April 24, 2008

Southern Hospitality- NAWLINS


REBUILD - RENEW

I went to New Orleans for the IACP conference,
which is my chance to connect with food friends
from all over the world,
attend classes
and
visit somewhere I have never been.

I think it was a hard choice to pick New Orleans
as a conference spot ( over 4 years ago)
after Katerina and the flooding
but I am so glad they did.

Never have I seen such hospitality
and warmth from a community still in so much pain.

Florence had a huge flood in 1966, which brought the city to it's knees,
but the world came and helped dig it out of the mud.

I know that there are organizations that are still
bringing help to New Orleans,
on my flight back to the states
was a group of kids that spent their break helping to build houses with
Habitat for Humanity.


While walking down the streets of the French Quarter,
seeing all the tourists with their HUGE
drinks in hand, staggering down the roads
many in pirate costumes
( was that a Johnny Depp look-alike?)
It was hard to see any damage.
lovely Spanish style buildings in the "French Quarter"

Breakfast at Cafe du Monde was incredibly crowded,
powdered sugar dusting everything.
Cheap thrills for three bites of clouds, $1.82
and the chicory coffee was really perfect, although so packed with tourists,
it felt more like Disneyland.
There are somethings that should be enjoyed where they are produced,
but I am going to whip up some beignets for my husband soon
and serve them with a cafe latte
and put on my zydeco CD I brought home.



The Fleur du Lys adorn the city at every corner
on T-shirts
Pins
Posters
Neon

It wasn't until leaving the city that I saw
people still living in tents under the freeway.

But we had some excellent speakers who conveyed
the feelings of those who live and lived there.
What it was like to leave and not know when you would or could return.

Losing everything
both rich and poor.

But still having the passion and love for your city
to go on and rebuild.


Jessica Harris spoke on the Rythmn of New Orleans
that of the kitchen, of the street
The voices, the energy.



We saw the playful spirit that still brings smiles to daily life.
I felt that the people wanted to take care of me,
as one of the family.
Sharing their tales, opening their hearts.
That was the rythmn I heard,
heartbeats of people in love.
In love with a town.
Me too!
I don't think I could deal with the crowds of Mardi Gras
But I will be back for some great food and music.

For many Mardi Gras my come only once a year,
but I got the feeling that here is a place
to play dress-up everyday!

They don't need a reason to celebrate life.
EVERYDAY is reason enough.


crawfish

Paul Prudhomme, master of hospitality!

Love our own chef pirate behind him!

For the first night I organized a dinner at Cochon

We had one of everything from the Boucherie part of the menu, fried pig ears were fabulous,
boudin balls, the charcuterie plate, Empanadas, the BEST largest soft shelled crab and more.


I couldn't resist some White Lightning to digest our meal.
It was very smooth and I enjoyed it a lot!



Doesn't this look like a happy group?
IACP is about making friends around the table for those of us that it touches
in someway or another.
Those that teach, write, cook and guide.

Food is life and what better place to celebrate that
than New Orleans.

The neon in town was really fabulous
and
Voodoo shops we quite facinating.
I did bring back a couple of pieces to protect me!
Covering all my bases!



As we flew out, Bush was flying in for a meeting.
I wonder if there were protests?
I would be screaming with rage!


I hope he saw this t-shirt!

6 comments:

  1. NO looks fabulous and it also looks like you had lots of fun! Great photos.

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  2. Awesome photos and tales--so much color and life! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  3. Gotta love it! New Orleans is great...the food and music make it what it is!

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  4. Wow, your trip there sounds wonderful and your pictures are just great. That's a place I've always wanted to visit and still hope to one day. Thanks for giving me a taste of it!

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  5. Anonymous10:30 PM

    I'll be in New Orleans (staying at the Hilton) for a convention at the end of July. Haven't been there since 1977 so this is a treat. Scot and I are heading to Italy next January/February so hope to be able to buy you a margarita (or two) again.

    ChrisV

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  6. ChrisV
    you MUST eat at Cochon, I wanted to go twice, but just couldn't.
    Also downstairs at the Hilton they do these deadly grilled Oysters.
    Warning.. only have one tray!
    two is deadly!

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