February 16th, 2011
09:30 AM ET
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August 29 marks the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. We're sharing this piece again as a love letter to the people who never gave up on New Orleans.

The young man with the broad, gold-capped smile slammed the van door and picked up the microphone. "My name is Anthony, and I'll be your shuttle driver today. If this is your first time in New Orleans, there is one thing you need to know: eat all the food you can. You cannot go wrong with that."

Perhaps it's possible to find someone within the New Orleans city limits who is neutral on the subject of food – agnostic on the provenance of the city's best po-boy (or for that matter, how to spell it) and content with a frozen burrito on a Monday night when by all means they ought to be having red beans and rice. Chances are they just haven't been in town long enough for a local to set them straight, lead them by the hand to a proper coffee shop or sno-ball stand and then maybe on over to the house for Friday night gumbo.

Don't worry about them – it'll happen, because goodness, do New Orleanians love to talk…and argue……and educate…and opine about food. It's who they are, and what has kept them going, even when their very way of life was in danger of being swept away forever.

Food is the lingua franca of New Orleans. Says Richard McCarthy, executive director of the organization that oversees the local farmers markets, "If you're stuck in an elevator here, you could make conversation with anyone about one of the three Fs: food, fishing and football." The Saints and seafood may be seasonally relegated, but there is always something cooking.

"Here in New Orleans, we hear a great deal about good eating; our enthusiasm for food is unending. A familiar scene in New Orleans restaurants is a table laden with spectacular food surrounded by New Orleanians eating happily while already planning their next meal," wrote cookbook author Rima Collin in her 1975 introduction to "Brennan's 417 Royal St.: A Souvenir Cookbook." The statement - and the restaurant - still stand.

McCarthy attributes a certain amount of that intrinsic passion to the city's ethnic underpinnings and cultural Catholicism. "Fusion before fusion" is how he refers to Creole cooking. While the French made it their mission to maintain canonical cooking practices in the region, Spanish, African, Indian and other influences began to meld with it and form an entirely new cuisine. The Catholic calendar, along with the progression of the seasons, defined times for food-based rituals and celebration.

On Fridays between Twelfth Night and Fat Tuesday, no matter the secular or non-secular nature of a school, often there will be King Cake. Children learn to bite down gently so as not to chip a tooth on the small baby figure that may or may not be baked into their slice. The lucky recipient of the baby is crowned as royalty for the day and bears his or her prize home proudly to parents who might be less enthused; they're on the hook for providing the next week's King Cake.

This, needless to say, does not happen many other places in the country. As McCarthy puts it, these New Orleans food traditions transmute into the "rhythm of who and where you are."

Radio host, culinary activist and cooking teacher Poppy Tooker attributes the city's food fixation to catholic tastes – in the lower-case sense of the word. "It transcends gender and race," she says.

"You walk down the street and you hear everyone talking about what they ate and where they got it. It might be a group of women. It could be a bunch of businessmen talking about the meat they shot and how they're going to cook it. It's just everybody."

People in New Orleans are passionate preservationists of their city's food history, for it is a massive part of what has sustained them. Coming in as a first time visitor, it's impossible not to notice in the structures and the statements: every event is couched as "before the storm" and "after the storm." Bustling new eateries – more than 300 of them established in the past five years – abut grand dining halls that have served up pommes soufflé, Oysters Rockefeller and shrimp remoulade for over a century.

Tooker refers to these restaurants – Galatoire's, Arnaud's, Antoine's and the like – as "living food museums." Says she, "In France, they'd forgotten about some of these dishes. They're oddities. We'd never stopped making them."

She continued, "The average New Orleanian is only happy if she walks into one of these places and the Trout Meuniere and ideally even the waiter are the same as when she used to come in with her grandmother. Everything has to remain the same. You end up with a perfectly preserved food culture."

And yet these living, lively culinary artifacts and new ventures coexist with buildings and entire neighborhoods that still sit derelict after Hurricane Katrina. The residents live among, as Richard McCarthy says, "complicated layers of decay – the marvelous ghosts and tragic ones."

What's the first thing you grab when the floodwaters are rising and you don't know when or if you'll ever see your home again? Many people didn't get a chance to make that decision, and many never made it out. Despite the city's intrinsic connection with food, very few people's first inclination was to stash a suitcase full of family recipes, comb-bound cookbooks and New Orleans-specific ingredients. They were just happy to get out alive.

Those who did, waited. Disallowed entry back into the city for many weeks, and unsure what damage might greet them upon return, many residents sought shelter elsewhere and hungered for home.

Lu Brow, a cocktail book author and bar chef at the Swizzle Stick Bar at Loews Hotel, took refuge with her family in Shreveport, Louisiana, for six weeks. Bereft of routine – or anything else – and in terrible fear of being a burden, she had a hot dinner and cold cocktails on the table for them every night. "I had to have something," she said. She cooked her childhood favorites, like brisket with roux gravy, chicken and dumplings and endless red velvet cakes and pies for them. They loved it. Still, she knew she had to go back and dreaded telling her ailing, elderly father that she was going back to the unknown of post-flood New Orleans.

"I know you are," he told her. He gave her a $2 bill he'd been carrying in his wallet since 1922 saying, "I didn't raise a quitter."

Poppy Tooker did not take kindly to exile either. She and her family, who had been staying with family in Baton Rouge, fought their way back into the city as soon as they were able, and she sprang into action. She and Richard McCarthy collaborate closely on the Crescent City Farmers Market. It was founded, in large part, as an homage to the New Orleans markets that in the 1800s were, on any given day, home to over 400 fruit, vegetable, game and seafood vendors from every corner of the globe.

In 2005, however, the market had become a nexus for several dozen local farmers, fishermen, bakers and food artisans as well as a deep cross-section of the population who relied on the vendors for fresh, affordable food. It closed on August 27, as the city was hearing its first warnings about the storm that was bearing down on the Gulf Coast, and McCarthy and Tooker tried desperately to communicate with their vendors to see if they had made it through.

An e-mail came through from Kay Brandhurst, the market's "Shrimp Girl." She, her husband Ray and their four children had made it out, but they had lost their home and their boat – which was their livelihood. She asked not for aid, but for work. She got a miracle.

