During those initial weeks following the storm, the LRA worked with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to expedite the food safety and sanitation re-inspection process so restaurants could reopen. With tens of thousands of displaced restaurant staff, to aid restaurants in reopening, the LRA created the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, with contributions coming in from across the nation. The LRA distributed $250,000 to restaurant employees to fund interim living and transportation costs so they could return to work.
"Members Helping Members" was another program developed to allow restaurants from around the country, and in non-affected parts of our state, provide contributions to fund LRA membership dues so those impacted by Katrina could stay connected with LRA resources. The LRA also created the Restaurant Legends program to recognize those employees that are the backbone of our industry. "Legends" are those team members that have 20 years or more of service to one restaurant or hospitality establishment. Since the program's inception, the LRA has recognized more than 160 individuals who have a combined number of 5,000 years of service to the restaurant industry in Louisiana.