What Is the Secret Ingredient?

Reconcile Alumni, Rendell (left) and Delvin (right), work with the Zony Mash team.

From Emeril’s Delmonico to Hyatt Regency New Orleans, to the New York City International Culinary Center until landing a key position at NOPSI Hotel and opening his own catering company – Delvin has always been pursuing his professional dreams. But all that has been put on pause due to the pandemic. Delvin will never give up on chasing his dreams. And he can do that because you never give up on Reconcile and the work that help Alumni like Delvin.

Last week, Delvin put his creative talents back to use helping Reconcile and the ZONY MASH BEER PROJECT kick off an important partnership that will create a dynamic synergy, an important dialogue, and a delicious, new stout beer.

Reconcile and Zony Mash have paired up as part of the BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL campaign to brew a unique stout, infused with a special Reconcile secret ingredient. The goal? Brew a beer that starts conversations about the importance of racial equity both in our community as well as to OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. This special collaboration also gave two Reconcile Alumni (pictured: Rendell and Delvin) the opportunity to learn about the brewing industry by working alongside the Zony Mash team to create this special brew.    

“I experienced a lot of things that would have never been possible without Reconcile,” Delvin told us. “I prepared meals with Chef Eugene at a Miss America pageant. I cooked at Essence Fest. And now, I have the Zony Mash experience on my resume. I know the brewing process. I have skills that can be transferred to a wide range of industries as I continue to look for a stable job.”

Zony Mash and Reconcile’s “Black is Beautiful” Imperial Stout infused with our secret ingredient will be available for purchase in a few weeks. Be on the look out for future updates on when and where you can purchase. All proceeds will benefit Reconcile’s young people like Delvin and Rendell as they continue to receive services and navigate these uncertain times. 

These partnerships and the continued remote case management supporting Reconcile’s Alumni are made possible thanks to your support! Your contributions ensure Delvin, Rendell, and other Alumni have someone to turn to, client assistance grants to bridge financial gaps, and continued professional development experiences like the one with Zony Mash. 

Small or large, via Facebook or the Donate page, please consider a gift to Reconcile’s Client Assistance Fund and help us continue to provide new job opportunities. It’s one click away.

Will you help?

Thank you for helping Alumni like Fred, Reneil, Ronné, Jeff, Faith, Kierstin, and now…Delvin and Rendell.


The Secret Ingredient


Looking for a new appetizer to order with Reconcile’s Turkey Necks? Savor a cup of our delicious Chicken & Sausage Gumbo while you wait for your entrée! What about a healthy option for those who are trying to shave off a few pounds? Look no further than the Portobello Plate, served grilled or fried with a choice of two sides for only $9!

Find our updated menu or order online, HERE. Call (504) 568-1157 for reservations or to place your takeout order.


Delvin, (right), Reconcile Alumnus, in action at Zony Mash

Reconcile New Orleans is partnering with ZONY MASH BEER PROJECT to create a beautiful synergy, an important dialogue, and a delicious, new stout beer! As part of the BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL campaign, started by the black-owned Weathered Souls Brewery in Texas, this partnership with Zony Mash will help start, and continue, a conversation on racial equity. Zony Mash is a premier beer destination in Mid-City New Orleans at the historic Gem Theater.

“While proceeds from the beer will go toward funding the work of Cafe Reconcile, we will be using one of their favorite Reconcile menu items (a secret for now!) to complete the perfect recipe for this hearty stout,” said representatives from Zony Mash. “In addition, we are inviting a group of Alumni to assist in the process from milling the grain, to brewing and canning the beer.”

Stay tuned as we document the process, unveil the “secret ingredient,” and announce a special release date that will undoubtedly involve some delicious eats.


Reconcile thanks Southwest Airlines for its $5,000 gift to help our young people survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 1985 Southwest Airlines has proudly hosted the LUV Classic Golf Tournament and Party. In the wake of COVID-19, Southwest made the difficult decision to cancel the event, choosing to donate $1 million dollars to 101 local charities who focus on serving children, their families, and communities.

Along with your support, Southwest’s gift will help Reconcile provide online education programs that strengthen the skills our Alumni need to re-enter in a changing job market and continue to chase their dreams. 

Meet Kierstin: Taking Safe Risks, Navigating the Pandemic One Day at a Time

Because of supporters like you, Reconcile’s Mindfulness and Mental Health programming is helping Alumni like Kierstin feel confident in taking safe risks. For our Alumni who are navigating uncertain times, these virtual workshops assist them with identifying transferable skills for current job opportunities, keep their professional skills sharp, and improve their sense of resilience, self-worth, and emotional health.