Members of the Slow Food movement from across the country banded together to provide sweat labor, PR muscle and financial assistance. On Tuesday, November 22, when the Crescent City Market reopened, shoppers returned and hugged the stuffing out of Brandhurst, who was there with a truck loaded up with fresh shrimp for her customers' Thanksgiving feasts.

It has not been an easy haul for Brandhurst and her family. Left homeless after the storm, the six of them lived crammed into a one-bedroom apartment above a pain clinic, with a daily 4 a.m. journey to pick up the night's haul, get the fuel for the boats and get the kids to school. She did her best to maintain her family's morale, but it wasn't easy.

"There just wasn't much open, even if there wasn't any damage," Brandhurst says of the local markets. "There was a Save A Center nearby, but it was eerie and creepy and they didn't have much. There was never a 'so what do you feel like eating?'"

Respite finally came one day. "We were dying for fried shrimp. All of a sudden one day, I could get some shrimp. I didn't have flour or fish fry. I fried it up with pancake batter and I swear, we still talk about it. That fried shrimp is the best thing we ever tasted. Food is where it's at!"

Tooker also recalls the grimness of the post-Katrina grocery stores. "When the grocery stores reopened, there was no butter, and just no place for anyone to buy fresh food." Then one day – a glimpse of normalcy.

She says, "Way up on the top shelf, under the generator lights, I saw a package that looked familiar and I pulled it down. There's this bakery called Brocato's that had just celebrated their centennial, and I'd heard that they'd gotten five feet of water and I couldn't find the owners. I figured I might never see these cookies again, so I bought maybe 20 packages of them."

Tooker continued, "I was sitting on my couch surrounded by all these cookie boxes and I saw this sticker on the side, next to the centennial sticker, and it said 'Best by August 2005.' I started crying, saying I should just get a tattoo that said the same thing because that's going to be true of all of us."

Still, little by little, hope shone through. The chefs came back and had to face the horrifying prospect of cleaning out their walk-in refrigerator that had been without power for days or even weeks. Tooker recalls sitting with chef John Besh in his flagship restaurant August as they planned fundraising strategies. Besh and his team had been using August as a home base to feed relief workers 20 hours a day in the wake of the flood.

She recalls, "He had a truck parked out front with a hose coming through a knocked out window in the front so they could get fresh water, and still, I couldn't believe this, he kept apologizing for the flies. It was so surreal."

After the worst had passed, the city's restaurants rallied. Says Tooker, "No matter if it was a little sandwich shop or a grand place, Each restaurant that reopened was a little bit of victory. Customers would be crying when they saw each other; they hadn't known who was still alive."

As McCarthy says, "As we were swiped about from one trauma to the next, the anxiety of losing it all created sense of kinship and an attachment to the taste of memory. In this crisis moment of Katrina we had to fight like hell to defend our traditions, and chefs and cooks showed extraordinary creativity. Juggling tradition and innovation – that’s the story now."

Today, five and a half years later the city is changed, but not broken. Poppy Tooker does a star turn around the Crescent Street Market. Fans of hers and Richard McCarthy's come up for a hug and to show off their purchases of fresh satsumas, Creole cream cheese (the method for which Tooker helped preserve from extinction) and Cajun grains rice.

Kay Brandhurst is also in attendance, vending fist-sized, sweet-smelling Louisiana shrimp from the back of her truck. The BP oil spill dealt a blow to her business  – but not from any physical peril to her family's hauls. She assures buyers that seafood is more rigorously tested that at any previous point in history. Still all but two of her 80 vendors outside of the region have dropped her, saying that their customers still just don't think it's worth the risk.

After all she's weathered, Brandhurst still has faith in herself and the system. "I think I can do anything now. I try to accept life for what it is, and I trust that [BP claims administrator] Mr. [Kenneth] Feinberg will get it right."

"You're an eternal optimist," teases Tooker. She's displaying a little bit of faith herself today, buying several pounds of Brandhurst's shrimp to make an etouffee for guests that afternoon. She's got no qualms about its safety; she just knows that it tastes like home. "This is the kind of dish that got us through."

More good reading from and about people in the story: The New Orleans Food Timeline | 'Cooking Up A Storm' | Poppy Tooker's Louisiana Eats! | In Katrina's Wake | Crescent City Farmers Market | Kay and Ray Brandhurst

More on New Orleans:
A toast to a civil rights activist Leah Chase
Cooking with Carville
What to do, drink, eat and avoid at Mardi Gras
All New Orleans coverage

soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Tony

    As a native now living as an expat, it is so good to see that in many ways my home has rebounded from not one but two disasters. I know that some are tired of hearing about Katrina and maybe even BP, but those that tir of hearing about it never had to go through it and they are missing the most important element of each story, the never say die spirit of those who have come back and are trying to make NOLA the vibrant city it once was. There are those that want to see a lot of changes, such as closing down Charity Hospital where I was born, to them i say change is good but not all change is good.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  2. mkat

    The Gulf coast is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Let's help it thrive. It's not just New Orleans but an entire region and ecosystem that must be preserved! And yeah, mmmmm... Gumbo! Peace!

    February 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  3. dawn

    For those of you who are sick of hearing about new Orleans and Katrina- you need to take a trip down and see that even after all this time things are not even back to 50% of what they were pre-Katrina. Maybe you should come and lend a hand to someone who is still living out of a tent or someone else's home. These people were just begining to regain their barrings when the BP spill happened and put a stop to the progress that was being made. Stop the complaning and think about if you yourself were put into that positon!!

    February 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • NOLA Ex-Pat

      THANK YOU! You hit the nail on the head, cher!

      It took my husband and I three years to get home after the storm, because, well, we lost everything. We were just finally getting our bearings back when the oil spill happened and companies began laying off employees (and subsequently shut down.) My husband and I both lost our jobs, and with the NOLA economy being what it is right now, we had to relocate to Houston six months after the spill. (That's when the savings finally ran out, unfortunately, and Texas seems to be the only state with a semi-stable economy.)

      I miss New Orleans so much, it hurts. That city is, was, and always shall be my first love. Lord willing, we'll be coming back home in a year or two.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  4. Mick

    The food that saved me during Katrina in NOLA was MREs.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Now that is a rational comment.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
      • Hurricane Passed

        I'll bet you're invited to all the kids parties.....

