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Defender Picks


In the Service of the King: Spitfire's Nicholas Christian

Carnival involves a lot of work for many locals. Over the next few weeks, NoDef will be interviewing the people that make Mardi Gras what it is. We will ask performers and service industry workers five basic questions about their season. Today, we start with Nicholas Christian of Spitfire Coffee (627 St. Peter Street).


How do you get ready for Mardi Gras?

All hands on deck. We have to put an extra person on staff. Sometimes, we shut down a little early if it gets real crazy. If you don’t serve alcohol, some people get real angry and others try to sleep in your store. So, the goal is to be as nice as possible, but guide them back to the party.

The business comes in spurts. It will get crazy for thirty minutes, then be dead for another thirty minutes.


Do you have a favorite Mardi Gras memory?

We love when people bring us cake and then we trade them for coffee.

Once, we had a group of older uptowners looking very proper and upscale. They ordered a round of coffee with an inch off the top. Then, a little old lady busted out a flask of Bailey’s and a flask of Powers. They all took a big sip of the coffee and topped it off with the booze. They came back four more times and repeated the procedure. Each time, one of them would peek out the door as a lookout. The lady told us, “It’s perfect. Our kids and grandkids don’t know we’re drinking this way.”

And, then there was the naked guy…


Do y’all work Mardi Gras Day?

Yeah. It’s one of those interesting days. You never know if it’s going to be crazy or not. We try to dress up, but obviously they can’t interfere with making the coffee. I tried a costume with feather boas once, but I had to take them off. For KdV, I worked dressed as the Bourbon Gutter with a dirty looking jester hat and a hand grenade cup sewed to my shirt.

Ash Wednesday is always the day that we get really swamped. And, New Year’s Day.


Do you have any advice for someone working their first Mardi Gras?

Be prepared for anything. Know that eventually it ends and don’t let it burn you out. Keep in mind that it’s intense, but you will also make lots of money. Be ready to explain things lots of times because there are lots of drunk people. And, always take care of the businesses around you because they are going through the same thing. I make sure that lots of bartenders stay caffeinated.


Describe NOLA in a word.

Insanity (in a good way though)

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