The First Days of the Southern Adventure
As if that weren't enough, we flew through and mercifully landed in NOLA during a horrible storm, one which flooded parts of the city and tested the Katrina failed pumps. Thankfully, the pumps worked. The citizens were so tickled with these pumps that they were included on our tour of the city the next day.
Our first bites of food in NOLA were at Acme Oyster Co. on Iberville. YUM. Even though we had dinner reservations later that night, we had to eat some oysters, red beans and rice, more oysters and some gumbo. We did wait 2 plus hours to eat our meal...and then we PIGGED OUT!!!
We ate at the fabulous restaurant Cochon.
We had 15 different dishes ranging from the seemingly tame fried chicken livers on toast drizzled with red pepper jelly to fried boudin balls with house made pickled peppers and the very wild pickled pork tongue and crispy fried pigs ear. Honestly, once you get past the cringe factor, it IS good! Among other dishes we had the outrageous plate of smoked ham hocks with grits and roasted peppers. Who knew that ham hocks could have a little sweetness like these??? Whatever you do...GO!!!
Our first full day there we actually went on a tour with Shelby and Gayle. They took us on a driving tour through the quarter, showed us the famous corn fence, built for a homesick gal from Kansas by her husband, and we even went to the famous grave of Marie Leveau, the voodoo queen. I felt a little strange going there. Okay...I am VERY superstitious!
We also went on a tour around the ninth ward to see the vast destruction. What really saddened me was the total annihilation of the houses/neighborhoods, street after street. Some folks have rebuilt, but only to have the Army Corps of Engineers try to "seize" the property. Believe me, the "Storm", as they refer to Katrina, is a very emotional subject. It was very strange to be in New Orleans, looking at the remnants of the storm, only to be watching another disaster taking place in San Diego and other sites in southern California. I heard bitterness in folks voices as they were talking about the speed with which the dislocated citizenry of the fires were helped by the government. It was not a happy comparison for them.
We did ask almost everyone we spoke to how they were feeling about life after the storm. Clearly the folks we were asking were the "survivors", the ones that had made the decision to live in New Orleans and environs. Everyone had a story that they wanted to share. They also wanted to be sure we knew they, and the city of New Orleans, we happy to have tourists and tourist dollars infusing the economy. Really, we were welcomed with the warm and sweet arms of New Orleans. Think beignets and pralines.