Actors Sandra Bullock and John Goodman … what could they possibly have in common? If they’d looked out their windows this morning, they would’ve seen me jogging by their Garden District homes. This is Sandra’s very attractive roof, behind Sandra’s very tall hedge.
The way-cool apartment we’re staying in during our visit is one block off St. Charles Avenue, and just across the street from the lovely Garden District, one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the city. “Across the street” is important in NOLA, because which side of the street you live on can make all the difference.
Our small apartment is in a classic, double gallery townhouse with 15 ft. ceilings, walk-out windows and massive sliding doors between the parlor and bedroom. The streetcar is a few steps away, and the location is perfect.
As I’ve mentioned before, we started our careers and lived for two exciting years in New Orleans before our gallivanting began. Terri had a challenging but rewarding job teaching high school kids with learning disabilities, and I was a geophysicist for the US Geological Survey. We were incredibly happy and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place to start a life together. We’ve always had a soft spot in our hearts for New Orleans, and it’s been absolutely wonderful being back for a visit.
Of course, New Orleans is known for its wonderful music and fabulous food, and as part of our planning, we researched the best new restaurants to try. But honestly, so far we are still indulging in our favorite local comfort foods – po-boy sandwiches, red beans and rice, muffalettas, coffee with chicory, pastrami and cheese, cafe au lait and beignets, and of course, pralines. There’s a small, popular bistro close to the apartment that has a delicious looking prix fixe menu for lunch, but at lunchtime we’re always too close to an old fave, and we cave in. However, no regrets. There’s a reason it’s called “comfort food”.
I’ll close this low-brow food discussion with an attempt to redeem myself. If you’ve ever been to the French Quarter, you’ve seen a Lucky Dog Cart.
Late at night, after a few too many, nothing dilutes alcohol like a dressed dog. And John Kennedy Toole agrees. In his Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces, the main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, was a vendor on a “Paradise Hot Dog” cart in the French Quarter. Ignatius’ constant battle was eating the profits. And that’s the way it goes in New Orleans.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!