        February 17, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      You might imagine that in person I try to be far more gentle than I do in a brief paragraph online. Would you prefer that I weep and gnash my teeth?

      February 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
      • Hurricane Passed

        I would prefer you to be bound by your feet, tied to the back of a cigarette boat powered by at least 3 outboards and be dragged all over the Gulf of Mexico for approximately 3-5 hours. Maybe then, that hair that has become lodged so firmly up your arse will be washed out and you, my friend, would lighten the hell up.

        February 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  5. David

    I'm from up North (the Northeast, to be exact), but, one, you think *Cajun cuisine having originated in **New Orleans** * is a myth? Try the myth that NOLA is built below sea level! (You didn't hear THAT myth until KATRINA!, now, *DID!!!!* YOU!!!?!!!) My gosh!, if all of the "Big Easy" were below sea level, then, darnit, how the heck do you explain the so-called "sliver by the river" (New Orleans neighborhoods that suffered less [or any?] damage from Katrina)!?! Number two(@Stephen:), if you don't like New Orleans (or Atlanta, New York, London, Miami, Philly or whatever), that's YOUR business! With New Orleans still recovering from Katrina (in no small part by rebuilding), the last thing the city needs is your negative comments toward same. (Toward N.O., that is.) Besides, as another poster commented previously, the city played so big a part in American culture that it isn't funny. As said individual also pointed out in the same comment, it is the birthplace of jazz, not to mention that New Orleans played a big role in the early development of rock 'n' roll. (Speaking of rock 'n' roll, NEW ORLEANS EVEN BIRTHED THE TOP-40 RADIO FORMAT! [And rock 'n' roll is rooted at least partially in the South in general as it is.])

    February 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      @David: What part of my posts seemed to indicate a dilsike of NOLA? I will say however that saying it's the birthplace of Jazz is facutally incorrect. Put aside the rampant emotion for one moment and remember that people make that music, not a place, and who are you to decide what is a better outcome? You think the food of NOLA was borne of a happy story?... come on. Who's to say that your nostalgia isn't keeping people from:
      1.) A better and safer life.
      2.) New music, new food, without losing any of the old.

      So much fear here, and so little fiscal responsiblity.. yet it's a good Red state. You realize that music and food have nothing to do with why NOLA was saved, right? OIL. GAS. The MOMENT the risk-reward tips in favor of another city or region, you're done, just like Detroit. You can point at other cities, and they have their problems too, some as or more severe. Still, you seem to really need to focus on one thing a time, so lets stick with this. Oh, and don't even bother with your "birthplace of ******" nonsense; like the "right way" to hold a knife or throw a strike, you can smell BS a mile away coming off unfounded and uncited declarations.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  6. demogal

    I live in Colorado–great scenery, terrible food. I go to New Orleans as often as I can and come home unable to wear anything but my sweats, and it's worth it!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  7. David

    @ANW: That's what Lisa *MEANT*!: neither New York City nor the L.A. neighborhood or suburb–I forgot which–of Northridge weren't knocked after 9/11 and the '94 earthquake, respectively, but, yet, New Orleans, LA "gets dumped on" after and as a result of Hurricane Katrina. There's a double standard to this **somewhere**. Is it because New Orleans was more heavily African-American even at the time Katrina was forecast? And even if it weren't that heavily black, could the double standard be because New Orleans is located in the South? Just asking, yo.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Well let me ask how you fell about huge cities being built and rebuilt on a faultline? Putting the past aside (NO is back, we can't sell it out, same with LA), when the next disaster occurs... should it be rebuilt in the same place? If it never occurs, fantastic, but IF it does... what then? We can't afford to lose those economies, so we saved them... it pays us back in theory. The same is true for NO... you do know that right? If you think that every city that "dies" is saved, go to Detroit or ~95% of DC. You got dumped on by people who were upset that:
      1.) It's not clear that NOLA is salvageable in PRACTICE, although in theory it is.
      2.) NOLA is a port, and could be replaced... the day that is more financially and politically feasible, it will be done, you realize that.

      The world is not a static thing, and this desperate attempt to preserve something very visible at the expense of less visible issues doesn't strike me as anything, but selfish.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  8. Dizzyd

    @Nola29 – I hate to tell u this, mon amie, but it's not only cities that America has a laissez-faire attitude towards, judging by the comments. Sammie – save me some food! ;)

    February 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      You mean like your attitude towards anyone who probably doesn't share your particular subset of values? I'm so impressed it aches, but don't be insulted when I pass on the seafood fromt he gulf for the next 20-30 years. You just keep that faith in Uncle Sam and your "Aime ton prochain". I wish you the enormous amount of luck you'll need, for personal, practical, and moral reasons.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  9. DatBro

    This article made me hungry and made me miss my home. Good food and good people.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      The food and the people... I'm asking this genuinely: can they exist outside of NOLA, or is there an inextricable link. Im not talking about the pure romance, I mean is it the people and what they bring that makes the place, or the place that makes the people?

      February 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  10. Dizzyd

    Tsk! Such insensitivity. Is this the best we can give each other? So-called 'Voice of Reason'- if you know what it's like, then you of all ppl should have more sympathy. @Barre – I'd love to!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      If you need a sensitive environment I don't think the comments section of CNN is a place you want to be. You may also want to consider that in your sympathy, you're actually concerned about those elements of NO culture you like, not its actual long-term wellbeing. I'm not hearng a lot about the great police culture, or race relations... possibly because that's not the part you care to save or emphasize?

      I sympathize with anyone who's experiencing pain, but that doesn't stop me from examining the realities. Remember, flood-waters, high winds, economic diffiiculties and all of those other things don't care to be sensitive... they just ruin lives. I'm hearing a lot of love for NOLA from people who are doing well there, but not so much considering how much poverty exists. Oh right... those people are probably too busy to comment here about their outrage, so you can speak for them. PHEW. One thing, you might want to check on their needs and desires before you do that, especially if you expect to be taken seriously.

