on and off the books—more than one employee who’s had a problem outside of work that impacts their work, such as a drug-addicted partner or child custody battle, has gone to their sympathetic boss and found him more than amenable to leveraging his many friends and connections on their behalf. Outside of his clubs, he’s a respected community figure who’s quietly active on several civic boards and business organizations. He’s particularly friendly with the fire department and cites his admiration for the life-saving work they do at great personal risk. Firefighters who stop by his clubs enjoy perks such as no cover charges, skipping lines, and priority service. There have been repeated calls for him to expand his business into the French Quarter—it seems almost criminal for him not to—but Calvin always demurs and says that he prefers Frenchmen Street’s less “Disney-fied” atmosphere. Known for being a clotheshorse who’ll change outfits multiple times in the same night, depending on what’s the best look for what club he’s in.
Gino “Chef Gino” Bourcier
Status: Gino’s Restaurants •••••
“POW!” “BOOM!” “Let’s take it up a notch!” These catch phrases and several others are the signature of New Orleans’ most famous celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, cookbook author, and National Best Recipe award winner for his “Turkey and Hot Sausage Chili” recipe in 2003. Gino (better known as Chef Gino) started his culinary career in Boston after graduating from Johnson & Wales and served as executive chef at several restaurants, including Commander’s Palace from 1982—1990 before striking out on his own. He’s since had multiple TV shows, published cookbooks, and grocery and kitchenware products, along with being a regional James Beard Award winner known for his mastery of Creole and Cajun cuisine and his self-developed “New New Orleans” style. Now in his 60s, he’s starting to scale back on his business ventures and primarily keeps active as the proprietor of fourteen restaurants located throughout New Orleans, Las Vegas, Florida, Delaware, and Washington D.C. Gino personally resides in Miami Beach, but remains on good terms with his old boss Ida and likes inviting her to his restaurants when he’s in New Orleans, where his main corporate office is located.
Family: The Dolans
Status: Dolan Restaurants •••••
Miss Ida, as she’s colloquially known by locals, is the ever-fiery and indelible matriarch of the Dolan family. She and her many descendants and other relatives own Commander’s Palace and an empire of other dining establishments throughout New Orleans and beyond. Miss Ida herself is a short, stoutly-built woman who started working in the restaurant business as a teenager in the 1950s. Many of the proteges she’s mentored have gone to become nationally and even internationally acclaimed celebrity chefs. Now over ninety years old, Ida is largely retired from the day to day running of her family’s businesses, but can often be found enjoying lunches and dinners at Commander’s Palace (she is always welcome at the employees-only “family meals”) with her pet dogs.
Tourism is the biggest industry in New Orleans, with the service industry sucking in more than ten million dollars a day. One of the largest shares of that money, one way or another, finds its way into Larry Simpson’s pockets through the more than one hundred restaurants, hotels, and bars he owns across the city. The heir to old money, Larry beat out both of his brothers for the entire inheritance by convincing his delirious mother to sign a new will just before her death. He subsequently began investing that money, and seemed to have a nose for what tourists want, though his own part in the service industry is almost non-existent. He’s derided by high society as involving himself too closely in banal and lesser business matters like the hospitality industry.
Hospitality Influence ••••
The owner of the Alystra riverboat casino, Henri is a playboy from Baton Rouge who relocated to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, he’s established the Alystra as the city’s most popular gambling destination after Harrah’s. Henri doesn’t try to out-compete the bigger land-based casino at its own game, and instead prides his establishment for offering a “more personal touch” where “the staff and owner all know your name.” Henri otherwise doesn’t badmouth the competition, but his stuff often cite the fact that their boss personally owns and regularly frequents the Alystra, while Harrah’s is owned by a New York real estate investment trust and managed by a Las Vegas resort chain. Outside of his casino, Henri is an amiable and laid-back man with a taste for life’s finer things; he’s notable for taking strings of girlfriends and doesn’t seem to have any interest in settling down. He’s also known among political donor circles and still has many friends in the state capitol, although these connections have faded somewhat in recent years—his business keeps him too busy for trips up to Baton Rouge. He’s descended on his maternal side from the Guilbeaus, an Antebellum Creole family, and can proudly trace his genealogy all the way up to his many-times grandfather Jereaux, who perished in the Civil War.
The executive chef at Commander’s Palace, John is the latest in a long line of head chefs at the famous restaurant who’ve gone on to bigger things as celebrity chefs and restaurant owners in their own rights. John never went to culinary school and got his start in the industry as a dishwasher, and is proud of how far he’s come. He’s been executive chef at Commander’s for close to two decades and many think he’ll eventually pass on his job to Arthur Dolan. John himself is a large, loud, and bossy man who refers to the Commander’s kitchen as “my” kitchen and runs it with it with an iron fist. He takes great pride in how quiet the diners at Chef’s Table nights find their meals. He’s well-respected by employees for his ability to keep things running and to take control of crashes through “sheer force of will.”