When Kierstin started at Reconcile in 2014, she lacked confidence. “I’ve always had a passion for working in the field, but I was afraid to be left alone taking orders from guests, I was shy, and I kept to myself,” she said

Months after she graduated from the program, Kierstin had the privilege of returning as a trainer. “That was definitely something I didn’t think I had in me, but I was so thankful for the challenge because now I know how to work through busy, tough shifts!”

In the next five years, Kierstin hopes to start a catering business, but in order to get there she needs to finish school—a big financial risk. “The Zoom workshop motivated me to be more persistent and earn a degree no matter how hard it gets.”

You help Alumni like Kierstin use the transferable skills they learned at Reconcile and apply them to a wide range of industries. You help them take risks, chase dreams, and seek help to succeed in a constantly changing workforce both physically and mentally.

Will you take a risk for our young people?

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Loyalty and Generosity Is Contagious

-Reconcile’s Glenda Rhode-Pausina on Mr. Bill Scott

There is no doubt that Café Reconcile has an abundant following of loyal customers. The eldest of them may just be Mr. Bill Scott. Mr. Scott and his family dined in last week, bringing a sense of normalcy back into the building. He ordered his usual—smothered chicken and rice and gravy with sweet mashed potatoes—and “he never leaves without his bread pudding.”


It is important for our diners to know that we take our health and safety measures very seriously. Face coverings are required upon entry, and we are happy to provide any customer with a face covering should they forget to bring their own. Our Hancock Whitney Courtyard is open for seating for those who would prefer to sit outside, or if our inside seating reaches maximum capacity. We can’t wait to welcome you back to Café Reconcile.


For the Program Team’s fourth Zoom Alumni workshop, program director Kathy Litchfield will continue to lead our young people on a topic titled Risk: Choosing Courage in the Face of the Unknown. By participating in large-group and breakout room discussions, Alumni are reminded that they are not alone in today’s battle against unemployment.

Your support enables our young people to take risks and chase dreams. Thanks to your generosity, Alumni who attend three out of the five workshops will be eligible to receive Client Financial Assistance Grants, helping them cover immediate needs like transportation and child care.


Last Wednesday, the Catholic Community Foundation hosted the Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) annual Celebration Mass and check presentations at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. During the gathering, $173,000 in grants were disbursed to this year’s 18 presenting organizations in the focus area of Youth and Young Adult Development and Empowerment. Thanks to your support, Reconcile New Orleans shared video clips highlighting our recent work with Alumni and the online workshops that you helped fund. Your generosity is contagious, as Reconcile was among the 18 organizations to receive a $10,000 grant from the WGC.

Alumni Like Faith Have Hope for the Future

Event planner. Bartender. Hair stylist.

A person who overcame major challenges with mental health. A woman who is making a name for herself in the event industry. A graduate of our program who is proud to call Reconcile New Orleans her home. This is how we know Faith. This is how she wants to be remembered. This is who she really is.

Faith’s journey at Reconcile started when she was 20 years old. “When I first came to Reconcile, I was really angry,” she said.

“Like my mom, I struggled with mental illness at an early age. Living in New Orleans, I have seen things that you wouldn’t fathom in your dreams. Dealing with PTSD, I was encouraged to have a counselor my whole life. It wasn’t until I came to Reconcile that I finally took advantage of the opportunity.”

Chef Joron Smith, affectionately known as “Chef Joe,” was another person to whom Faith could turn. “Chef Joe is always going to tell you the truth. He always lets you know that he understands where you’re coming from. Not only that, he is there to help you. I lost my Dad at age 13. Chef Joe was my father figure.”

At Reconcile, you are taught how to be successful right out of the gate. Simply abiding by Reconcile’s 8 Steps to Success, you become a better worker. A smarter worker. But before you can put your physical hands to work, your mind needs to be sharp. Your mental health needs to be in check.

“While at Reconcile, I realized that if someone asked ‘Who am I?’ and I didn’t know the answer, then it is time to seek help. The staff at Reconcile were the first people to ask me ‘What’s wrong?’ in order to help me answer that ‘Who am I?’ question.”

“You might not believe me, but counseling works. I am proof,” Faith says often.

Today, Faith works as a bartender and event planner, having started at Turning Tables—a 12-week bar and training program run by Liberty’s Kitchen—and still manages to be a hair stylist on the side. She works with clients particularly in the entertainment industry, creating drink menus, recipes, and naming cocktails that associate with a party’s theme or location.

She laughs about good times and loves to reconnect with her Reconcile family. And if one thing is certain, it’s that Faith has HOPE for the future. 