      Ah, and nothing says, "trying to sound like a school marm" like good "tsk" in writing, Losing the affectations may help you as well.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  11. Jazzfester

    To Ryan, Stephen, and the rest of the bitter, angry little people above,

    Please keep your attitude in your town that has apparently made you very unfriendly and negative. Maybe you will never understand the rhythm of New Orleans culture. We are tired of hearing your complaints in New Orleans as well.

    Some of you Debbie Downers have posted your poison more than once. That is astonishing to me, but I may not understand the rhythm of your towns.

    Have a nice day,

    February 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      I don't believe I claimed to understand your culture, which would be arrogant and absurd. I do however have some understanding of the other issues involved that are pertinant to those of us who wish to be realistic. Still... Debbie Downer?... am I also a "Don't Be" or shall we go back to radio?

      I'm also impressed that you manage to begin your post with insults that at no point have been made my me at least, and end with that lovely sentiment that I assume is code for **** you. You remind me of those fine upstanding religious folk who say they'll pray for you like they're throwing knives.

      Well, thanks for showing us the mature way to belittle others who are simply stating their views, injecting an element of reality into your pre-'50's fantasty. I'd wish you a nice day, but it would be insincere... I can't honstly say that I wish you anything good or bad.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  12. Bayou Girl

    @ Stephen: It reads: AMONG the best in the world...not the BEST in the world! And of course, Nola29 has facts to back her/his opinion up...yours is subjective but thanks for the compliment! Have a great evening! Viva la New Orleans!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      You want me to argue semantics.... all food is "AMONG" the best in the world, including K-rations. You're either removing the meaning and intent of what Nola was saying, or simply being rhetorical. Either way, I'm unmoved, but you have a fine evening as well.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
      • Bayou Girl

        Not arguing anything but if you misread, then you MIS-answer! LOLOL!!!!! You wanted everyone to know your travels because you think that makes you more of an expert to answer if NO has the BEST food, whereas it read AMONG the best!! Say what you mean, mean what you say. Rhetorical!? Mmmm.....I won't bother, you will probable read it wrong and I'll never get a straight answer from you! LOLOL!!! Have a great day!!! Viva la New Orleans!

        February 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  13. David

    @dnote: The damage that Katrina did to Mississippi made the news all right: it's just that New Orleans got more play than even NOLA suburb-slash-next-door neighbor Chalmette, Louisiana. Why? Simple!: BECAUSE NEW ORLEANS IS A MAJOR CITY!!, ***THAT'S!!!*** WHY!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  14. David

    @dnote: The damage that Katrina did to Mississippi made the news alright; it's just that New Orleans got more play than even suburb/next-door neighbor Chalmette, LA. Why? Simple, BECAUSE NEW ORLEANS IS A MAJOR CITY!!, *THAT'S!!! WHY!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  15. Nola29

    New Orleans cuisine is among the best in the world. What is amazing is that our cuisine is completely independent of the region around us. Although dominated by American culture, New Orleans has blazed its culinary trail and the results have been astounding. Although Creole cuisine (Jambalaya, Gumbo, etc...) dominate the culinary horizon in the city, other cuisines are embraced such as Cajun, Spanish, Mediterranean, you name it. As the cuisine shows, New Orleans is as much a lifestyle as it is a place.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Among the best in the world you say?! Interesting, I've traveled my entire life and while the style is often impressive, the ingredients excellent, and the service friendly... there's much better in the WORLD. How much have you traveled to draw such conclusions, especially when your take on the history of the food is so very high in romance, but low on facts or even a source.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  16. The Voice of Reason

    John you are an idiot, Bayou Girl you are probablly a die hard democrat. If your pissed off at your insurance coverage, then read your policy on what your paying. Dont have insurance then dont complain. It's not like this hurricane popped up over night. Because all of the people that decided to stay after ignoring all the warnings, then you want my tax dollars to send emergency personnel into save you risking their lives as well. Sorry no sympathy from me. When life kicks you where it hurts, you get up, dust your self off, and keep going. You dont sit on your arse waiting for Uncle Sam to come bail you out. I lost a home in Ike. I know the feeling of losing everything, but I got of my arse, and rebuilt the home with my own two hands.

    As one comment said up above, you want some cheese with that wine!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      @The Voice of Reason: You think this is a PARTY issue?... get over yourself. Calling people idiots isn't going to help, and failing to aknowldge the role that "uncle sam" plays in KEEPING people in NO is purely ignorant. I'm realistic, but you just seem pleased to see something fall apart. In short, you sound like the usual child-nihilist who styles him/her self as "Libertarian". I call that being able to see problems, but unwilling and/or unable to entertain solutions. Should NO be rebuilt?... no. Should people be stuck in trailers and told to WAIT and then come home? NO. If you're going to be an ***, be useful too.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Bayou Girl

      I am not PISSED off any my insurance company as I do not live in NO but if you recall or research, alot of insurance companies never had the definition of flood insurance in their policies. For example, when GA flooded, some people had to leave their homes and start over because of the same reason but by that time, regulations had change and people were able to cover themselves if they were located in what is considered a "flood zone". Your repeated chants of do it themselves, dust yourself off, etc. are really your lack of research on what the communities, city and State of Louisiana is/are/have done to rebulit the city. I hope you just stop making comments for the sake of just having to rebuttal, because you are no VOR. Have a great day!

      February 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
      • Stephen Daedalus

        I agree with you... this is clearly a sign of the "the end of days" :P

        February 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Aaron Stroud

    Look, if you dont like NO for whatever reason, fine, stay away. But the argument that the city shouldnt be rebuilt is ludicrous. Our country owes a lot to this city. Washington was built on a swamp. So was Chicago. Huge swaths of land are below sea level in Scandinavia. Just go visit NO and I promise you'd change your tune.
    I love you crazy New Orleanians. There aint nobody like y'all!!! See ya soon.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      It's not a matter of what is liked or not liked, it's a matter of what is or is not sinking, and whether or not federal money is spent to stop the process. I've visited NO, and it's beautiful, soulful as others have said.... I loved it. Still, it's a dead city walking, and infusions of cash just lets you savor the corpse a little longer while the rest move on. I'm sorry that such an interesting place is going down the tubes, but it is what it is. I'd rather see my Federal dollars spent getting people like NolaMom and her kids OUT of harms way, not protecting antiques; the places and people.