Outside of work, John is a devoted family man who’s repeatedly tried to quit smoking for his grandkids—he knows his weight is also a problem and wants to be around in their lives for as long as possible. He fiercely loves his wife and has never told her about the times he cheated with waitresses when he was younger. He pointedly refuses to cook outside of work, which he calls “taking the office home” and lets his wife handle all things food-related in their house.
Roy “Dumpling King of the South” Guidry
Wealthy restaurant chain owner who lives with in Covington alongside his wife, Ruby Mae, and Dawson Beau Guidry, the teen he erroneously believes is his son. His primary fried dumpling franchise spreads from South Carolina to Texas.
Family: The Freneaus
Owner of the Boomtown Casino & Hotel New Orleans in Harvey. Sebastian has a somewhat unconventional background for a casino owner: he was born to old money and worked as a statistics professor at Tulane University before he went into the gambling business. He likes to joke that he only did so because his incredible “luck” (which he insists is no such thing, but merely a superior understanding of probability to most gamblers’) got him banned from playing at nearly every casino in the state. Sebastian is retired from teaching these days, but sits on the Board of Tulane and has a real knack for raising money.
Playboy, socialite, and out-of-town heir to new money who acquired the once-renowned Windsor Court after Hurricane Katrina. A consummate womanizer with a love for life’s finer things, Wayne could have never set foot in the Windsor Court while drawing on its profits to sustain his lavish lifestyle, but he had a genuine passion for the hotel business: somewhat unusually, he chose to personally run the Windsor Court as its (part-time) night manager. Many guests found his gregarious demeanor and love for the hotel quite infectious. Wayne’s preference for only hiring beautiful women to fill many of the managerial positions was a well-known if amusedly-regarded personal quirk, though also subject to a 2012 sexism lawsuit that was quietly settled out of court. Following the Court’s 2015 closure after a number of scandals and police investigations, Wayne quietly sold the building’s land to developers and retired to Florida.
Hospitality Influence •••
The chief financial officer of the Alystra, Anthony is an exceptionally young man to hold the job that he does, and received it from Henri Boudreaux immediately after earning his MBA. There are rumors the two are sleeping together, although most people who know Henri discount this. The Alystra’s owner prefers beautiful things, while Anthony is a rail-thin, gaunt-faced, and watery-eyed man who’s fairly unattractive despite his unfailingly genteel manners. He’s got an excellent head for figures, though, and graduated business school several years ahead of his peers. A runaway from an abusive home, Anthony was taken in by Henri as a teenager and went to college on his dime. The two regard one another as surrogate father and son. Although most people get a gay vibe from him, he seems at least as interested in women, and often has a pretty girl on his arm when he’s not taking care of business. Most people figure his female companions only like him for his money.
Family: The Dolans
Sous chef at Commander’s Palace.
The saucier chef at Commander’s Palace, Brigitte is one of the few women to make it as a restaurant chef in a non-pastry chef role. Co-workers like to joke about her “unflappable bitch face” that’s helped her get where she is. Born with a rare malignant vascular tumor known as a kaposiform hemangioendothelioma (which no one but herself can pronounce) whose damage and damaging treatment left her physically incapable of smiling, there is a reason Brigitte could never have worked as a waitress—and doesn’t much enjoy the Chef’s Table nights where diners inevitably think she’s being unfriendly towards them. While Brigitte doesn’t consider herself as much of a bitch “as my face is,” she’s struggled to make friends, has had few relationships outside of one-night stands (most of those with other service industry workers) and has been single for a while—never smiling inevitably makes people feel like she’s being cold towards them, no matter how times she explains her condition. She owns four cats and can cite at length the fact they respond to blinking and tone of voice, rather than to smiling like dogs do.
“Owner” and operator of the Corner Club downtown. Fashionable, charming, and socially erudite, Marcus has made a club that doesn’t appeal to tourists into one of the city’s secret success stories as much through force of personality as anything else. He’s a very smooth operator that excels at soothing ruffled feathers. Strong ties to the Malveaux family, which quietly owns the club in truth. Very careful not to offend them, but has to walk a tightrope given the factions within the family (of which he has a better understanding than most).
Miguel is a casually racist, casually sexist, and thoroughly talented head chef with a fearsome non-nonsense reputation. Doesn’t believe women can work in the kitchen, and vastly prefers Spanish speakers, though he’s willing to hire other races and is better-known for berating them with arrays of racially charged commentary. A deeply religious practicing Catholic, though with the common trend in Mexican Catholicism of reverence for locally Latin figures such as ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’. Has four daughters and a wife whom he is deeply faithful to. He keeps his hair close-cropped and with a tiny soul patch and deliberately cultivated (but well-groomed) neckbeard on top of his pockmarked face. Miguel is also a blackbelt in taekwondo, and frequently wears a black belt on top of his immaculate chef’s uniform. Famous for his catch phrase “Don’t stand too close to me, man,” delivered sharply in the kitchen as he runs the pass and expo lines. Fond of giving people he likes nicknames from Mexican history such as “Pancho Villa” with no expressed rhyme or reason.
