During my entire stay in New Orleans I was greeted with excellent weather. It was not too hot,a bit breezy and not a cloud in the sky; thankfully no hurricanes! Except for the ones they serve on Bourbon Street. I arrived on a Saturday morning and Bourbon Street was busy from the afternoon till before dawn. It felt like one big drunken party because people are allowed to walk around on the street holding alcoholic beverages; it was crazy. It is a street littered with Bars, souvenir stores, live music, cabarets, and voodoo shops. All of these housed in unique southern houses/mansions characteristic of the French Quarter.
After spending a few days in NOLA (New Orleans, LouisianA) I found it to be a very spiritual place with good and bad spirits. It is a city that has been plagued with many tragedies such as fires, floods, diseases, slavery, etc..; this has brought many many deaths and many ghost stories. I think the reality of this spiritual realm has caused the people of New Orleans to be a people of faith; whether it is in God, voodoo, or The Saints (the NFL team). I went to church across the street from my Hostel and was the only white person in it. It was a different church experience that I was not used to. We read from the King James Version and it was an enthusiastic service. Good people there, I was glad to join them and be welcomed by them.
My main reason for visiting NOLA was of course, the food. Having worked at Dadeo in Edmonton, a Cajun restaurant I just had to try out some authentic Cajun food. I was most interested in comparing Po’ Boys. For those that don’t know what a Po Boy is, it is a sandwich that uses a section of French bread filled with a variety of different things. Some examples would be shrimp, sausage, chicken, pulled pork, roast beef, catfish, oyster, or hamburger to name a few. Po Boy is abbreviated from ‘Poor Boy’. In response to a Electric Street Car Union strike in 1929 some local bussiness would offer free meals to Union members who they felt were not getting paid enough and would say ‘Here comes another poor boy!’ when a Union member came for food. The name stuck and they became marketed as a Po Boy instead of a loaf as it had originally been called. If you can enlarge the photo below read all about it in detail.
While in NOLA I had the opportunity to try Po Boys at 2 different restaurants so my comparison is not complete at all. In the French Quarter I could stand almost anywhere, throw a rock, and have it hit a place that served Po Boys. The first one I had was on the advice of a tourism information center. They gave me a coupon for a place just off Bourbon Street. I had an Alligator Sausage Po Boy at a restaurant called Oceana and found it quite plain and not very satisfying; serves me right for trusting someone who gives me coupon, a good meal is worth paying for. For my next Po Boy I searched the internet for the best Po Boy in New Orleans and was led away from the French Quarter completely to a restaurant called Parkway Bakery & Tavern. I must agree with the internet on this one. I had a fried shrimp Po Boy and it was delicious. I knew that it would be good because they had sweet potato fries there as well and I made the mistake of using ketchup on them and another customer looked at me funny! (I promptly found the mayonnaise after this). Dadeo still has the best sweet potato fries in my opinion.
NOLA is also home to other fine Cajun and Creole dishes such as gumbos, jambalayas, banana fosters, calas, chicory coffee, pralines, and a host of other dishes I don’t know about.
As of this writing I am on the bus to San Francisco on the final leg after LA. It has been a very long and exciting bus trip and I am glad that it is nearly over. Too many screaming babies,rowdy people at the back of the bus, rowdy people at the front of the bus and border patrols (with drug sniffing dogs)!