Heat and Steam in the Big Easy
Today’s NOLA, as it’s called, (New Orleans, LA) is a hybrid of ancient French Quarter architecture still intact, Louisiana culture and cutting edge gastronomy. Several award winning chefs and published cookbook authors call New Orleans home, and serve up amazing food to the locals and tourists alike. Hurricane Katrina may have caused devastating damage to the rural areas around the city, but nothing has damaged the reputation, quality or uniqueness of the food in New Orleans.
Local seafood is king. Crawfish, oysters and shrimp are on practically every restaurant’s menu, and seafood gumbo is a signature dish of the city. Iconic restaurants such as Galatoires, Arnaud’s, Commander’s Palace and Acme Oyster House flourish amongst the younger generation’s Iron Chef and James Beard award winners like August, Stella and Bayona. The mixture of very old and new, be it architecture, music or food, gives New Orleans a personality unlike that of any other city in the world.
Be it during Mardi Gras or any other time of year, Bourbon Street is the focal point of the historic French Quarter. Cheap liquor, pedestrian only access and the “laissez les bon temps rouler” (let the good times roll) attitude brings a party to the streets every day of the year. Summertime adds an element of scantily clothed tourists who are prone to flash skin at other tourists for a cheap string of plastic beads tossed down from first-floor balconies overlooking the street.
New Orleans dates back to 1718 and has some amazing cemeteries. Since the entire city is technically below sea level, all New Orleanians are actually buried in crypts above ground. Although a little creepy, I wandered through a few burial grounds and captured some interesting images. I can’t wait for my next trip back, for some amazing food and plenty of spirits of another type.