August 31st, 2008
02:20 PM ET

Gamblin' man plans to ride out the storm

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/31/art.chubby.jpg
caption="Eric Cohen owns Mister Chubby's Cheesesteaks in New Orleans"]
Jim Spellman
CNN Producer

The French Quarter is all but deserted as Hurricane Gustav bears down on New Orleans, but at least one French Quarter eatery plans on staying open through the storm.

“I’m a gambler by nature I guess. That’s why I opened a business in New Orleans.” Says Eric Cohen, who moved to NOLA last year from Philadelphia to sell cheese steaks at his Bourbon street restaurant Mister Chubby’s.

“I’m staying open through the storm. I’m here to help people get fed. That’s my job” he says while serving up eggs and hoagies to a steady stream of police officers, national guardsmen and journalists.

“I’m going to stay here until the National Guard kicks me out. I’m here to help them get fed and help the cops because they’re here to help people and they protect me and it’s something can do in return.”

His father Barry, working the grill behind him, looks less certain but Eric looks like he is ready for an adventure.

“My mom’s in Vegas right now doing some gambling, I figure I’ll do a little gambling myself down here with my father.”

Here are some images:

Mister Chubby's a French Quarter eatery plans to stay open during the storm

The sign in font of Mister Chubby's

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. David James

    All I have heard today is how inadequate the levies are in NOLA, and I would love to know what they have been doing for the last three years when they have been supposedly improving the levies. I mean do they think the american public are that stupid?

    They have done very little to upgrade the levies and have proven once again how two faced this administration has been from the get go.

    I wish the people of NOLA the very best in the upcoming storm

    August 31, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  2. D. BABER

    keep those CRAB CAKES coming. God bless you and Pop.

    August 31, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  3. Elizabeth kramer

    CNN's Abby is on scene with homeless outreach and others choosing to remain – they don't know if officials will know where they are- abandoned houses -why haven't citizens been notified way ahead of time how to mark the spot where they are waiting it out so overhead searchers can find them in aftermath. What happened to preemptive???

    August 31, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  4. Gabriele

    Please,please leave,for your safety, and for your dads safety,the workers will have ready meals to eat!

    August 31, 2008 at 8:37 pm |
  5. Heather

    You can replace a business,you can't replace your life.There are no shelters or hospitals and I don't think 911 is an option.Did this guy and his family actually watch what happened the last time? All I can say you are definately not in Kansas anymore.

    I'm sorry I just don't understand why anyone wouldn't evacuate like everyone else. It's not like last time. I read on CNN online about people who think they have to stay because they have no money and no car. These people actually plan on staying in N.O. They don't think the Weather Channel weatherman know what they are talking about. They only trust the local news people. How could anyone think that the city or the state even the federal government would make them stay because they don't have money or a car. How can these people not know that they could take a bus or plain for free to a safe place. I just don't understand it.These people think that they will be able to survive it alone on their own. I'm sorry I don't understand. Even people who moved down there to help rebuild are staying. This all makes me so angry. Do they not realize that their lives matter.

    August 31, 2008 at 7:48 pm |
  6. Chip MacNeill

    Good luck young fella!

    August 31, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  7. Ricki from Las Vegas

    I will pray that everything will be ok for you... God Speed
    My Prayers are with all of you there on the Gulf Coast

    August 31, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  8. Johnny

    Eric, God Bless you and your Family, but ain't worth it to risk your life. Go to Las Vegas with your mom and make you money there.

    August 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Perry

    I have mixed feelings about this. While I'm glad he's staying open for cops and reporters, his safety is also at risk. He should leave now; better to be safe than sorry.

    August 31, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  10. Jason

    We need to take responsibility for our wellbeing with our actions, not rely on prayer or God. People should listen to engineers and meteorologists, consider the consequences, and act. Action saves more lives than prayer, prayer is a crutch for those without the courage to act, and judging from comments on all issues, we are deteriorating into a nation that relies on praying when it should be acting.

    August 31, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  11. will mcuen from canada

    man i hope you dont be stupid and stay get out when you have a chance

    August 31, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  12. Dennis

    Hope you're insured

    August 31, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Please, this is not about politics, it's about peoples lives. We need to be praying.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  14. diane

    Please do reconsider and leave. You can replace a building.....you can't replace a person. It's not worth it and doesn't prove anything. You are setting a bad example.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  15. Altaf Virani


    Business is important but without your life, it ain't worth any thing, so please consider again and leave. I know you mean well but nobody can really help you. Only you.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  16. Jodie from West Virginia

    His idea to stay behind may not be the best thing for him to do. However, I admire his selflessness and dedication to feed those who will probably spend a LOT of time around the clock, after Gustav, helping others. There are a lot of emergence personel, police officers, and news workers who need to eat. God bless you Barry and Eric, God be with you.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  17. Carol Hoernlein

    I am a Civil Engineer who specializes in drainage. Please remind folks that even if the storm gets downgraded below a Cat 3 before landfall, if it stalls, the RAIN can do an awful lot of damage. Aside from wind speed (which gives a storm its category), and aside from storm surge, simple RAINFALL can also be deadly, as we have learned from the Midwest this year. Floodwaters during a hurricane don't just come from the shoreline – they also come from the sky. Stalled hurricanes can dump incredible amounts of rainfall on a city.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  18. Stephanie

    It looks like even Mother Nature is for Barack Obama & the Democratic Party!

    August 31, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Loretta from California

    I hope that you will reconsider. Your life and the lives of your family members are what's really important. Your business can be rebuilt or replaced, Eric. I hope the national guard will force you to leave soon. God be with you.

    August 31, 2008 at 2:44 pm |