Family: The Dolans
Owner and operator of Mid-City Lanes, a purgatory-themed bowling alley called “the Gutter” by its regulars and naysayers. Descended from Irish-Catholic immigrants who built the New Basin Canal. Husband of NOPD Deputy Superintendent Mallory Landry and relative of the Dolans who run Commander’s Palace.
Presley thought his big break was his promotion to management of O’Tolley’s until the owner learned he was gay and fired him for showing up late, seven minutes before his shift started. 711 Canal Street would become a black mark in his life. Little did he know, black marks would become central to his life. Victoria Wolf had encountered him the day before—a previous shift—during a hangover-laden binge of greasy fries and crispy chicken, quietly noting his bubbly demeanor and impeccable professionalism despite the populace of O’Tolley’s ensuring he knew exactly what a living trash bin was supposed to feel like. She slipped him a card, and he took the offer. Since then, he’s worked hard to live up to her exceeding standard for care and customer satisfaction, and treats the Den of Iniquity as he would his own home.
Sarah Spencer served as the day manager of the Windsor Court hotel for over ten years. Many people who met both her and Wayne Thompson, the hotel’s night manager, often had cause to remark how alike they seemed to be, even down to sharing nearly the same smile. In the aftermath of the Court’s closure and demolition, Spencer left New Orleans to seek employment elsewhere.
Hospitality Influence ••
Byron is old by restaurant work standards, especially for a waiter. Closing in on 40, he’s at the top of the waiter hierarchy in knowledge of his craft and exactly how much he can manage, and in terms of his ability to cultivate long-term customers, but on the downhill side of his physical life. No one in the restaurant can make a problem customer into a non-problem, or fix a messed-up order, or suggest a wine like he can, and he’s looked to, especially by many younger (and female) servers as a safety net when things go wrong. Despite his prowess at work, every night his knees ache, he suffers intermittent attacks of gout, and gone is the polished physique of his youth as a party animal. In its place he enjoys thinning hair and is overweight trending towards outright obese, though his great physical stature, barrel chest, and broad shoulders serve to hide just how much excess weight he carries. When he was younger Byron drank heavily, smoked more, and was doing cocaine more nights than not. In his old age he’s mellowed to drinking heavily, smoking, and near incessant use of marijuana. Very well liked by his peers, knowledgeable about cooking, wine, and ingredients, and often trusted to train new servers. He’s always the first advocate of cutting servers each night (often way earlier than is prudent) so everyone left can make more money. Sardonic sense of humor and growing belief in an array of conspiracy theories (from chemtrails to 9/11 to GMOs). Enjoys video games, sports, and partying. The son of upper-middle class parents, he had everything going for him in his youth, including good looks, but squandered numerous opportunities in favor of partying and only narrowly avoided jail time for DUIs, having been twice convicted and had several others thrown out. Semi-regularly has significant life incidents involving alcohol (such as having to break the window of his apartment to get in after losing his keys while out drinking). Lots of service industry connections.
Regan’s older sister and lead singer, electric fiddler, and tin whistler for celtic punk band St. John’s Banshees. Works as a part-time waitress at several Mid-City pubs and taverns, including the Bulldog. She has a 6-year-old son named Collin whose father, Damien Price, is at Angola for domestic violence and drug possession. Cassidy has an on and off again romantic relationship with fellow bandmate, Darcy Quillen.
Former beauty pageant winner and public relations manager at the now-closed Windsor Court hotel. She suspected the owner, Wayne Thompson, hired her because of her looks (he was known to have an exceptionally soft spot for pretty women), but she did her job well and was generally liked by the other employees.
Eustace is the stony head of the Lee-Hayes family, a pod of backwater rednecks who would sooner secede from the United States than shirk their swampy surroundings for the sinful silk of central air conditioning. He’s smart for white trash, but white trash none the less, and though he won’t say it, he’s damn proud of it. If Eustace had his way, America would still be “runnin’ on negro power! Nothin’ pulls plow like it!”. Eustace is the founder and proprietor of ‘Back Bayou Tours’, a small, family-run business that pulls in enough money to keep their homestead life moving—or sedentary. Eustace hates tourists, but isn’t afraid to milk them for an inordinate amount of money to drive them in a few circles on a bayou boat and rattle off (false) history around particularly tall patches of grass.
The largest tour-guide in the Big Easy, Harold Hannah never asks his employees to do anything he wouldn’t do: that’s why he’s visible five or six nights a week walking through the Quarter with small groups of slack-jawed tourists hanging onto his every word. He’s proud of his XXXL size, if only because he can fit more sponsors onto his shirt, and says that the heat and his bad knee don’t do much to slow him down. It’s rumored that the sax player he runs his clients by is his mother, but no one knows how such a large man came out of such a tiny lady. His favorite tour spot is the Andrew Jackson hotel. “Y’all come down here thinkin’ we love this guy, don’tcha? Well let me tell you all about Mr. Jackson here, that’s right…”
Family: The Christians
Single mother, worker at one of Larry Simpson’s hotels, part-time community college student, and widow. Hospitalized in 2015 after an assault by a home invader. Her fellow employees and eventually employer contributed to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay her medical bills, something that was arranged behind the scenes by Caroline Malveaux-Devillers for reasons of her own. Mother of Brandon Christian.
