A must-see location to visit in New Orleans is the Backstreet Cultural Museum at 1116 Saint Claude in Treme. It is ground zero of the true Mardi Gras. Like a lot of folks from the north I’ve always had a very ignorant view of Mardi Gras as just a drunken party and thus have never wanted to attend. Now that I’m learning more of what it means outside of the overblown activities in the Quarter I can’t wait to go.
Here is a picture of two famous gentlemen of sport enjoying a sazerac in a Waldorf-Astoria establishment in New Orleans. Later, they will be visiting the Anderson Annex in Storyville, doubtless to contract a case of the gleet.
While wondering through the French Quarter, and trying to survive the bkistering heat (when your belt is damp that’s normally a bad sign) I stepped into La Mina Sterling at 840 Royal. After chatting with the owner, Pancho, I was amazed to discover that he’s a native Vermonter, and grew up in Barre, where we lived when we first moved up from Atlanta. While we agreed on the pathetic nature of Yankee cooking and our mystification at the house prices in Chittenden County, he also proposed that VT and NOLA actually have a lot in common: desire to left alone that is also tied to an acceptance of whatever anybody else wants to do, and a general quirkiness.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more consistent critic of capitalism than me, but the one place where I will give Adam Smith some grudging respect in regards to the notion that competition brings out the best for the greater good is the food of New Orleans. You have to be a damn good restaurant or you get run out of town so quickly. There are so many fantastic restaurants. This makes it such a pleasure to come from someplace like Vermont, and also so hard to go back. The food is so generally dreadful in Vermont (with the rare exception of places like the Four Corners Deli). The very fact that people flock to such utterly crappy restaurants such as Flatbread Pizza s morningspeaks volumes about the culinary wasteland that is Vermont. I ate at another great restaurant here at NOLA this morning: Mother’s Restaurant, which is located at 401 Poydras. Oh my good god. There was a long line outside, which eventually allowed you to get into the line on the inside. Luckily Andy was closer and saved a place for us in line. I had the black ham bisquit and a creole shrimp omelette, complete with a side order of the best grits I’ve ever had. In the rush to order I forgot to order the collard greens and get debris in the grits; debris is just the extra stuff left over off the grill which can be put in grits or omelettes or po boys. Oh, and Andy had the Famous Ferdi po boy, which may be the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my entire life. We’ll be headed back in the morning. And, yes, that drink duspenser is split between orange juice and bloody mary. I love this town.
The excellent Andy Burkhardt arrived last night, and Steve and I, after passing through multiple interviews with the Burkhardt entourage, were finally ushered into his palatial suite at the Intercontinental. Here is a picture of him on his balcony (and I wish I were kidding). Librarians obviously know how to live. The general level of debauchery in New Orleans is at an all-time high because of the librarian conference, and there’s some talk of sending in the national guard.
So I just opened the drawer on the bedside stand. Yep, we’re in New Orleans: paper, pens, ear plugs, mini-flashlight, condoms – check.
Yours truly with the pet snake, Sam, of the voodoo priest, Dr John, of the voodoo museum.