President Bush Lunches at Baquet Family Eatery in New Orleans

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By: E&P Staff

Who says President Bush doesn’t like the press? Launching a whirlwind trip to New Orleans on Thursday, he lunched at the local eatery run by the family of Dean Baquet, the newly named New York Times bureau chief in Washington, and Terry Baquet, a top editor at the Times-Picayune.

Their brother, Wayne Baquet, runs the creole eatery, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe. Another brother, Rudy, helps out. It’s the family’s only restaurant, but the 12th in a long line.

“If you don’t get New Orleans straight, the United States will never be the same,” said Wayne Baquet, in an AP account. His restaurant was flooded and looted during Katrina.

Baquet said he worried the nation no longer was paying attention to New Orleans. “Everybody ought to be on the bandwagon trying to get New Orleans back,” he said. “Everybody.”

After landing at the airport, the presidential motorcade sped to the city’s Treme neighborhood and Lil’ Dizzy’s , “where he and a host of local dignitaries lunched on Trout Baquet, shrimp grillades with grits and the Seventh Ward Pork Chop,” according to the Times-Picayune.

Bush was joined by state and loca officials, including Mayor Ray Nagin, Sen. David Vitter, and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, among others.

“I fully understand that there are frustrations, and I want to know the frustrations,” Bush said after sitting down at Li’l Dizzy’s. “To the extent we can help, we’ll help.”

Joe Strupp of E&P recently visited the restaurant for a cover story on the Baquet brothers. A photo of the two editors at the eatery ran on our December cover.

“Before the future editors ever set foot in a newsroom, Dean and Terry were raised on life behind the grill, in the kitchen, and all too often at the handle of a mop,” Strupp wrote.

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