Mishenka ‘Mistress Shank’ Yolanovicha
A frigid, Siberian wind blows through the streets of New Orleans. That wind is Mishenka Yolanovicha. Mishenka was born to Mishav Yolanovich in the far-north city of Dikson, Russia in 1965. Her first sighting in America was in 1988, where she took work in Washington, D.C. as a contracted housecleaner for Well-Paid Maids. Her career was largely stagnant, with yearly raises only sometimes keeping up with inflation, despite exemplary performance and a white glove as relentless as her icy stare. When complimented on a job well done, Mishenka says nothing. When presented with a smile, Mishenka stares through your soul, judging your ancestors for the sin of letting such a filthy creature come to be. In 2018, just shy of Den of Iniquity’s second anniversary, Mishenka appeared to answer an advertisement for a dominatrix position, citing “zuch knowledge of anatomical composing zat Igor Stravinsky himself vould rise, only to proclaim her cry at ze beauty.” She was a natural. Somehow.
Rebecca “Becca” Thomas
Corner Club bartender who uses her job to pick up clients for her event planning business on the side. Attractive but not beautiful, she makes her living mostly off of her larger than life personality and sassiness. Ambitious and business savvy, with a bachelor’s degree in finance, her middle-class upbringing left her hungry for the finer things in life (and somewhat reckless in her personal spending). Attended Catholic school, but lapsed over time as her life grew busier. Sexually loose and will sleep with almost anything that moves, especially if they’re willing to buy her dinner or a new pair of shoes first, or if she thinks she can use them to get ahead.
Richard “Rich” Evans
Richard is a recent Johnson and Wales graduate with great creativity and skill in both developing and preparing highly complex dishes, but his formal education has robbed him of the opportunity to develop practical experience with the realities of restaurant work. He struggles mightily with putting out dishes on time with the rest of the kitchen, and is the ‘weak link’ when the rush hits. His hot Irish temper, defensiveness over not putting in time in ‘the trenches’ and looming student loan debt (Johnson and Wales is more than $30,000 a year) often cause further complications as he pushes away others and manages stress poorly. Frequently clashes with Ronnie White whom he views as ‘the help,’ for his lack of creativity and ability to develop new dishes. Overweight, with beady eyes and a round face, and a burgeoning alcoholic.
Ronald “Ronnie” White
Line cook with aspirations of being a sous chef, Ronnie worked his way up from the bottom of the restaurant hierarchy, beginning as a dishwasher before learning other stations. Ronnie works extremely well under pressure and has almost ten years in kitchens but his limited culinary education and creativity has stunted his professional growth. While in his element when the rush hits and extremely affable personally, his ability to develop unique dishes and unusual flavor pairings is almost zero. Serial cheater on his long term girlfriend (with whom he has a 6-year-old son). Known to sell bootleg DVDs (often camera rips) and knock off merchandise in his spare time. Frequently clashes with Rich Evans, whom he views as taking the short cut to success and as unable to handle working in a ‘real kitchen’. Frequently has to bail out the Johnson and Wales grad when the rush hits to avoid crashes. Ronnie is wiry and athletic, thin as a rail, and almost always has a quick smile. Enjoys the challenge of the restraint rush and is utterly in his element when things are at their worst. Irregularly smokes weed and has occasionally experimented with coke, but mostly prefers to just drink—mostly shitty light beer like Bud Lite.
If Byron is old by server standards, Scott is downright ancient. Limping into his sixties, he’s spent most of his life in the restaurant business to one extent or another. Now he’s lost more than a step on younger, harder charging, servers and mostly makes his way by being consummately professional—at least by restaurant standards. He’s always early to work, always has everything he needs (pens, bottle opener, etc), and never shows up hung over. He avoids the crazy post-work parties, having long since aged out. Despite that, it’s not quite enough for the old man to keep his position at the top alone, so he also quietly ‘spies’ for the managers and owner, ratting out employees that drink on the job, sneak off to smoke when busy, and cover up mistakes, though his fellow servers haven’t quite caught on given his affable personality and seeming harmlessness as the old man in the building. Not interested in management, and never quite able to make his way out of the industry after three DUI’s destroyed the potential for a professional career. Still drinks, but mostly beer rather than liquor. Sometimes confuses menu items from across the many places he’s worked, including wines and details of dishes. Tall and slightly overweight, with a shock of white hair and bad knees from too many years spent on his feet.
Haute couture maître d & would-be food critic.
