More than enough has been written about post Katrina New Orleans. People in Uzbekistan are familiar with the Ninth Ward and Tremé is a household word to Tasmanians. The city remains below sea level and will be subject to devastating floods forever. The levees and pumping stations will eventually be overwhelmed by Mother Nature and the next category 5 storm to come in on the wrong side of the lake. The Vieux Carré has been destroyed by fires and storms for nearly three hundred years and it has managed to survive.
I am a lot more interested in the recovery of New Orleans’s soul than I am the buildings. I am pleased to report that the diversity of New Orleans’s culture is happily intact. The French Quarter may be toned down a little from its pre-storm revelry and there is no doubt that the dress code of the average tourist has reached the absolute nadir of conceivability. The crowds on Bourbon Street are quieter and better behaved than in times past. There are a lot of nice folks from Nebraska and Iowa in spite of their preference for spandex.
St. Charles Avenue retains its atmosphere of genteel elegance and remains one of the most interesting residential areas in America. Magazine Street and its one story shotgun houses sit atop a ridge that is actually several feet above sea level and survived Katrina virtually unharmed. These neighborhoods are thriving. Many of the black neighborhoods between Carrolton Avenue and the Mississippi River pulse with music and bonhomie. The soul of New Orleans is alive and well from the Industrial Canal to the Huey Long Bridge.
A quick report on the food front confirms that Commander’s Palace and Galatoires remain the top restaurants in the city. Both were outstanding, and along with Paul Prudhommes K-Paul’s, gave my taste buds a merry workout. I topped off my visit with a roast beef po-boy from the Parkway on the way out of town and thanked the culinary Gods for preserving these venerable establishments from storm and corporate America.
Categories: As I Like It!