James and I got back to Austin this morning after three awesome days in New Orleans. Our primary endeavor was eating and on that front we covered:
Turtle Soup at Commander's Palace
Red beans & Rice
fried oyster po boy
baked ham/roast beef/debris po boy at Mother's
Bread pudding at Commander's Palace
lacquered quail at Commander's Palace
Giant bag of boiled crawfish
plenty of local beer
Of course we already want to go back and eat more. And do more. I've done a lot of traveling and New Orleans is truly like nowhere else I've ever been. I don't think I've ever been anywhere else in the United States that has a stronger sense of place, which makes sense since the city is older than the country.
My curiosity is piqued and I've added several Louisiana books to my reading list (because I don't know all that much about the state). I picked up All the King's Men in high school, but I think I was too young for it (16-year-old Leslie: "Why would I ever care about southern politics???"). I'd like to revisit that. And while I'm sure it will be grim, I added Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, about the triage that went on at the hospital after Hurricane Katrina, to my library hold list. Even though it was almost 9 years ago, it was clear even in our short visit how much the storm still defines the city. On that note, I also plan to read Salvage the Bones (2011 National Book Award Winners) by Jesmyn Ward.