      February 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
      • Nola29

        First of all, a great deal of this city is above sea-level. Second, there are ways to protect this city. On your logic we need to abandon every major city that is in harms way. Would you be willing to abandon San Francisco? New Orleans has a culture that has defined America. Jazz was started here, and New Orleans had a huge influence on Rock'N'Roll and Blues. New Orleans has existed for 300 years and has centuries before her. Honestly, if the United States believes that New Orleans is not worth saving, then New Orleans (and Louisiana) should not have to be subject to the ignorance of this viewpoint. New Orleans has plenty of assets it could use (oil, and ports) to pay for the restoration of its coast and construction of levees.

        February 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
      • Stephen Daedalus

        Once your gross generalizations are removed... there aren't many candidates that match. "First of all, a great deal of this city is above sea-level."... I'd add, that less of it is every day. You let your protections go through mismanagement on the state and federal level, and now your city is dying. It's a pity, but don't expect people to care as they might for Chicago. NO is a port city, and otherwise it's purely cultural... welcome to the Realpolitik. You think that trying to save NO wouldn't just cause more diffuse pain that is less culturally sensitity? Please.

        February 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
      • Nola29

        New Orleans's economy, although hurt by Katrina, has rebounded. New Orleans has a vibrant movie industry, a huge culinary scene, oil and natural gas, tourism, and two huge port systems. New Orleans is a city of 1.2 million people, this is well worth saving considering we account for 35% of Louisiana's population. Has it ever occurred to you that if the wetlands near New Orleans were allowed to erode all the way and our port system to die, then the Mississippi River would not be navigable? The sediment would build up and collect and large ships would not be allowed to navigate the river. America is amazingly ignorant when it comes to the amount of services this city provides. Oil pipelines, ports, etc.. pass through this city. New Orleans is a city well worth saving, and any other country would realize this. America's "laissez-faire' attitude towards its cities is allowing the degradation of some of the country's most important economic assets. New Orleans will survive with or without your tax payer dollars, but an investment now will save the country huge financial burdens from not having this region in the future.

        February 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
      • Stephen Daedalus

        Now we're talking, and if a case is to be made for NO that's the one to make. In fact, and don't kid yourself, the gas and oil is the reason why all of those other industires (except for movie) are there. The port-nature of NOLA is precisely what gave rise to its culture in the first place, so let me ask you:

        Would you rather spend billions upon billions when you will INEVITABELY have to completely rebuild (yes, I would argue this for SF, LA, etc), or take that opportunity to move away from the disaster area? The people make the culture, which is why the economic recovery in NOLA is so tied to the return of people there. Look at Detroit... that's the result when a city becomes defunct... without the culture and port... you just have the people. NO has a real culture to share, Detroit may not, so I'd say that part of saving your culture is moving it.

        We're always happy to put tigers in cages in the name of saving them from the inevitable, but people will stay until they end in poverty and death. Are you paying attention to the huge population that doesn't WANT to return, or would take another option if it existed? Your zeal is admirable, but it's essentially self-serving at the expense of those who are always left behind, such as NolaMom and her 8 kids.

        February 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
      • Nola29

        Your logic is not feasible. There are easy ways to help New Orleans. New Orleans can easily survive with sound levees and an asserted effort to rebuild the wetlands. The New Orleans region has 1 trillion dollars in infrastructure. And you missed my point. The ports of New Orleans (Port of New Orleans and Port of Louisiana) cannot be moved. If the river were to recede to New Orleans, then the sediment build up would halt river traffic which is a crippling proposition for America. Also, moving an entire city is not feasible. Many American cities lie on or near fault lines (LA, SF, Memphis), many are vulnerable to oceans (Charleston, New Orleans, Miami, etc..) and many lie in tornado alley. You cannot move all these cities. New Orleans has existed for almost 300 yrs now. This is the first time that the city has been crippled by a disaster. It is better to spend the money to build up the defenses of the city than abandon a trillion dollar infrastructure that cannot be replaced. I agree with you that the people are New Orleans's top asset. However, the culture of the city is a product of its history and its environs. New Orleans's history is constantly around us. We have huge Creole mansions, huge cemeteries, and many other assets that make this city truly unique. We are not the Carribean and we not America....we are New Orleans. And we all acknowledge the problems the city faces here and are aggressively fighting those problems. However, this is not a time for America to spit on us while we are down and insult our people and our culture. New Orleans has the culture and the infrastructure to make it an essential part of this country.

        February 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
      • Stephen Daedalus

        "Your logic is not feasible. There are easy ways to help New Orleans. New Orleans can easily survive with sound levees and an asserted effort to rebuild the wetlands."

        You're right, but it hasn't happened and isn't happening. It's not going to happen because the interests that bothered to rebuilt NOLA do not care about its longevity. That may be short-sighted on their part, but until I see some evidence that anyone "saving the wetlands" isnt just laughed out of congress, sad as that is, I wouldn't bet on NOLA. I don't see the point of further discussion, as we clearly can't agree on the basic realities. Now, NOLA HAS had the investment, so don't think I'm advocating that it be left... that period has passed.

        Let me ask you this however... lets say, and forbid this happening, the biggest catagory 5 hits NOLA, the levees fail, and Katrina is made to look like a pleasant memory. Now we have a choice again, rebuild, or relocate. What do you do? Feel free to apply this to any city you like, but please account for the political and economic realities. For example, NYC is built on swamps, but it's going to be rebuilt as often as it takes for many reasons, not the least of which is economic. That said, if the place were hit by a city-buster (a few megatons) nuclear weapon, that would have to be moved.

        I'm not against NOLA, and I'm not saying that places should be razed and abandoned because of what MAY or may not happen at SOME time. I'm saying that when these events occur, we need to be more careful and aware of the situation. You may have noticed that NYC is taking more time with 'ground zero' reconstruction that NO has taken for the whole STATE. I find that more than a little disturbing, and if anyone thinks that cuisine which was BORNE of portability, and culture can't move, simply haven't studied human history.

        It is a bit ironic after all... NOLA wouldn't exist except for the transient nature of humanity in the long-term.

