Mardi Gras 2019 is Tuesday, March 5th
Local Hero Serves Great Biscuits, Hot Coffee,
& Community Conscience
Slim Goodies' Classic Diner Fare - the First Restaurant to Re-Open After Hurricane Katrina
Slim Goodies Diner
I usually think naming a restaurant “Slim” is bad advertising. But judging from the lines outside Slim Goodies in New Orleans, this neighborhood favorite and community icon needs no help in that regard. While many have heard that this friendly compact diner was one of the first New Orleans businesses to reopen after Hurricane Katrina did its damage, the offerings at Slim Goodies don’t just represent dedication to community. First and foremost they're just good food.
From the hot coffee in classic, heavy-in-your-hand, thick white diner mugs to The Todd Joy, a giant pancake with a sunny side egg in the center, Slim Goodies serves up breakfast and brunch "standards" done just right, and with enough creativity to wake you up. As someone who judges southern breakfast joints mostly on their biscuits, I was thrilled to find a perfectly light, flaky, golden biscuit accompanying my “Orleans Slammer” (hash browns, Slim-made chili, bacon, eggs and cheese). Service at Slim's is attentive, but not cloying. But, sadly, as most of the staff are young, I never once heard the classic diner, “what can I get you hun".
In this narrow space, boasting maybe 12-15 booths/tables (plus a few outside tables) and a dozen seats in front of the open kitchen, you have to be a complete misanthrope to avoid getting to know your fellow diners. Locals and out-of-towners all seem eager to chat about the city, and their plans for Mardi Gras. I also shared a wall booth with two police officers who stopped by for a quick bite before they began a day of Mardi Gras parade duty. They had nothing but good things to say about the food and Slim’s standing in the community.
Hurricane Katrina: Slim Goodies Fights Back
Having served the community for a few years, and begun to make inroads, to hear Slim Goodies owner Kathleen (Kappa) Horn tell it, after Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flood decimated much of the city, there was no way she was not going to come back to New Orleans. Horn was joined by a couple of her friends, and some loyal staff who helped her get the diner cleaned up and “opened” just about two weeks after Katrina hit (Katrina made landfall in late August of 2005, and Horn reopened on the 13th of September). She told her sister, “We’re going back. This is history, and we’re not missing it.” According to Horn, “It was hard, but it was fun to see your city come back to life.”
The dedicated restaurateur asserts, “We were the first open after the storm (in all of New Orleans).”
They had no power, but they had gas, so Horn and her team served food. She went to Sam’s every day and loaded her car with food "stuffed everywhere". No electricity meant no refrigeration, so they cooked everything until it was gone that day. When food ran out they closed, and the cops would come and escort Horn (and the money) to the relative safety of the bridge.
If Horn could tell that people had lost their house, she didn’t charge them. While at Sam’s she also bought towels. People came in dirty and she would hand them a clean towel. “They were like, ‘Oh my God.” The community responded by coming back, coming in, and sitting down to eat. Ever since, Slim Goodies has had a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors who know its story.
Mardi Gras At Slim Goodies
During Mardi Gras, Slim Goodies is a little off the beaten path. Located on Magazine Street well west of downtown, this Garden District diner is quite a ways from the French Quarter and the Mid-City parade route(s), but it’s only about 6 blocks from the Uptown route (on St. Charles).
For anyone visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras, or at any other time of year, this is a good, no muss, no fuss, friendly, local-favorite diner with excellent breakfast and brunch fare, good service, and an impressive history in the community.
Sources (and External Links)
The author/editor is indebted to others for the content in this article. While the final product on this page is ours, and we claim full ownership and responsibility for same, what you read here is based on our research, which led us to the following sources of information:
1. Slim Goodies
2. Interview with Kathleen (Kappa) Horn: conducted 2 March, 2014 at Slim Goodies
4. Urban Spoon
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