You are helping Alumni like Faith use the transferable skills they learned at Reconcile and apply them to a wide range of industries. You are helping them take risks, chase dreams, and seek help to succeed in the workforce both physically and mentally.

You had faith in Faith, and because of that, she’s chasing her dreams.


Café Reconcile Announces Its Reopening for Lunch Service – Monday, June 22

Dine-In or Takeout to Support Reconcile New Orleans

Café Reconcile will reopen for lunch service beginning Monday, June 22 with limited dining room seating and enhanced health and safety measures to comply with the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans’ Phase Two guidelines for reopening.  Reconcile is also following industry best practices to keep its dining room clean and safe for staff and customers.

Reservations for seating in the dining room are encouraged. To reserve a table, call 504-568-1157. Dine-in service and curbside takeout are available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Limited seating is also available in Reconcile’s Hancock Whitney Courtyard.

The reopening menu will feature daily specials and Reconcile favorites including fried or grilled catfish, catfish po boys, a half chicken plate (fried or jerk), and fried turkey necks offered Monday – Friday.  Specials on the menu change daily with favorites such as smoked sausage red beans and rice (Monday) and smothered chicken and rice (Tuesday). Sides of mac-and-cheese, sweet potato crumble and collard greens are also available. Plus, bananas foster bread pudding for dessert! Diners will also enjoy a new daily menu item, the BLFGT — bacon, lettuce and fried green tomatoes on toasted jalapeño cornbread served with flat fries.

Find Reconcile’s complete menu on our homepage

“We are excited to welcome back our Reconcile regulars and greet new diners with a comforting, Reconcile-style lunch that not only feeds the soul, but fuels Reconcile’s work to support our Alumni who are in crisis,” said Gerald Duhon, executive director of Reconcile New Orleans. “The pandemic has left hundreds of Reconcile Alumni unemployed, frightened, and unsure of what the future holds,” he added.

While Café Reconcile’s daily café operations and signature workforce training program for young people ages 16-24 have been on hold since mid-March, Reconcile has focused on outreach to Alumni, who span the organization’s 20-year history, to assess their needs, help them navigate the crisis, and fill a void left by a devastated local hospitality industry.

For the last three months, Reconcile has distributed thousands of Meals of Hope and provided more than 300 individual client assistance grants to help Alumni access immediate needs like groceries, utilities, and medication.  Moreover, Reconcile has connected more than 200 Alumni to critical resources like unemployment benefits, mental health counseling, and SNAP applications.

“Reconcile has served as a safety net for our Alumni, many who were, prior to the pandemic, working more than one job, supporting their families, fulfilling personal goals, and experiencing success within the hospitality industry,” said Kathy Litchfield, Reconcile program director. “Our job now is to help our Alumni chart promising new pathways to future employment opportunities.”

Today, Reconcile’s program team is adapting to new ways to train and support Alumni who are preparing for a job market that is predicted to be slow to return to pre-pandemic employment levels. A series of weekly, online workshops help Alumni build on the core life skills they learned as Interns with sessions on budgeting, mindfulness, and risk taking, among other topics. The Reconcile program team is also helping Alumni identify transferable jobs skills for industries outside of the hospitality industry, successfully update resumes, apply for jobs, and preparing for success within a new work environment.

“Reopening the café dining room to guests is an important next step for Café Reconcile,” said Duhon. “Whether dining with us or ordering takeout, every meal served supports our work and affirms our purpose — to help our Alumni realize their potential.”

To make a reservation to for dining room lunch seating, call 504-568-1157. To learn more about Café Reconcile, view the reopening and takeout menu, place an online takeout order, and more, visit www.cafereconcile.org.

Zooming In on Mindfulness

This is one of the conversations Reconcile’s support service specialist Caroline O’Connell had with our young people during Tuesday’s Zoom Alumni Workshop – refresher courses on skills designed to restart our Alumni’s professional lives or stabilize and support their personal lives. 

Tools like Mindfulness relieve stress and teach mental health practices, helping our young people stay grounded and pursue their passions. Reconcile’s Mindfulness programming began in 2018 with an initiative to create a Trauma Informed Care culture. For Alumni with adverse and traumatic experiences in their past, Mindfulness Workshops assist Alumni with bodily awareness, emotional regulation, pain management and relief, and in alleviating PTSD symptoms.

As a result of participating in this training, the one new thing moving forward I will try to use is the different techniques of actively listening and giving facts during conflicts,” remarked one Alumnus.