        February 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
      • Nola29

        The investment to fix the levees is there. 16.1 billion dollars have been spent by the corps to shore up and improve levees throughout the city. The coast is a more complex issue. The oil spill shined a huge light onto that issue. The army corp is about to do a 3 billion dollar coastal restoration near New Orleans. These investments are all necessary for the long-term viability of the city. And call me optimistic, but I believe they will work. The army corp needs do more to fix the coast of the state. The coastal issue is complex. The oil companies were allowed to go into the coastal wetlands and dig canals. Salt water from the gulf entered the fresh-water bayous from through these canals and killed the swamps. Louisiana has lost land the size of Massachusetts over the past few decades. And despite the butchering of the coast, the federal government refused to let Louisiana have any oil revenue even though Texas and every other state amassed huge personal fortunes off oil.
        Louisiana could fund many of its own project if the government gave the state more oil funds (we started receiving some after katrina, but not even close to the amount Texas receives). New Orleans and the surrounding region can solve these problems. After all in 5 years, we have drastically reformed our public school system and have weeded out huge amounts of corruption in local governance.
        If a category 5 hurricane hit and destroyed New Orleans, then the economy of Louisiana would collapse. The New Orleans metro area accounts for 60% of the state's revenue. Assuming we were devastated again, then I would say America does not have a right to own the state of Louisiana and Louisiana should be given the option of leaving and being able to tax boats on the river and receive 100% of its oil revenue. What is the point of living in a Union if the Union doesn't care if you exist or not?

        February 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
      • Stephen Daedalus

        I understand your position, especially as a resident, but you must know that the USA would never let a state cecede? This is why, despite the grim outlook, I'lm pointing out that 16.1 Billion at LEAST is invested: look at what is being prososed as spending cuts from the NIH and sciences to basic programs. You don't have to like reality, but the fact is that NOLA has made its money through tourism and fossile fuels. The former is always unstable, and the latter is passing. Instead of seeing this as a death, I might consider what an amazing thing it is to have had it for any period of time.

        February 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  18. John

    You are doing a real disservice to the American People by promoting the consumption of seafood from the Gulf Of Mexico. It's toxic. I would not eat that if it were the last food on earth.

    I know the people of Louisiana count on the seafood industry, but risking the welfare of our nation's health is not worth its promotion.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  19. Bayou Girl

    @Brian61- Yes Brian people need to read our history for facts. I am in total agreement with you when you say how our country has changed. However, I disagree that people of NO have not rolled up their sleeves and rebuilt. If you research and even visit NO the progression of the city has been through citizens rolling up their sleeves and rebuilting. The assistance that FEMA provided were a mere $2k for families that lost everything. Even insurance policies were being DENIED because they claimed it didn't cover floods! Are you kidding me?! So most citizens of NO have not had any choice but to roll up their sleeves and rebuilt the city themselves. And the cost of supplies, new building standards, codes etc. has/will cost more than the woods buildings/homes which were rebuilt in Galveston. Is anyone tired of hearing about the Trade Centers tragedy?! No because the insurance companies didn't deny the city over 90% of their claims and the families received more than enough compensation for the many lives lost. We live in a world full of emotions and unweighed opinions! People wake up!!!! Viva la United States!!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  20. The Witty One

    News flash! Everyone's home city is the best in the world! (Except mine)

    NO sure does have some good food though. And I like to hear the stories of how people actually help other people.

    But seriously? I mean, c'mon...C'MON..........c'mon?

    February 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  21. PINKAcres

    Wow – all this fuss over some "good ole supper"
    I live in SW Louisiana – my home, city, friends & neighbors were devasted by a less media covered Hurricane Rita – less than a month after Hurricane Katrina ~ Cameron Parish was totally wiped out, there was not even remants of buildings left after that Cat 4 storm blew through; Calcasieu Parish suffered tremendously. The loss of life was less in our area (by God's Grace) but the damages to homes, bldgs, business, etc has been reported to be equal in dollar amounts. Sometimes it's a little disheartening when you still see your friends, neighbors and people struggling to recovery, rebuild and continue on – just as I'm sure some of the folks from Mississippi must feel as do some of the folks from Texas must feel trying to recovery from Hurricane Ike. Maybe even some of the people from Florida – you know they had a few years with back to back Hurricanes too and some people seem to get all the help, breaks and no one even remembers, no one offers a little bit of concern or care ~

    The start of Hurricane season makes me a little nauseated – just the possibility of what might happen – but you know – this is my home – this is my culture, this is my food, this is my life – If we get a little help recoverying – Thanks, if we don't – that's ok too –
    We will be just fine – more than anything we ask for your prayers and kind thoughts
    If you don't want our seafood – that's ok – we will eat it – we love it. We've been eating it for years and yes we know the risk – but this is our lives we can't live our life in fear of everything –
    Sometimes "You just do the best with what you got"
    We wish our neighbors in New Orleans the best ~ Glad they are getting a llittle hand up and ask that if they have a spare moment – they send the same wishes this way to us – Because we ARE Louisiana – North, South, East, West – Cajun, Creole, RedBone, RedNeck – whatever you choose to call us –
    We love our state & We will be just fine!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  22. JBJingles

    Good grief people, it's an article about FOOD, good food at that. Enjoy it and get off the politics, race, etc.!!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  23. Eileen

    All of you ignoramuses should read "The Great Deluge".

    Vive La Nouvelle Orleans!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  24. Bayou Girl

    @The Voice of Reason: Can you please re-read what you wrote and tell me how reasonable that is? First and foremost, in any situation you will see people do ridiculous things when they are given money, its what's most important to that individual, the WHYs we have no idea. But to base ONE incident on the whole city thinking in the same capacity as ONE or TWO or a FEW more purchasing BIG SCREEN TVs is a comment from an IDIOT not a reasonable person of thought!!!! Hell, I think I would have had to purchase a couple of bottles of BOOZE myself to help me through that mess!! FEMA's checks were all that great either! And we know your harsh comments are directed at the BLACKS-EBONICS really? And yes Bush IGNORED the people of New Orleans as well as their mayor and governor! Before you call yourself making reasonable comments or the voice of reason, please please research, get your facts together and don't just form a reasonable opinion but a concrete intelligent one as well!!! Have a great evening! Viva la New Orleans!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  25. Eileen

    Yeah, and let's not rebuild California and the west every time there is an earthquake or forest fire. Those people should know better than to keep living over the San Andreas fault and in the desert!