The pastry chef at Commander’s Palace, Tiffany’s unfailingly upbeat and positive attitude makes her well-liked by co-workers in the busy kitchen’s high-stress environment. Unlike many service industry workers, Tiffany doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs: she usually goes straight home after her shift rather than hitting the bars. Raised in a deeply religious household, she’s willing to bend on ‘no drinking’ with the occasional margarita and ‘save yourself for marriage’ by only sleeping with committed boyfriends. Her co-workers like to joke that the overweight woman enjoys sampling her own confections too much. In actuality, Tiffany is fairly restrained with her sugar intake and exercises regularly. Her inability to lose weight has been a long-time frustration of hers since puberty, when she was relentlessly teased by peers and suffered from bulimia. Although she’s stopped purging, she is still very sensitive about her weight and hides it behind a self-deprecating sense of humor that lets her get by at work. She’s broken up with several boyfriends who didn’t realize what an emotional minefield her weight actually was. She owns several cats and dogs, adores kids, and more than anything wants to start a family of her own (and do lots of baking for them).
Walter “Wally” Edwards
Working as the late night bartender in a service industry-dominated bar, Wally has seen and heard just about every story there is about the industry. Originally a college athlete, Wally was a successful executive until his life fell apart amid his divorce. After a profanity-laced diatribe against his boss in public more inspired by his frustrations at home than actual work events he was blackballed and fired. He landed a gig as a bartender as a last ditch effort to pay the bills on his apartment after he was kicked out of his home and has been stuck in that ditch ever since. He enjoys the people he gets to spend time with at night, the late night crowd, and doesn’t even mind the money anymore, joking that if he made more his ex-wife would just end up taking most of it as is. Well over six feet tall, in his youth Wally was a mountain of a man with a sculpted physique, but the combination of nagging sports injuries (particularly his knee), two decades past college, and an (un)healthy drinking habit have added layers of fat on top of muscles, making him more of a rounded hill than a mountain. His eyes are deeply set, his black hair an unruly mess, and his face (and burgeoning double chin) hidden under a thick but short black beard. Popular with servers for his bombastic personality, cynicism, and wit, Wally has dated frequently in the much younger restaurant crowd extensively, finding he rather enjoys sleeping with women in their early 20s, even if the relationships are destined for disaster. Prefers jager, though he’ll drink vodka if pressed and a big fan of both sports and sports movie (especially the ‘I believe’ speech from Bull Durham). Has a 9-year-old daughter that he cares for deeply, but doesn’t get to see as often as he’d like (her mother has full custody). Irregularly smokes weed, but doesn’t tolerate anything else when he’s around.
Hospitality Influence •
Alena is a young and attractive Russian girl who came over to the US with her parents when she was nine. Now estranged from them and living states away, she’s found her way into the restaurant business to pay the bills and works as a server. Her beauty, smile, and flirtatious nature make her popular among both male customers and male servers, but much less so among her female peers, who are notoriously catty. Even her male counterparts cannot help but (privately) express frustration with her flirting with owners and managers to get better tables, better sections, better hours, and allowances for missing work and other things they’d never get away with. Rumors that she’s slept with the manager may be overstated—or may not.
Gossipy waitress and incurable flirt, Amanda probably knows as much about the day-to-day major events in the city as anyone else. A former high school cheerleader, Amanda deferred on college in favor of her high school sweetheart, who subsequently dumped her. Put out in the cold, she fell into the service industry and associated lifestyle, working lunches and dinners and partying every night. Now five years into the industry, the heavy drinking and recreational drug use is starting to wear on her physically, while the glamor of partying is beginning to wear off given her lack of a future. Amanda wants a way out of this life, but doesn’t see any open doors, either personally or with the help of her lower-middle class family.
Deason “Deaz” Lewis
Big but chubby 16-year-old dishwasher who works during the day, often during prep, and has a tendency towards laziness and hiding the worst dishes for the night shift to find. Deaz only has the job because his uncle works in the kitchen and his mother wants him to get a start working in the hope that it’ll keep him off the street and cause him to focus more on his school. It’s a lost cause. He has no interest in finishing school, but also little interest in doing real work. Often caught with his phone and otherwise slacking off. Absolutely hated by the night dishwasher, who can’t really complain without getting crushed by Deaz’s uncle for it.
Eddie is a short 5’7" American navy veteran who served as a culinary specialist until his discharge and who returned home to New Orleans to try to make his way in the civilian restaurant business ever since with mixed results. He struggles greatly under pressure, and especially with timing, having grown accustomed to prepping meals ahead of the ‘rush’ in the navy. Under pressure tends to answer every demand for updates from executive and sous chefs with “One minute” and “60 seconds” no matter how far out the given item they’re waiting on is. Suffers tremendous verbal abuse at the hands of Miguel, a more senior cook who wants to see him fired, without complaint. Short and portly.
Faux-redhead identical twin to Holly, and C-list porn actress. Hayley likes to think she’s twice as smart as her sister, but Holly says if she tried to prove it, her brain would liquefy in the attempt. Her mother has commented, “YOU should have been the waitress, SHE should have been the doctor, and NEITHER of you should be in PORN!”