Your support has helped create new digital and virtual content, delivering workshops that keep Reconcile Alumni safe and stable during the pandemic. With your help, virtual seminars are offering safe spaces for Alumni to open up and share their thoughts. Here are some of the discussions they said we could share with you:

  • The pandemic has created a shift in our normal lives, causing instability.
  • The quarantine state of mind is having three solid days where you feel well-adjusted, followed by a sudden, unexpected dip that causes anxiety, a semi-agitated state that leaves you feeling “off.”
  • Those “all over the place” feelings you’ve been having? They are symptoms of stress, NOT personal failures.
  • TIRED EASILY? That’s because your brain is burning energy 10 times faster than usual. You will not be on this roller-coaster forever. Be patient.

You are helping Alumni slow down the roller-coaster of emotions they ride every day. Thank you for showing up and being there for them. It’s your prayers, love, and support that keep our Reconcile Family strong and together.


Alumni Like Jeff Count on Reconcile

“I need to follow up with the Reconcile program team on budgeting, saving, and investing in my event business.” 

-Jeff, 2005 Reconcile Alumnus, said after Tuesday’s Zoom Alumni Workshop

Much more than a Café, a safe place to communicate and learn…this is one of the many reasons that Reconcile exists. 

Jeff was a Reconcile Intern in 2005. He then worked for Reconcile, employed as alumni coordinator and front-of-house manager, giving back to those who were going through the same challenges that he had overcome just months before.

Today, Jeff is faced with new challenges. Being unemployed right now, he aims to reboot his workforce training and life skills in order to help himself and others

After Tuesday’s Zoom Alumni Workshop on Budgeting and Life Skills, however, Jeff was reminded that he does not have to do this alone. Reconcile is here for him and many other men and women just like him. He has always counted on Reconcile as a resource, but now more than ever, Jeff counts on Reconcile as a safe place to map out his pathway to purpose in budgeting his time and money. And the work does not stop because the Program Staff is just two weeks into its 5-week series of Zoom Alumni Workshops—refresher courses for alumni on the transferable skills necessary to restart their professional lives. 

By the end of the workshop, you could tell that Jeff was motivated, not only to save money each week for his family but also to save long-term for his event business. 

The pandemic has re-framed the way people seek out job opportunities. Being unemployed for three months has made it more difficult for Reconcile alumni to put their foot in the door of new professions. 

Most jobs are posted online, creating a digital divide and multiple barriers of technology that Jeff and others have to navigate. Your support helps Reconcile alumni like Jeff leap over those barriers and chase their dreams.

Your Support Fuels Action

When you inspire us with your support and engagement, we take it and put it into action. Your generosity on GiveNOLA Day and throughout the year is something tangible that creates an opportunity to train our alumni and provide them with the intangibles. At Reconcile, intangibles are the workforce training and life skills alumni use in their careers, but also within the everyday challenges and trials of life.

With your support as the backbone during these unusual times, we continue to adapt services for alumni in unique ways. Recently the Programming Team launched a 5-week series of Zoom Alumni Workshops—refresher courses on the transferable skills necessary to find a new job or to restart their professional lives.

“It keeps them engaged and gets their minds prepared for the next few weeks when they are going to have to get up and go to work every day, with a positive attitude,” said Reconcile social worker Kendra Parson, who is leading today’s workshop on Budgeting and Life Skills. She added,…



In the wake of the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many more black victims of police brutality and an unequal justice system, Café Reconcile will continue to be a change agent on issues of racial equity. Words and sentiments are not enough. Now is the time for intentional change – actions shaped through deliberate decision making informed by all members of our community.

New Orleans cannot thrive as long as systemic racism continues unchecked and is allowed to permeate our structures and policies. Café Reconcile is committed to deconstructing systemic racism and building a culture hinged on anti-racist values. We will continue to meet our mission of equipping young people with the tools and resources they need to pursue their dreams.

We will practice intentional decision making to create a more equitable world, both within our own walls as well as out in the community. To that end, Reconcile has endorsed the Campaign for Equity New Orleans’ (CENO) Guidelines for an Equitable Recovery that ensure the City’s economic recovery efforts are fair and equal for African Americans and other marginalized communities who have been more susceptible to the detrimental impact of COVID-19. We have also engaged Matthew Kincaid of Overcoming Racism to help guide us in more equitable practices and how to become part of the solution of breaking down systemic racism.

To our Alumni and your family members:

YOU MATTER. Your life matters. Your well-being was the reason Reconcile was created. We will ALWAYS offer you a space where no matter what is going on in the world or in your personal lives you can always turn to us to feel supported, valued and loved.

RECONCILE STANDS WITH YOU. And we will continue to fight for equity. Black Lives Matter.