    And WDINDallas, I'll take an american citizen down on their luck ANYDAY over all of the illegal immigrants here in Texas. Texas tax dollars pay for them to learn SPANISH in the public schools in Texas, USA!

    FYI CNN, New Orleans is CREOLE, the rest of south Louisiana is CAJUN, north of Baton Rouge is BIBLE BELT.

    Vive La Nouvelle Orleans! Vive La Louisiane!

    February 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • The Witty One@Eileen

      Come on Eileen......

      February 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Where you see distinctions, you shoudl be aware that the rest of us simply see "Southern". You think anyone except a Cajun, Creole, or Bible Thumper gives a rat's behind what you call yourselves? It's not just NOLA people couldn't care less about kid, it's your entire state, because without NOLA you're just a swamp and a port of call.

      February 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  26. Brian61

    If you want to know how much our country has changed, compare the 1900 Hurricane that hit Galveston with the 2005 Hurricane that hit NOLA. There was NO advance warning of the 1900 Hurricane. ALL of Galveston was under at least 12 feet of water at the apex of the storm. EVERY structure on the island suffered damage ranging from significant to total. There were so many dead bodies, they could not bury them all. The bodies were weighted and thrown out to sea. But without any FEMA, without any federal aid, without any federal rules and regulations, the citizens rolled up their sleeves and rebuilt their city in a matter of weeks. Read the history books, you will be amazed. The survivors in Galveston did not need federal handouts, and they did not expect any. In the generations that followed FDR's New Deal, however, look how things have changed. Was Katrina a huge tragedy? Absolutely. But a much worse tragedy is how "progressive" policies have destroyed the can-do, self-reliant spirit of many Americans.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  27. The Voice of Reason

    Very well said my backside! Yall are all being nieve! This wouldn't fly any where else in the United States. However, since New Orleans is made up mostly low income families, corrupt political officals only our for votes with the promises of fame and fortune, your buying into it. Any where else in the US if this would have happend the city would have rebuilt in half the time and never heard about it again. We are going to hear Katrina this and Katrina that for the next 100 years. Give me a break.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  28. Bayou Girl

    @AleeD – very well said!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  29. Bayou Girl

    Wow... I am taken back by some of the insensitive comments which are posted. When people voice that they are tired of HEARING, READING, SPEAKING of Katina, it makes me KNOW that they have NEVER been through anything that has been so life changing....not just losing your home and other material possession, but a lot of people lost their family members...some saw theie family, friends, neighbors floating by unable to help because they were awoken in the mist of flood waters and they are trying to find higher grounds themselves as well as save others...like children! People were stranded for days amongst the dead humans and animals with food, shelter or water. And YEARS later, when or if you ever pass through NO, there is still devastation. Everyone has a right to there opinions, even if they are hard and/or heartless. But those comments have me thinking that those who say them, are they ENVIOUS and/or JEALOUS of the people in NO\Louisiana? Of there culture, survivial, resilience, dedication and committment? Yes the Mississippi coast was devastated and lives where lost, but they didn't wake up to flood waters and they weren't stranded amongst the dead either! Whatever makes a community, country, city get back to what can be normal, I say GREAT! Food, laughter, dance whatever! And Ryan, if I am paying taxes (government) and find myself to be unfortuately in a disaster, you d@mn right my hands will be out!! I paid my taxes for such. To all have a great day!!! Viva la New Orleans!!!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • AleeD

      Sadly it's as simple as having empathy (for the insensitive louts, that means "putting yourself in someone else's shoes") for the plight of another person or being. They say the hateful things they do because (a) they can't imagine something like that happening to them or (b) dig in emotionally and refuse to envision themselves in that (or similar) situation because they're afraid they wouldn't be able to handle it as well as the survivors being spotlighted. Sad.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  30. Linda Fontaine

    I laughed and cried at the memories this story brought back. I remember walking into a Winn-Dixie in Destrehan, La. 2 weeks after the storm to buy plain old French's Classic Mustard. There wasn't any. No mustard. No mustard of any kind. That Winn-Dixie was the only store open all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and everyone on their way back into Metairie and New Orleans stopped there to pick up bread, cold cuts, and condiments. It was a tragic time, but I'm very proud of the progress we've made. Sad to say, my husband's investing in a business in Houston took us away, but La. will always be home and I will always know what it means to miss New Orleans. God bless the people and the city of N.O.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  31. Byrd

    Sure, go ahead and eat up. Everyone knows that you can always believe the government and media when they tell you something's safe. A few spices here and a few spices there and you can hardly notice the dispersants or oil. And if your kids are born with gills and webbed feet, so much the better if you happen to live in bayou country.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  32. Dizzyd

    BTW, luv the Star Trek trivia!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  33. Dizzyd

    Jerv, Catie, and Erin-amen! Where is the empathy and civility? That lack is what is hurting our country. Never been to NOLA, but with food and ppl like that – heck, I want to MOVE there!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Barre

      Come on down, Dizzy... we love company!

      February 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  34. The Voice of Reason

    New Orleans is a fun town. However, it's also one of those towen that is fun to visit, but even better to leave. Good food, good music, piss poor hospitality at best.

    As for all the other talk, it's hard for me to support a city where living off the system is a way of life. Let me make it really realy simple for everyone in the Big Easy, if you want something in life you have to earn it. There is no such thing as a free lunch. The people do not deserve the same finer things in life that the average, middle class American enjoys just because you can breathe and speak (And I dont mean ebonics either). Taking a FEMA check and spending it on booze and a flat screen TV give me a break! Your house is falling down and mold is growing everywhere but heck, you got a nice 42" TV.

