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.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Cookbook author, restaurateur, James Beard winner and darn good chef John Besh is owner of six New Orleans restaurants - August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector and Domenica.
When he's not cooking up the foodways of his native southern Louisiana, you might just find him chanting "Who dat?" for his beloved New Orleans Saints. With the NFL season officially kicking off tonight as the Saints defend their Super Bowl title against the Minnesota Vikings, it only seemed fitting that Chef Besh offer up his pre-game eating route to the Superdome.
5 Things to Eat Before Going to Watch the New Orleans Saints Kick Butt: John Besh