Axios New Orleans

Newsletter branding image

😜 Hello, hello! It's Monday and April Fools' Day. See an unbelievable headline? Maybe double check.

  • But the news below is all true, promise!

Today's weather: Partly sunny with a high of 82. Rain chances return tomorrow.

🎧 Sounds like: "JUST FOR FUN" by Beyonce ft. Shreveport's own Willie Jones.

Today's newsletter is 882 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🍴 In the kitchen with Chicken

Marlon "Chicken" Williams grew up in the 9th Ward and is a self-taught cook. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

When Marlon "Chicken" Williams opened the doors of Chicken's Kitchen at his bright red corner storefront in Gretna for the very first time on Sept. 11, 2020, there was already a line down the block.

Why it matters: That line has never really gone away.

The big picture: Chicken's Kitchen connected the New Orleans metro to a well-known and well-loved trend in southwestern Louisiana: the meat and three.

  • The cafeteria-style approach offers plate lunches with daily protein specials, like fried chicken one day and blackened catfish the next, alongside heaping piles of sides like collard greens, candied yams, sweet corn and cabbage and rice.
  • And since opening, the love for Williams' restaurant has only gotten bigger.

This week, Williams will learn if that love includes a nomination for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: South.

Before opening the Gretna restaurant, Williams relied on Instagram to get the word out about his cooking.

  • Long lines of customers eager to snag a plate clogged up his neighborhood during Williams' pandemic-era drive-thrus, which signaled it was time to make the business official.

State of play: Williams' social media audience today totals well over 300,000 followers across his accounts.

  • Williams often uses social media to boost other local businesses too, especially West Bank restaurants.
  • "It's about reaching out and connecting with people," he says. "I'm old school, to a degree. I miss when the world was a community."

Perhaps that's why Chicken's Kitchen feels the way it does.

  • You can't complain about a long line when you get to chat with neighbors, and there's a plate of heartwarming, stomach-filling, tasty-as-all-get-out soul food on the other end.

Go deeper for Chicken's expansion plans

2. 🥩 Restaurant round-up

Brasa South American Steakhouse is the brand's second location. The first opened on Metairie Road. Photo: Rush Jagoe

Brasa South American Steakhouse, from chef Edgar Caro and partner Antonio Mata, is now open downtown.

Why it matters: It takes over the former Morton's Steakhouse location inside One Canal Place. It's a premier location in what's soon to be a busier-than-ever intersection as the new Caesars New Orleans comes together across the street.

Dig in: Brasa "is an homage to the asado culture of Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, showcasing the open-fire traditions from Caro's childhood," a press release says.

Meanwhile: New Orleans-area restaurant owners are getting a few more places open as we head into the depths of festival season.

  • Here are some other headlines to know:

☕ Congregation Coffee plans a new location in the French Quarter. (What Now)

🍳 Headquarters by Nice Guys NOLA, a new brunch spot, will open in the former Little Gem Saloon. (NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 🔒)

🛒 Ideal Market has a new Kenner location. (Facebook)

🥐 La Madeleine is remodeling its Elmwood location, according to a press release.

🌮 El Rincon Mexicano, a homestyle Mexican restaurant, opened in Metairie. (Instagram)

🍪 Just Eat Me Sweets, a new cookie shop, opened in Old Metairie. (Facebook)

Go deeper for Brasa menu details

3. Fully Dressed: BG arrested in Las Vegas

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Former Hot Boys rapper BG was arrested in Las Vegas after violating terms of his supervised release, which required permission before seeking self-employment. A judge said he violated that when he performed in Las Vegas with Boosie in February. BG has already been released. (The Guardian)

🐟 At GW Fins, chef Michael Nelson treats seafood like meat with dry aging techniques. (Washington Post)

📜 A convention to rewrite Louisiana's constitution could start May 20, if one legislator's bill passes the statehouse. (X)

👶 The Saints' Juwan Johnson and his wife and fellow social media star Chanen Johnson are expecting a second baby. (Instagram)

4. 🏀 LSU women in Elite 8

LSU's Flau'jae Johnson reacts after defeating the UCLA Bruins on Saturday. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

LSU meets Iowa in an NCAA Women's Basketball championship rematch tonight at 6:15pm on ESPN.

Why it matters: The winner of the Elite 8 matchup will go on to the Final Four.

The big picture: Saturday's Sweet 16 game between LSU and UCLA, which the Tigers won 78-69, came as a journalistic drama unfolded off the court for LSU coach Kim Mulkey.

State of play: Tonight's game should have plenty of fireworks, too.

  • Iowa's Hawkeyes are led by Caitlin Clark, who beat LSU player Pete Maravich's all-time scoring record earlier this year.
  • But "will any team be able to beat LSU when Flau'Jae Johnson plays like this?" ponders ESPN staff. "When sophomore guard Johnson is as effective as she has been in the NCAA tournament, it makes facing LSU seem even more daunting."

5. ⛪ 1 map to go: Church-going, going, gone

Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services
Data: Household Pulse Survey; Note: Adults who say they never attend or attend less than once a year; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Did you go to church on Easter? It's becoming a less common practice nationally.

Why it matters: 37% of Louisiana adults say they never or seldom attend religious services, per a new analysis of Household Pulse Survey data from Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng.

State of play: The national average is 49% for people not attending religious services.

  • Mississippi (32%), Alabama (36%) and Louisiana (37%) have the lowest shares.

Yes, but: About 30% of Louisianans attend 12 or more times, which is among the highest in the country, according to the data.

See a closer look at the data by denomination

🙅🏼‍♀️ Carlie hates pranks and thinks April Fools' Day is the worst holiday of the year.

🧐 Chelsea is hoping she doesn't get got by a fake headline today.

Tell an April Fool to subscribe.

Thanks to our editor Fadel Allassan and copy editor Carlin Becker.