    As for the Bush comment above that he ignored the people in New Orleans, someone needs to check the history books. Your stupid mayor and govenor ignored their people, because they didnt want the state to incur the expense moron!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  35. John

    Since when was New Orleans "saved"? What about the story on here just days ago about tens of thousands of abandoned homes and businesses full of squatters? If NOLA has been saved, could you please call the "victims" who are living all over Tulsa back home? They're skewing our crime statistics.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  36. capt huffnpuff

    Lots of words, but it don't say much. It left out Naw'lens four basic food groups – shrimp, oysters, crab, and crawdads.Fresh out the bayou every morning. The best meal is a couple of pounds of each, boil them up (oysters raw), some fresh baked French bread and some beer. All the food, from po'boy to Galatoires, is based on these.(a side note on Gallatoir's – check if they take credit cards now. Back in the day, they didn't, so we had to bring a wad of cash; But Felix's around the corner is cheap and has fresh oysters raw or cooked a 1/2 dozen ways). And the Cajuns do know how to cook!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  37. Hurricane Survivor

    This is a wonderful feel good story about the difficulties of getting back on you feet after a disaster. It would seem that the people of NOLA are doomed to repeat this in the future because they can't come together to fix the problems of storm surge, but they can all come together to make some seafood dishes. Focus people!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  38. Nola Girl

    I never respond to blogs, but a friend sent me this article and I made the mistake of reading the comments. Here's the skinny:
    For Louisianians outside New Orleans: Get over your anger about the attention New Orleans receives. We only get it because it's where tourists land. I love my state – THE WHOLE STATE – but we all know the masses reach the rest of the state through New Orleans. So instead of slamming it, you should be celebrating it because the tourism dollars spent here help everyone in the state. I have worked in hospitality for my entire career, and I promise you one thing: from the bus boy, to the valet parker, to the hotel housekeeper, to the sales manager, we tell tourists to get outside of the city to taste the full flavor of Louisiana. The reason media focuses on New Orleans is because we are the flagship city for this small portion of the country. No one knows better then New Orleanians that we were not the only ones who suffered. We feel for our neighbors in Mississippi, the coastal towns of Louisiana, Lake Charles, as well as Texas. We feel for the flood sufferers in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the tornado victims in Oklahouma, the Earthquake victims in Haiti, and last but certainly not least, ALL victims of the 9/11 incident. I have never heard a neighbor or friend trash anyone else like we in New Orleans have been trashed. It makes me sad. We can talk about the devastation of many people/towns...it's all relative. We should support each other or shut up about it because no matter where you are in the world, the next disaster could be yours. And I wouldn't wish that on anyone!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Barre

      Great post, NOLA Girl !

      February 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Catie

      God Bless you Nola Girl, I do not know how you all got through it emotionally, but you are all an example to the rest of us. ( and I am not referring to the prisoners who escaped and trashed the city ) I know who you are as a people and I am proud to know you

      February 17, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  39. skegee boy

    shout out to skegee

    February 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  40. Praying for you all

    It is good to hear the encouragement that such an article promotes and recognizes. When a lot of the media seems focused on sex and violence, it's refreshing to see news that doesn't focus on the two. I'm praying for the residents of New Orleans and those that haven't returned. May we all appreciate even the simplest things like a good meal with family and friends.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  41. NomNom

    Cajun food may be the greatest thing to ever happen in this country... Just thinking of it now... Damnit... At work...

    February 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      I would have to agree.

      February 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  42. poooboy

    As a Yankee my fond memory was visiting friends and getting a shrimp po boy from Gater Corner (a corner gas station) and eaitng it on a dock on the Bayou Corn. Now that corner gas station is a dirty nasty casino like they all are. LA has so much to offer. Too bad the drive through is marred by casinos all over.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  43. N.O. Girl

    I understand that most of you are sick of hearing about Katrina, BP oil spill and New Orleans. It is just like I am sick of hearing about the snow in New York City, Oklahoma City and Chicago. The snow melted and the residents still had their homes, their hospitals, their schools, their resturants, their roads, their family and their jobs.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jerv@N.O. Girl

      Spot on!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Alphonse


      February 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  44. E. Bonita

    Can I get the recipe for that shrimp dish? It looks sooo good...I have a mild allergy but that pic has my mouth watering.
    The etoffee also looks great, although I'm not entirely sure what that is.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  45. NOLA EX-Pat

    My husband and I are New Orleans natives. We recently relocated to Houston from New Orleans six months after the oil spill, after the company he worked for laid off over 300 people. (Thanks, BP!) We fought our way back home after the storm, and I know we'll be coming back home soon, if God's willing.

    We come back to visit pretty often, and the first place we go is Central Grocery to get a muffaletta and some cold Abita beer. One bite, one sip, and I know I'm home. Of course, there's Antoine's, Galatoire's, Commander's Palace, Tujagues, Mother's, etc... but the Grocery's our traditional first stop in town. ;)

    We love you, New Orleans. <3

    February 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Alphonse

      Hurry back, ExPat... we be missing ya!

      February 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • NOLA Adopted

      Even though I had to leave, I think about Commander's Palace brunch every day. And the Abita! Thank God it finally found it's way to Nowhere, Illinois. See you all at Mardi Gras.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  46. Bob

    katrina ..I went to the hardest part that was hit by that storm and the city looks better than the average American town .

    February 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Sportzmom

      Hey Bob – what the heck are you smokin' dude? If you say you've been to the hardes hit section of the city and that it looks better than the average American town, then you are a big fat LIAR. Unlike you I have been there (it's called the Lower Ninth Ward by the way though I'm sure you wouldn't know that based on your stupid statement) and if what I see is better than the average American town, then we are all in trouble. I don't mind people having their own opinion; I'm not expecting everyone to have the same as me. But don't come on these sites and comment about something you obviously know NOTHING about and all of us who are from there and/or live there know you are an a$%...along with all the other people making negative comments about NO. UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN THERE, LIVED THERE OR ARE FROM THERE you have NO RIGHT to make a comment.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  47. mrmefco

    Great article. I've never even been to New Orleans, but after reading this I realize I have to go someday- I am a real food addict.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  48. WDinDallas

    Maybe this food will attract all of these low-life ghetto bums that have stayed in Texas after Katrina. I'll buy them all lunch if you come get them! It over doubled our welfare burden!

    February 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  49. Catie

    p.s. and guess what if I want to be healthy or unhealthy that is my choice, I am still free here in the good ole usa, as far as I know. I am willing to pay more in health insurance and I am even willing to buy two seats on an airplane if I get that big. Thankfully I am not there yet. But, it is still my choice. Remember, my body my choice

    February 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
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