John Rotonti, Felix’s owner, would not let the bar go dry. He bought oysters from Florida and Texas to supplement the meager harvest from Louisiana.
Still, a shucker can only do so much in the face of an environmental disaster of mammoth proportions.
Close to closing time, Mr. [Keith] Chancley, who on a good day last year might have made $200 in tips, took a measly $4 out of the tip bucket after the total was split with the rookie shucker (three years on the job) and the novice shucker (a dishwasher in training).
“We’ve got to take the good with the bad,” said Mr. Chancley, a 35-year veteran. “I tell the other shuckers around town ”” we’re a close group ”” just weather the storm. Take it as a time to heal your cramped hands and your soul.”