Before Christmas in New Orleans

America is never without its glories and its disgraces. New Orleans is a place where those two realities balance in a way that makes the negative seem like a just price to pay for the good..but it is still difficult to feel good about what creeps along the periphery. One thing that is beautiful in NOLA is the food. We were able to eat jambalaya at K-Paul’s, BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B’s Bistro, Po’Boys at Johnny’s, beignets at Cafe du Monde, Gumbo Ya-Ya at B’s, Slammer Breakfast at Slim Goodies and some oysters at Crescent Brewhouse; each dish was mouth-watering and to die for. Prices were quite good compared to the rest of the world, and I was always looking forward to the next meal.

The city is slowly coming back to its senses, but with that is also the danger of Disneyfication that is so prevalent in the big-box world of American suburbia. So far the city is holding its own by the sheer lack of interest from corporate American in the deep south; it is also losing ground on murders and poverty.

While there were unlimited chances to hear some great music in the city, we let a lot of those chances slip by in favour of rest. Our best musical experience was sitting in on a set by Big Willie and the All-Purpose Blues Band. These guys were killing; the guitar player just squeezed sweaty blues from his PRS Guitar till it hurt. Big Willie was a consummate showman in the traditional blues style with lots of jokes and exaggerated motions. Our favourite song of the set was their “You Can Kiss My Ass (Cuz I Ain’t Gonna Take Yer Shit No More)”; you won’t get that in a hotel jazz bar.

Christmas Eve has been nice. Time with V. and the two dogs has been a reprieve from the crazy world outside, and we all enjoyed a very special crispy duck that I cooked on a low heat for three hours. It has to have been the best duck I have ever eaten, which is saying a lot. Some low heat, Chinese 5 spice powder, sea salt and we were off to the races for the mashed potatoes, shitake mushrooms and green peppercorn sauce.

To end I had to post this hilarious bird that walked right up to the airboat in the Bayou. This indignant little guy hopped over looking for marshmallows and freaked when he was not given any by our guide. He made me laugh.

Christmas promises to be full of comforts tomorrow. The trip to New Orleans helped tie things together for a nice transition from school to rest, and now I can just enjoy the tree, the presents and time with the family. May a Merry Christmas find you, as well.



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