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Hurricane Relief

Alexandria Restaurants raise money for National Disaster Relief Fund.

Eight Alexandria restaurants came together at Cafe Marianna to raise money for the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund on Oct. 17.

"Charles and I have been talking about doing an island type of party outside for the last year," said Heidi Koontz, the owner of Intuitive Fare. "We started brainstorming, and I was thinking of a New Orleans-style party with hurricanes and Cajun music; and ‘hurricanes’ resonated with me with the recent tragedies, and so we decided to turn it into a benefit for the hurricane victims. Charles wanted to open it up to other restaurants, and we did."

Charles is Charles Oppman, the proprietor of Cafe Marianna, a New Orleans-style restaurant in Old Town. Cafe Marianna served shrimp Creole; Stardust Lounge brought pork satay with spicy peanut sauce, Hard Times made chili hot dogs with all the fixin’s, Mango Mike's provided Island meatballs and bread pudding with Tahitian vanilla bean sauce. Chadwick’s prepared coconut shrimp with mango sauce, Founder's served crab dip with chips, Vermillion made squash soup, and Evening Star made jambalaya.

People came and sampled the food, and some brave souls drank hurricanes. "We raised $932 for the National Disaster Relief Fund," said Aimee Moore, the financial development director of the Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross. "This fund provides relief to victims of past disasters and future disasters as well. It helps people who are victims of huge national disasters such as the recent hurricanes and California wildfires, and disasters as small as house and apartment fires."

Koontz was right. No Cajun party is complete without a hurricane. According to a Web site About, the Hurricane was created in 1933 at Pat O'Brien's restaurant, Tipperary, in New Orleans. "The password to get into the club was ‘storm's brewin’." In 1933, after the repeal of prohibition, he moved across the street, opened Pat O'Brien's, and later down to the present location on St. Peter in the French Quarter. During WW II, it was difficult to get whiskey, but rum was in ample supply. With the help of the liquor salesman, the Hurricane was born. It was served in a 26-ounce hurricane glass, which is named after the shape of a hurricane lamp."

Here's a recipe for a Flaming Hurricane.