No one knows a city better than the locals, so with the Big Game Sunday and Mardis Gras upon us I thought I'd tap my sources.
A. Jordan, a photographer who goes by the name of New Orleans Lady, is effusive about the need to venture outside the French Quarter box. She tells all y'all not to miss Chickie Wah Wah at 2828 Canal Street. It's a blend of local music and "awesome local food," she raves.
Also, "Stop by the Sammich (2828 Canal St.) for a delish' snack. Ask for Dave. Some yummy examples are: crispy roasted brussels sprouts with garlic aioli, abita turbodog, barbequed shrimp with blackened avocado mayo and blackened oyster with crystal hot sauce beurre blanc."
Jordan also recommends:
- Dong Phuong,14207 Chef Menteur Hwy; recommendations are "the Cha' Chay or a Ga' Roti and take some Banh Mi Que' with you," Jordan shares.
- Drive by Fort Pike, 27100 Chef Menteur Highway. "It is currently closed due to damage by Hurricane Isaac, but you can still see it from the road," Jordan says.
- Take a drive out into coastal Louisiana to learn more about the plight of the Bayou State, and how it is linked to the entire US.
- Stop by Cecil Lapeyrouse's Grocery and while there, "grab a bottled coke, some snacks and sit on the back porch to view Louisiana's coastal issues in person." Location: Cocodire, Louisiana; Bayou Sale Road and La. 56. "The store has been run for over three generations and is close to 100 years old," Jordan says.
- See the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium's (LUMCON) Louisiana Marine Center (directions on link). Formed in 1979 to promote the state's activities in marine research and education, LUMCON "provides coastal laboratory facilities to Louisiana universities, and conducts in-house research and educational programs in the marine sciences," according to its web site.
- Kenny Hill Sculpture Garden, at 5337 Bayouside Drive in Chauvin, La. has over 100 concrete sculptures on its bayouside property. Jordan waxes that it's "a tale of hope and redemption as well as pain--a folk art masterpiece." For more info please click here.
- La Butte, Cocodrie, La., LA Highway 56. "See the mounds from the native people of Louisiana as you pass the Elpege Picou Cemetery* on the Touh-La-Bayne Indian mound. The sacred mound dates back to AD 100. The mound was once part of a larger complex of up to five mounds."
- Tour the coastal wetlands with Munson Swamp Tours at 979 Bull Run Road in Schriever, La. She says, "They have been in business since 1981 and use Coast Guard approved vessels. They are the only swamp tour in South Louisiana that operates on totally private property; there will be no other people or boats in this area to disturb the wildlife or your tour. You will be in a wildlife environment that has not changed in hundreds of years, nature at it's most primitive level."
Other Gulf residents are equally enthusiastic about sharing their tips. Dolphin "queen" Lori DeAngelis, for example, runs a dolphin cruise boat out of Orange Beach, Ala. She and her husband visit the Big Easy frequently, and she says: "We always stay at the Olivier House on Toulouse, half a block off Bourbon. The staff is great; prices are right; and is has an old Nawlins feel!"
Fellow Examiner scribe Arlene Culpepper writes about crime in the Big Easy but enjoys the more cultural offerings here. (Though I can still remember her warning me to be careful traveling alone: and ladies, not to ruin the fun, but please don't go out late alone. Watch your pocketbook and remember that a Hurricane will get you very drunk!)
Culpepper says no one should miss "the Red Hot NOLA Show Saturday night at One Eyed Jack's or else they won't get the full New Orleans experience." She also urges everyone to ride a street car, as do I.
My recommendation is to ride from Canal into the Garden District and enjoy a delicious lunch at Voo Doo BBQ. Oh my goodness, where does one start? With the Mambo Gumbo or the Mojo burger (dipped in their special sauce). Yummmmm...OK, where was I...
Laissez les bons Superbowl, y'all!
* - link to A. Jordan's Flickr set of the cemetery