Loyalty and Generosity Is Contagious

“HE NEVER LEAVES WITHOUT HIS BREAD PUDDING.”
-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.”

TAKING YOUR HEALTH & SAFETY SERIOUSLY

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.

TAKING RISKS AND CHASING DREAMS

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.

THANK YOU, WOMEN’S GIVING CIRCLE!

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.

Together, WE ARE RECONCILE. 

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.

Together, WE ARE RECONCILE. 

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,…

YOU MATTER.

YOU MATTER.

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.

GiveNOLA Day for Alumni Like Ronné

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Alumni like Ronné are defining a new normal and looking for a silver lining.

Living in a homeless shelter and working at Oceana Grill, 2019 Reconcile alumnus Ronné was trying her best to level up. A mother to a newborn baby boy, Ronné heard about Reconcile’s workforce training program and decided to check out the website.

Like many interns during their 8-week program, Ronné faced challenges that were rooted beyond the walls of Reconcile’s building. But our social worker Kendra Parson was there to help her through it, just as she is today.

Reconcile front-of-house manager Glenda Rhode-Pausina, affectionately known as “Mrs. G.” was there for inspiration, encouraging her to chase her dreams, just as she is today.

One of her dreams, besides the obvious dream of wanting to do better for her family, is to own a catering business. Her passion to cook is part of her identity, but Reconcile also taught her the work ethic and accountability that comes with managing a business.

Something she was not prepared for, and something that no one could have prepared for, is a global pandemic.

Despite losing both of her jobs, at Palace Café and Emeril’s NOLA, Ronné has not stopped working. She has used the past two months to work on things outside her normal lifestyle. “I wouldn’t even have the time or energy to start writing down business ideas if it wasn’t for Reconcile and people like Kendra being there for me during this time,” she said.

With the help of Reconcile’s client distribution grants and weekly Meals of Hope, she and her little boy are getting by during a difficult time.

“Coming into each day with a good attitude is a skill I learned at Reconcile…helps me deal with conflicts at work.”

Ronné, 2019 Reconcile Alumnus

Phone calls and texts? Answered. Counseling sessions? Scheduled.
Providing support and encouragement to Alumni? Every single day!

We were able to help Ronné and many other Alumni in different and difficult situations. Today, they need your help to continue their search for a silver lining. 

GiveNOLA Day is the way that you can support alumni like Ronné.

Today, you can create that silver lining. Today, you can schedule your gift for June 2 and help us reach our goal! Your gift will be immediately doubled thanks to the generosity of the HOLT FAMILY FOUNDATION.

Together, We Can Define a New Normal

Alumni Like Reneil Brooks Are Hungry for Hope

 Now More Than Ever Campaign
This is the campaign that has been and will continue providing remote case management services to our hungry Reconcile alumni during the COVID-19 shutdown. No, they are not just hungry for food. They’re hungry for work, hungry for motivation, hungry for physical health, mental and emotional guidance…and now more than ever, they are hungry for hope.

Hungry for work, among the 94 alumni unemployed due to COVID-19, is 2013 graduate Reneil Brooks.

“I went from almost having two sources of income to having none.”

Reneil Brooks, 2013 Reconcile Alumnus


In 2019, after grilling the best burgers you’ll eat at Three B’s in Lakeview, Reneil wanted more for the year 2020. He wanted more for his two children, a three-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy. He wanted to grow, hoping to be promoted to lead line cook or sous chef. He accepted a steady full-time job at Oceana Grill in January of 2020. In March of 2020, he was ready for more. He called his former employer at Kingfish, a Creole cuisine in the French Quarter, with whom he maintained good rapport. Reneil’s hope was to move back to a full-time job at Kingfish while working part-time and weekend shifts at Oceana. The day he was scheduled to interview for the Kingfish position…he used Reconcile best practices—dressed well, came prepared, and arrived on time only to see a sign on the door that the restaurant was closed…it was the first day of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Reneil’s counselor is our very own mental health manager, Onassis Jones. The two men have remained friends over the years, a bond that started back in 2013 and grew even stronger in 2017.

In 2017, Onassis drove me to the hospital so I could witness the birth of my daughter. That’s when I really knew Reconcile was my family.

Reconcile’s Now More Than Ever (NMTE) campaign has helped Alumni like Reneil receive $75 gift cards and hot meals for their families to bridge these financially difficult times. These events, only possible with your generosity, allow us to start the remote case management process!

Small or large, via Facebook or the Donate page, please consider a gift to Reconcile’s Client Assistance Fund and help us reach our goal for the NMTE campaign.

We are bigger than Coronavirus. Together, we are Reconcile. Will you help?