Sunset Community Shows Outpouring of Support After Cafe Josephine Receives Criticism for VP Visit
A local restaurant in Sunset is standing its ground after visiting with Vice President Kamala Harris last week.
After having to reschedule multiple times, Vice President Kamala Harris finally paid a visit to south Louisiana on Monday, March 21 to talk about broadband internet access in rural, underserved areas.
Harris and other leaders highlighted the administration's investment in "affordable, accessible high-speed internet"—especially in places like St. Landry Parish where many gathered at an event to discuss how better access would improve education and business in the community.
Before Harris spoke to the crowd, members of the local community were able to share their experiences, stressing the importance of high-speed internet for students and mom-and-pop businesses. One of the local business owners who spoke was Troy Bijeaux, chef and co-owner of Cafe Josephine in Sunset, LA.
I know this because out of all the coverage the event got, a quote from Bijeaux personally stood out to me above everything else. While discussing the crucial need for reliable high-speed internet access, Bijeaux told the Madame VP that when his restaurant is blowing and going with a packed house and the internet goes down, he has to "take customers at their word" when it comes to debit and/or credit card payment until his team is able to run their cards at a later time or date once the internet is back up and running.
While I would assume most of the customers who dine at Cafe Josephine are honest and upstanding, it doesn't guarantee that their cards won't decline at a later time—regardless of the reason behind the rejected transaction. Even if one or two tickets decline, being out a few hundred dollars on a night adds up when it happens on a regular basis.
But not everyone was happy with Troy's interaction with Madame Vice President Harris. From the official Cafe Josephine Facebook page, Bijeaux revealed that he received a message from someone who took issue with him meeting the vice president. Clearly, this person was not a supporter of Vice President Harris, the Biden administration, and/or the political party they represent.
When Bijeaux tried to explain why his meetup was based more on community progress and not politics, the person who took the issue had blocked him and cut off all communication.
While just about everything is politicized these days, I'm not shocked that someone would actually take issue with something like this, but it was amazing to see the low moment that Cafe Josephine experienced turn into an almost impromptu outpouring of love and support as commenters shared kind words of encouragement and support for the local Sunset restaurant.
Folks assured Bijeaux that, regardless of their political affiliation, they looked forward to dining in his establishment soon.
Even people who made it clear that they do not support the current administration gave kudos to Bijeaux for speaking on behalf of his community.
In this political world, we may not like or support certain leaders in office, but let this be a reminder that having respect for the office is still important—not to mention, it has always somewhat made us different than many other parts of the world where chaos and turmoil is the norm.
Personally, I applaud Bijeaux and everyone else who spoke on behalf of south Louisiana to get the infrastructure and resources needed to move our region forward in education, business, and everywhere in between.
After all, it's our money anyway, right?
Hats off to Cafe Josephine, and the entire St. Landry Parish community for hosting our VP for a visit that will very likely lead to great opportunities—regardless of what political parties are involved.