Mostly because you never know when you’ll see a nude bike ride parade.
It’s a special place for a lot of reasons. Living here is the closest thing to expatriating you can get and not leave the US. Everyone who lives here is just a little bit quirky. The culture of the place is thick as hell and it’s everywhere. And it’s mad easy to fall in love with the city. I overheard one conversation between a couple of 20 somethings where the one asked the other, “So, are you going to stay here?” and the other guy said, “Hell yeah! I’m hooked! I’m never leaving!” That’s what it does. It’s wonderful and sad and beautiful and exciting and slow and amazing, all at the same time and you can’t help but be drawn to it.
And one of the best things about New Orleans are the festivals.
Yesterday, we went to the Cajun-Zydeco and Creole Tomato festivals in the French Quarter.
I happen to love love love Zydeco music. I have no idea why. It all starts to sound the same after awhile, but I still love it. The tomato festival was mostly just a bunch of food vendors selling interesting things made with creole tomatoes. If you’ve never had a creole tomato, you’re missing out. They are particularly flavorful, which is hard to find here in the states. For some reason, American tomatoes have no flavor, which is probably why nobody really thinks they’re a fruit.
We sampled a few things, but really, the most important snack was the crawfish.
Mudbugs, whatever you call them (just don’t pronounce it CRAY-FISH), they are deeeelicious. And messy. You have to break off the tail and then peel it. Not a lot of meat but worth the effort. Some folks suck the juice out of the head before discarding it. I don’t do that. And as long as you can get over the fact there’s very little about them that DOESN’T remind you of cockroaches, you’ll really enjoy them.
Later, we went to a restaurant called Jaques Imo’s (pronounced JOCKIMOS) in Uptown near the riverbend. A little on the pricey side, and they don’t take reservations, but you can’t ask for a better New Orleans place to eat. I had the Cajun bouillabaisse and Huppy had the soft-shelled crab. It was a mound of food that I could barely eat. Also, their lagniappe was good; cornbread muffins with some sort of garlicky parsley butter and then an awesome spinach salad with a fried oyster on top. They have a few options for vegetarians, but not a whole lot, but such is life in NOLA. You can avoid meat and seafood, but really, why would you want to?
Later, we went to Frenchman street to hear some music. I sadly wasn’t up to it. We had gone out the previous night until nearly 2am and two nights in a row of that insanity is too much for me. That and I was horrendously overfed. OK, maybe it was the overfed part that really made me want to go home and lay belly up.
If I actually lived here, I’d be scared of the how much I’d end up weighing and how overused my liver would be.