August 29th, 2010
04:40 PM ET
13 years ago

Even for the president: No such thing as a free lunch

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" President Obama ordered lunch Sunday at Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans."](CNN) - Here's a line that would certainly grab your attention if it were called out on the intercom as you're enjoying a lovely Gulf shrimp sandwich for lunch: "Barack, pickup!"

President Obama was already mingling with the patrons of the legendary Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans when his lunch order was called. Some locals received a hug from the president–even though he cut to the front of line.

"We're just glad to see you," one woman told him, "Thanks for coming down."

Obama ran into trouble, though, when he attempted to pay for the first family's lunch. Failing to produce enough money for the food, he called over a White House staffer who produced a $20 bill for the cash-strapped commander-in-chief.

Six more photos of President Obama at Parkway Bakery and Tavern, after the jump:

For lunch, the president ordered a shrimp po'boy, New Orleans' ubiquitous submariane sandwich. A young on-looker recommended the surf and turf.

"The combo thing," Obama replied as a local might. "There was a time I could do that-when I was your age."

The family-owned and operated tavern was under eight feet of water after Hurricane Katrina struck the Big Easy five years ago. It was one of the first restaurants in the city to re-open after Katrina struck. The owner, Jay Nix, worked with his extended family to rebuild and turn the lights back on just 88 days after the storm had passed.

The new building is built 19 feet higher than the pre-Katrina establishment so even hurricane-level flooding won't drown the Parkway.

President Obama and the first family were accompanied by the traveling press pool, which provided the information used in this story.

ALT TEXT President Obama greets people as he arrives at Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans on Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

ALT TEXT President Obama greets people as he arrives at Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans on Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

ALT TEXT President Obama is given money by a White House staffer to pay for lunch Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

ALT TEXT President Obama holds a wad of money near the front counter in Parkway. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

ALT TEXT President Obama talks with local residents after ordering lunch at the Parkway Bakery and Tavern. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

ALT TEXT President Obama jokes with some locals inside Parkway. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Filed under: New Orleans • President Obama
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. jim

    Well, at least we don't have to watch him on oil stained beaches eatin ice cream cones.Boy what a photo disaster that was the last time he was there. !!!

    August 29, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. HypocriCNN

    I'm Proud That The POTUS Is Down In New Orleans, He Has Certainly Been Down There More That The Last President.

    August 29, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Sally

    What a nice man. He takes time to greet the crowd, shake hands, have photos taken, and doesn't even charge them.
    He is also doing a great job in one of the most difficult times this country has ever faced. I think Democrats will be rewarded in November, and I pray that President Obama can continue to right the ship of state. He is a good man.

    August 29, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Like him or hate him, President Obama is a people person and I have to be honest and say I believe George W. Bush was also.

    August 29, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. brock

    lol....figures he even wants others to pay for his lunch....his mom must have taught him the welfare way too well...

    August 29, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    This is very beautiful PR, very professionally done.
    What a shame that the President needs so much advertising.
    A job well done would be better.

    August 29, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. H.L

    Love the man, hate his politics.....

    August 29, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. mj

    No money? Guess he just figured it was just another "freebie." The American Taxpayers paid for his vacation, why should he have to bring his wallet!

    August 29, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Soap

    He gives out enough free lunches at tax payer expense, maybe he expected one himself. Fits the mind set.

    August 29, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. vic

    His critics say he is different form other presidents yes he know ordinary Americans life style he associate with every one Jealousy

    August 29, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. In the West

    Our president connects with the real working people of America more than Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin could ever hope to. He is without a doubt, the real deal.

    August 29, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Drewnell Thomas

    I am appalled at the lack of respect for the Office of the President of the United States of America. The President always should be addressed by his title. If you are privately on a first name basis with the President, you should always when in the presence of others and in the public domain, address the President by his title when you speak or write his name. Please be nice, if you cannot be nice, be respectful. After all, President Barack Obama is the President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
    Drewnell Thomas

    August 29, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I wish that everyone were made aware of the fact that this administration has been down there since it started. Just ask the residents. He knows that there is a long way to go. He also knows that funds were not given to the programs that were enacted, now they are.

    CNN....what happened to your old reporting? You just glaze over a headline and post it. You do no research anymore. Why is it we have to do it for ourselves? What has happened to your news agency? You are fast becoming tabloid journalism.

    August 29, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Bill

    That is how gevernment works. Get some one else to pay for it.

    August 29, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Paula

    I love Barack Obama.. Americans should be proud of this President.. he is real and genuine and as a Canadian I am so thrilled he is commander and chief of our southern neighbour. God Bless you Mr. President!

    August 29, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. patrick

    Another great example of when Obama wants to spend some money – someone else ends up paying for it.

    August 29, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Zach

    I just saw that one movie The Manchurian Candidate. Scary stuff!! What if Obama is like that guy!! I'm scared

    August 29, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Keith Pomeroy

    I hate to rain on the Hail Obama parade, but it needs to be done. Takes the family to lunch and can't come up with $20 dollars. How out of touch with reality is he really? Any fast food place will cost you that to feed the family from the drive thru window. Ridiculous example of an elitist not having a clue:/

    August 29, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. chad m

    nice guy, too bad his policies are such garbage, Oils not the only th\hing getting cleaned up.. Dems are going to get cleaned out in Nov

    August 29, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. BA

    I think he's doing his best and some people don't want to credit him for that.

    August 29, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. Daniel

    God bless America and God bless the President.

    August 29, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. sdgman

    That is outstanding. What a privilege to get the opportunity to meet and converse with the POTUS. Very cool.

    August 29, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. DorisV

    Wow, Doesn't Barack know how to live within his means or the money in his pocket. Couldn't Michelle come up with any cash. He had to get money from some staff person. This is ridiculous. My commenting on it is ridiculous also.

    August 29, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. Patrick from Minnesota

    It's a good thing that even with all of the crap to clean up, Pres. Obama still has time to stay in touch with the community. I voted for him and I'm glad I did.

    August 29, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. DerrickAnthony

    Yes, our President is a nice man – a decent and caring Human Being.
    He genuinely cares about this country, and is doing all he can to make sure we stay afloat in this "Embattle Ship" that is barely sailing. Lets do our part, and help him patch up the holes, and put the wind back in the sail,so we can sail safely into another term. George W. Bush has been silent for a good reason. All the other steam blowers need to shut up as well, and let him do his job. Sarah Palin is clearly racist, and no one is admitting that they're thinking the same. What a shame! And we call America home of the Free and the Brave? Where is the Freedom? Where is the Bravery?

    August 29, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
1 2 3 4