By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 13, 5:38 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS – After the longest break in its 153-year history, Cafe Du Monde will once again fill New Orleans’ Jackson Square with the luscious smell of beignets and rich, chicory-laced coffee.

The French Quarter landmark known to tourists the world over for its fried dollops of dough dusted with powdered sugar is getting ready to reopen next week, a month and a half after being shut down by Hurricane Katrina.

Cafe Du Monde normally stays open 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas. But it sold its last order of hot beignets at midnight on Aug. 27, a day and a half before the storm roared in and devastated New Orleans.

The cafe had only minor damage from Katrina, but a combination of storm-related problems — no power, no drinkable water and no electricity for several weeks — kept it closed.

Its owners took advantage of the shutdown to clean and upgrade kitchen appliances and other parts of the business that are constantly in use.

The reopening is set for Wednesday at 6 a.m. — not soon enough for locals and relief workers.

“My mouth waters every time I walk by there,” said French Quarter resident Faye Riley. “I’ve been having withdrawal symptoms.”

Beignets are French-style doughnuts made according to a recipe brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. The dark-roast coffee is served either black or au lait — mixed half and half with hot milk. Dried chicory root adds flavor and intensifies it, too.

The menu has not changed much since 1852, when the cafe opened in the French Market. Tourists love to get an authentic taste of New Orleans there. And New Orleans students have made it a tradition to close out prom night with coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

“Blowing powdered sugar on your date’s tuxedo was a rite of passage in New Orleans,” said Kit Wohl, who grew up in the French Quarter.

Archie Casbarian, who owns Arnaud’s Restaurant, another New Orleans institution, moved to the French Quarter in 1966, and used to go carousing back then. “And I always ended up at Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets,” he said. “It’s a well-known hangover cure.”

Cafe Du Monde sells so many beignets that it uses up 2 1/2 to 5 tons of flour every two weeks.

On Thursday, workers painted the walls, boiled water in the deep fryers and hauled in new equipment. The tables and chairs that normally fill the patio were still stacked inside the building, and workers cleaned up tree limbs around the area.

“We’ve found about 50 of our 150 employees, and the cleanup will be finished by Tuesday,” general manager Scott Escara said. “We’ll turn the fryers on about 5 Wednesday morning and we should have hot beignets pretty quick after that.”

YAY!

1 Comment on Anyone wanna go out for cofee?

  1. arian_diana says:

    I’m impressed that they’re rebuilding so quickly.

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