Hayley is known for ill-received films such as Mafia Munch 4: The Search for Pink Pearls, Creole Holes (in which she played a colored woman), and Midnight Meat Train 2: The Cooler Car (which was a brief stint into more mainstream acting, despite the unfortunate name).
Holly has offered her sister other work numerous times, but she has declined every, single offer.
Family: The Cherrys
Hillary was 17 years old when she made a single poor choice: sleeping with her then-boyfriend without using protection. She had an abortion three months later, with her mother’s written permission per state law. That was that for six years until the height of the 2012 election cycle, when her medical records were leaked to the public in a staggering breach of privacy. Word that her mother had signed off on the abortion tanked her numbers only days before the election. As hard as Noelle took the defeat, Hillary, then a senior in college, took it harder. The political scandal combined with the harassment she received led to a nervous breakdown when she attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. She was placed in a recovery program and eventually rejoined society, but she has avoided her mother ever since. That was several years ago. She now works as a waitress in the French Quarter and Commander’s Palace, hoping to fade into obscurity. Her parents frequently attempt to reach out to her, but she believes she’s been nothing but a burden on them. She’s still damaged and has slipped into a pattern of destructive and abusive relationships, often with her coworkers. Her two dogs and four cats lend what emotional support they can’t.
Identical twin to Hayley, and career waitress/bartender. Holly is as as blonde as they come, with none of the stereotypes. Sharp as a knife and wielding a wit to make even the most pointed comedian stammer, she came to be known as “the fun one” at McLaren’s pub. She started her career in the restaurant business at the tail end of high school, working part time both for fun and for some spare spending money. Much to her parents’ disappointment, she decided to stay in New Orleans, shirking college and a bright career for her dead-end-to-all-but-her job, her friends, and “the nightlife.” She was soon kicked out of the house, only 18 years old. “You can do better than this,” said her father.
Holly signed a lease for a crappy apartment the next day and became McLaren’s most loyal server. No matter how many double shifts, no matter how late the finish and how early the start, no matter how many ripped bags of child vomit and spilled milkshakes, Holly never uttered a complaint. Jimmy—who had no taste for silly rules—managed to sweet talk an opening into bartending classes despite her age, opening up yet new doors.
When asked about it, she says she looks young for her age, which she declares as “a youthful twenty-three.”
Holly spent several years serving at McLaren’s before she needed a change of pace, and a change of scenery, taking a position at the Curious Cat under Victoria Wolf as a full-time bartender and sometimes-server. During the interview, Victoria asked her why she chose to give up her position at McLaren’s when she’d likely have been made management in the next year or two.
The answer was: “This place seems fun as hell! I’m not learning anything anymore there, anyway.”
Hayley has offered her sister other work numerous times, but she has declined every, single offer.
Of all the girls who work for Touch of Luck, Jessica is by far the best at what she does. She’s got long fingers that possess a strength belied by her slight frame and isn’t afraid to drop an elbow into someone’s traps to get out a knot right at the table. She likes to start off her services with a quick back crack before she moves onto what she calls the “real stuff,” and she’s been able to build a steady clientele at her studio outside the casino for people who want more than what she can offer on the poker floor. She’s never seen without a full face of glam, keeps her hair pixie-short, and often eschews the traditional uniform bottoms for leggings or yoga pants that show off her toned, shapely legs. Technically it’s against the rules, but none of the girls are catty enough to report her for it since she’s so pleasant to the rest of them. She’s got an ear for drama and a smile that charms most people she meets. Outside of work she’s an avid gamer, spends much of her time playing World of Shadow (she likes the Dark Ages games) or Sorcery: The Joining, and lives with two cats. She says she’d like to get out of the industry before she develops carpal tunnel or tendonitis but is happy to spend her evenings at the casino in the meantime, and the flexible hours fit her schedule just fine. Apparently she’s also an avid cosplayer and LARPer and makes her own costumes (”real costumes, none of those fake body-con suits”). What most people don’t know is that Jessica Moran was born Joseph Dougal. Joseph works day shift at a local gas station and loathes most of his co-workers and guests, and the feeling is mutual. Most of them think he’s just one bad day away from hanging himself in his closet.
Joe-Bob is the several-years-younger brother to Eustace Lee-Hayes, the unfortunate receiver of several too many first names, and a few steps fallen down the evolutionary ladder. Joe-Bob assists his older brother running Back Bayou Tours, though most of his work is the physical kind. Most days, he does whatever Eustace says, though he finds a way to wind logical loopholes around the asks as often as he doesn’t. If he thinks too hard about it, he gives himself a headache—a tell for Eustace that he was trying to fudge his way out of work. Joe-Bob dreams that one day he’ll meet his wife on a tour, and remains just as hopeful in 2022 as when they began their business operation. He has most of his teeth, and a luxuriously unwashed beard to make up for those he doesn’t.
