My first morning in New Orleans I rolled into ACME company for a oyster po boy for breakfast. Oysters for breakfast sound a little odd? They are surprisingly good fried with toast, and family tradition for the morning of Christmas eve. I figured the po boy was a pretty good substitute.
Though ACME suffers from attention thieving (huge) TVs, I still managed to carry on a conversation at the bar. There seems to be a lot of people wanting to unleash vigilante justice on the arsons in California. The first thing people say when they find out I’m from San Diego is explain what they think should be done to the arsons, usually involving a can of gas.
I spent my first day visiting my haunts from before the hurricane. Found my favorite cafÃ©, served by a steam punk looking fellow with one sideburn. I sat in the sun and eavesdropped on the random conversations. “Do you want a certain praline? Some people like to pick. Like lobster.” The eccentricity I love still seems to be here.
Thick whiskers of staples and paper turned to plaster coat the utility poles of well used neighborhoods, and the sidewalks are well used. Other parts seemed to be in good condition, but lifeless. Some streets seemed to almost entirely be for sale or rent as condos, and completely shuttered.
A particularly harsh lapsang tea slowly grows on me as hobos discuss the regionalism of carbonated beverage names (pop, soda, and coke). Two others sit down with a roast chicken and start tearing into it. “Now that’s a pretty bird”. They offer to share the chicken with strangers, and a couple take them up on it. Pidgins pick at the bones of their discarded distant cousin as I enjoy the street musicians.
New Orleans seems to live for contradictions. One of the most local bars I’ve been to is a across the street from Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville. Sazerac, Ã©touffÃ©e, and raw oysters share menus with margaritas, hot wings, and assorted suburban refugee entrees. Just when you think the town has been Disney-fied, something unique and authentic pushes that thought from your mind. I hope the Crescent City continues to rebuild, while keeping a hold on its roots.