The City of Crawdads, Jazz and Katrina

26 03 2009

It seemed liked everyone had “Go to New Orleans” on their ‘Must Do” List and then Hurrican Katrina hit and no one knew if they wanted new-orleans-025to go to see the destruction that was left behind, or if there was an urgency to see it before another storm hit and washed it away. 

Well let me tell you, I didn’t think that I would be able to check “Visit New Orleans” off my list so soon in life, but I did, and did I ever make sure that that check mark was worth its while.  Rolling into town, seeing the broken down houses and capsized boats from the storm and 8 Hours in downtown New Orleans, taking in the French Quarter, the Riverwalk, and of course, Bourbon Street!

New Orleans has this draw, this internal pulse that just makes you want to slow down your stride, turn off your phone and find the hidden secrets of the city, which are so conveniently hidden amidst fountains in courtyards and surrounded by live music. 

Let me take you on a walk through the French Quarter, and when I say a walk, I really mean a full-course meal.  Drinking a Rainstorm (in a rainstorm) and munching on aligator bites and Crawdad Etoufee at Pat O’Brians.  Wandering down the street we found ourselves at The Famous Door where we tackled a few mid-Wednesday afternoon cocktails.  After all, it was happy hour.  After listening to a live band sing everything from CCR, The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, and watching middle-aged businessmen hit on young spring breakers – we were on our way in search of our next meal.  Must counteract the effects of the 2 – for – 1 happy hour deal. 

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Wandering down the street – it’s getting busier.  We found ourselves swayed, not by food, but by a deal too good to pass up – 3 – for – 1 Happy Hour Special!  There was singing, there was dancing, there were shooter girls with all different coloured test tubes in their hands, and an innocent young spring breaker who was corrupted by the bartender and shooter girls with their low cut shirts and cleavage.  It’s only 6pm now.

Now, really in need of food, we go off foraging, asking locals along the way and come across Arnaud’s.  This just so happens to be the most upscale restaurant on Bourbon Street, there is dim lighting and all of the servers are wearing tuxedos.  Obviously, we were underdressed, but, not to turn away our business, we got shuffled into the back in the “Jazz Room”, code for “you don’t look good enough to sit in the front room where everyone can see you”. 

This “Jazz Room” is where we met Adam – our server, the upsell of all salesmen.  He talked us into Souffle Potatoes, which were really just puffed up french fries, a $7 upsell to crab cakes from my original order of some sort of crab pastry, and 7 spears of asparagus, 2 baby tomatoes, 4 slices of carrot, and 10 green beans for $15!  Oh Adam, we called him on this as well, and after all of the drinks that had imbibed, congratulated him on his upsell skills.  The one thing that was our very own decision – oysters on the half-shell – and they were wonderful!

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It’s 9pm now, and Bourbon Street is coming alive with music, drinking in the streets (I seem to have lost my CA instincts – cause finally, I didn’t care!), short short skirts, and kareoke at The Cat’s Meow.   Before we leave the buzz of the city and go back to work, we must make one more stop – the infamous Cafe du Monde, where I heard that you had to drink coffee and eat beignets, which are these sinful homemade triangle doughnuts covered in a mountain of powerded sugar. 

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 Not a bad way to end a regular Wednesday afternoon. 

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