Lezlee is white trash. Her parents were white trash. Her brother is white trash. She doesn’t particularly care. She enjoys the hard partying, drug infused, and even high stress environment of the restaurant business. A natural redhead with plenty of freckles and otherwise milky white skin, an array of tattoos, and a number of body piercings she’s quick with a smile and almost as quick to sleep with her coworkers. She’s never been on a ‘real’ date and typically ends up with the last person she’s gotten drunk with and hooked up with. While most attractive women find work as servers more appealing, her lack of a filter and predilection for dirty jokes and foul language makes her more appropriate for kitchen. She currently works on cold side—salads—but hopes to make the jump to something more ‘challenging.’ Smokes, smokes weed, and drinks heavily when not at work and enjoys post work parties. Preferred drug outside of marijuana is ecstasy, though she’s also experimented with cocaine. Her older brother, a tattooed up jiggolo who also worked in restaurant kitchens, is in jail on drug possession charges.
Waitress at Café Soulé who semi-regularly flirted with Emmett “Em” Delacroix. Generally popular with customers and good at maintaining an upbeat attitude, though over a decade in the service industry (she started at 17) is starting to wear on her.
Mary knew at a young age that she wanted to be in the medical field. Her dad played for the Saints and her mother was a former figure skater, and she recalls plenty of discussions around the dinner table about stretching, muscle fatigue, sprains, and strains. Her older brother, Billy, started playing football and wrestled and was just as talented as their old man, and her younger brother, Jason, had the speed and size of a pro basketball player before he ever hit high school. Mary liked sports growing up. She really did: she played basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, and she was even on the swim team. But all of that paled in comparison to the draw she felt toward the medical industry. She was always on hand when her dad and brothers worked with the trainers who showed them how to stretch and let their muscles recover, and, when her school schedule allowed it, she even hit the road with her dad to watch his away games and get a first-hand look at sports medicine. After high school Mary applied for the Exercise Science program at Tulane, where she met Emily Rosure in one of her nutrition classes. Emily and Mary hit it off well enough that Emily took Mary under her wing and let the girl shadow her at Flawless, where she worked part-time as a massage therapist. Mary asked Emily a slew of questions about how it would translate into sports medicine and was pleased to find out that obtaining a license would only take 500 hours at a local school. She knocked it out in six months, passed her state board, and immediately started practicing. Celia was happy to hire Mary on Emily’s recommendation so that her spa could offer more medically-based body treatments, and once Mary was hired Flawless saw an increase in business from the sports world. Many of the local Saints players have made it their top choice for massage due to Mary’s work, and their wives love the extensions, cuts, and skincare services. After Mary finished her bachelor’s she decided to continue her education to achieve her doctorate so she could get more into physical therapy and combine the work that she loves so much. She took up Celia’s offer to work at Touch of Luck when the company began at Harrah’s, and while she enjoys the money she can make in fewer hours (even if her family’s wealth means she doesn’t really need it), she prefers the deeper work she can do at Flawless and has kept up her schedule there. She manages to balance both work and school with an easy efficiency.
Monica was sixteen when she had her first kid. Dumb enough to get knocked up but wise enough to know that she couldn’t take care of it on her own, she arranged for a nice couple to adopt the baby. Only as soon as her baby was born and she held it in her arms she changed her mind, sobbing over the tiny girl with her perfect little toes and fingers and red, wrinkly skin. ”I love her,” she wailed. The adoption fell through. Monica stuck around long enough to name her daughter Caitlyn, promptly dropped the child off at her mother’s house, and left the city. She moved from Pennsylvania to Louisiana at 18 and ended up in the French Quarter waiting tables at various locales for the next few years. She stuck around when she fell in love with the atmosphere and decided to go to massage school to obtain her license, assuming that the hours and the pay would be better than the shit she had to deal with in the restaurant biz. She graduated in 2010, went from waiting tables to tabling clients, and recently took a job at A Touch of Luck at Harrah’s. She prefers the lively vibe of the casino to the quiet halls of a massage parlor and makes a pretty decent living working just a few nights a week. Monica colors her hair various shades of blonde, uses colored contacts to make her eyes blue, and has an unlimited membership at a spray tan place to keep her skin dark. She’s sleeping with at least two players, a security guard, and probably the poker room manager. For all that, though, she’s professional while on the clock.
Rita’s got five kids. Hard to tell from looking at her because she looks good for her age. Really good for her age. She works a series of odd jobs outside of Harrah’s, including jewelry sales, Martha Jay, and selling artisinal hand-made soaps. If it’s a multi-level marketing company she probably has a hand in it. She does well for herself, recruits new people to help, and then sits back and earns commission from them while she jumps over to the next big thing. It’s a pretty decent system and she enjoys the fruits of her ”hands-off labor.” She juggles a few boyfriends at a time, collects child support from both of her baby daddies, and is currently dating a new guy that works in HVAC. She thinks he’s real convenient around the house, and with a house as old as hers there are a lot of things that need fixin’. On paper her life might look like she doesn’t have much going for her, but in practice she’s about as happy as anyone else can be. She started working for Touch of Luck part time and prefers the day shift so she can keep her nights open to be with her families, but she’ll work the occasional weekend when there’s a big enough poker tournament. Rumor is that she caught the attention of a local NFL player who gives her tickets to the games for her and all her kids, but if that’s the truth Rita ain’t sayin’.
