Longstanding restaurant brings the community together at Deanie’s Bar & Restaurant
A few years ago, Phyllis Luzcy was happily retired. Out of the restaurant business, she thought, for good. But, as the future of Eastern New Orleans teetered on a crux, fate pushed her in a different direction.
Luzcy, owner of the Deanie’s Restaurant & Bar, grew up in the industry tradition. Her parents first opened shop in the warehouse district, and over the 25 years of ownership, expanded to additional ventures, including the one in the East. She is careful to note that her business is not affiliated with the similarly monikered restaurant on Lake Street in Bucktown.
She recalls fondly a youth spent fishing for flounder and softshell crabs on Hayne Blvd, “It was thriving, literally. The plaza was in full swing; there were businesses. It was the place to live. Houses were very expensive, it was beautiful.”
Luzcy also recalls how the family business in the warehouse district barely survived the World’s Fair in 1984, where bankruptcy resulted in a litany of unpaid bills that the city couldn’t pay. But, like it goes in New Orleans, a series of neighborhood resurgence and apartment and condominium renovations took place. “It became more beneficial to lease out the space,” she said, welcoming retirement. Her nephew took the helm at the restaurant in the East and her sister owned her own eatery on the West Bank.
In years following Hurricane Katrina, Deanie’s Restaurant & Bar, opened by Luzcy’s mother in 1972, showed little resemblance to its former self as business declined along with the population. The East had turned into a desolate place and Luzcy’s nephew decided to part ways with the establishment.
When the news reached Luzcy’s 82-year-old mother, she was devastated about the restaurant closing. “So I told her I’d open it and clean it up and we could put it up for sale,” said Phyllis. And that was the plan — to clean it and sell it, that was until she fell in love with the East once again.
“After the restaurant opened, it became a project of mine to figure out what the problems were; I got involved in the politics in New Orleans East and began taking a stand,” said Luzcy.
After a complete renovation, Deanie’s Restaurant & Bar is back in action, serving fresh Louisiana seafood. “Business is really good and the people in New Orleans East are too,” she said. “There is a whole lot of middle class working people out here that wanted somewhere to go out to eat,” she added.
The menu changes daily, featuring seasonal seafood, traditional creole dishes and homemade desserts. The lakefront restaurant seats between 80-100 guests and is open for dine-in and take out.
Of course, the family-owned restaurant would love you to stop by to see what’s on the menu, and they use their Facebook page to post the daily menu for those looking to call ahead.
Every day, as more people come and feast on fresh caught Louisiana seafood, hope builds.
Recently, Luzcy purchased the two adjacent lots and the family has plans to open a seafood market on one lot and hopes to start a community garden on the other. “The more I meet people, the more I get involved in local government issues, the more I realize my heart is here,” she said. “I made a commitment to this and I hope that my daughter, would continue our legacy.”
Deanie’s Restaurant & Bar7350 Hayne Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70126
504-248-6700 Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m – 4 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m – 10 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED
Pictured: Phyllis Luzcy, Owner of Deanie’s Restaurant & Bar.