Sandra “Sandy” Johnson
Receptionist at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans briefly spoken to by Emmett Delacroix. She had been instructed that one of their most important guests, Talal al-Saud, was not to be disturbed before 2 PM. She has not especially enjoyed servicing the Saudi prince, who has actually turned out to be a terrible tipper despite his wealth.
Taylor was born to a middle-class family and wanted for little while wanting nothing. She drifted through college unable to decide on a major or path in life, then dropped out between bad grades and not wanting to take on student debt (after her parents’ college fund ran out). She now works at Krystal, a fast food restaurant in the French Quarter frequented by drunks, prostitutes, and homeless. She makes side money through semi-periodic shoplifting and selling her hauls to customers at Krystal. Outside of these “jobs”, she spends her free time getting high, drinking (usually alone), watching pirated movies and TV shows, and wondering if this is all there is to life as she pisses away her 20s. She’s on non-speaking terms with her parents and has had a number of shitty, sometimes abusive boyfriends who’ve soured her to the idea of relationships.
Tina had a hard life. A lot of people think they have a hard life, but Tina thinks that her life might be harder than most people’s, or maybe that’s just the excuse she uses to be as abrasive as she is. Her daddy was a repo man for Auto Recovery, which means he was part grifter, part hustler, part tracker, and part conman. He had a CDL so he could drive his tow truck and used to haul parts across the state for General Motors, which Tina had always thought was pretty cool. Sometimes he’d let her skip school if he was going out of state and take her with him so she could see the road, then have her home in time for dinner. Of course she had to sit on the floor if they passed a weigh station or if he ever pulled into the GM Plant, but overall Tina had a lot of fun with her dad on the road. It gave her an interest in cars that was ”a little unusual for a lady,” and by the time she was thirteen she was about as knowledgeable about diesel mechanics as most girls were about boys and makeup. She might not have wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps by driving them, but she sure as hell wanted to be a grease monkey and carry around a big wrench when she grew up. So it made sense to both of them that, when he became a repo man, he’d take her with him. Maybe they should have realized that no one is happy to see the repo man. Maybe they should have thought about the fact that people don’t like having their property seized no matter what they did to deserve it. All Tina knows is that she was fifteen years old, sitting in the front of her daddy’s tow truck, when she heard the BANG that ended her world. She watched her dad fall, dead before he hit the ground, his face blown off by the double-barrel shotgun the piece of shit that defaulted on his car loan wielded. She watched the man jump into said car and peel out of the driveway then down the street, tires running right through the blood and brains that had splattered all across the pavement. Tina hasn’t wanted to work on cars since. She decided to go into something a little less dangerous once she left high school and settled on Touch of Luck at Harrah’s casino. After all, no one is ever unhappy to see their massage therapist. She still has idle fantasies about tracking down the man that murdered her daddy.
Tucker ‘Trigger’ Lee-Hayes-Boggs
Tucker thought his life was over at the age of four when his mother was eaten by an alligator.
With his father neatly out of the picture thanks to NOLA’s finest (and no thanks to three charges of rape), Tucker was nearly thrown into the foster care system and left for the dregs of parentage to sort out. Eustace and Joe-Bob Hayes managed to acquire two suits and enough scraps of “genuine, verifiable proof of good parentage and blood relation” to convince the State of Louisiana that the boy should live with his uncles. Tucker earned the name ‘Trigger’ after pulling the trigger on not one, but both barrels of Eustace’s Ithaca side-by-side, blowing out a large portion of the tin-sheet roof and Eustace’s hat with it. As an adult, Tucker—Tuck, most days—is known for his short temper and dislike of the law.
Tyler has the good looks of an all-American kid and the absence of facial hair that makes him look younger than his 22 years. Blond-haired and blue-eyed, his boyish good looks combined with his aggressive devil-may-care attitude tend to draw in damaged women like moths to a bug zapper. Behind his smiling face, Tyler is a manipulator, an abuser, and a broken young man who rejects his own dysfunction by controlling and hurting others—especially his string of server girlfriends. He doesn’t talk very much about his drug addict mother, or about his daughter, now a year old, who he’s never seen after her mother moved to Oklahoma. He doesn’t talk about his dad walking out on the family when he was a kid. What he does talk about is what a whore is latest ex was. Or the depraved things she did for him. Or their nudes he shares with others. He’s a line cook of moderate talent. He could be a lot better if he’d lay off the pills and actually give a damn. Why would he do that? His charm has been sufficient to get him through until now, and if he gets fired he’ll just find another job. There are plenty of kitchens that need someone who can handle themselves. Plays the guitar.