New Orleans Report

08/07/2007 Temperature 95f  Humidity 77%

When duty calls, one must answer.  It was a business trip that took me back to the Crescent City for a brief visit.

The French Quarter is alive and well.  Cleaner, perhaps, than ever before, Vieux Carre appears prosperous even in the searing heat of August.  Valet parking at Harrah's Casino was full at 3:00 pm on Tuesday afternoon.  The Acme Oyster House advised a ten minute wait to sit at the bar.  Tujague's bar had no room to belly up for the cocktail hour.

Felix's Oyster Bar was running at a slow pace.  I was fortunate to be served by TV Star, Aaron Jud, (a.k.a. Julio, around the Quarter).

Julio was the Oyster Shucking Champion at the 2005 Acme World Oyster Challenge, held just before Katrina.  The event was televised on Fox nationwide.

And, by the way, the oysters were fine!

A familiar face appeared working the front of the Alpine Cafe, a favorite brunch/lunch room just off Jackson Square.  I recalled the fellow (name unknown) from my previous visits, but not at the present address.  I asked him if he had worked at the popular breakfast stop, The Coffee Pot, and confirmed that he had indeed worked there for several years.

I mentioned the awesome mural that adorns the back wall of the restaurant, and he told me that it was he who had painted that mural some twenty-seven years ago.  

By coincidence, this picture is one that I use for the desktop background of my home computer.

Not seen:  The ubiquitous Grandpa Elliott, a street singer of enormous talent, normally gracing a convenient  doorway some where along Royal Street in the early evening.  Perhaps it was just the heat that kept Grandpa home.  The picture below was taken in 2006.

Missing:  Troy, the waiter at Le Richelieu who gave us a lift to Metairie during the Katrina evacuation was not to be found. Seeking to shake his hand and thank him again for his yeoman service, I inquired about him at the hotel and was told that he now resides with his family in Plano, Texas.

Bar Hopping: The Carousel Bar at the Monteleone was doing a land office business, and Marvin's martini's remain marvelous. Napoleon House similarly was busy, and the Pimm's Cup was most refreshing in the mid afternoon. Big Al Carson was belting out the blues at the Funky Pirate.  The Kerry Irish Pub was sparsley populated, but the music was, as always, outstanding (as was the Smithwick!).

Perhaps a cooler month would be a better choice for my next visit -  Mardi Gras is February 5th...

Click here for the Club Ned Preferred List of New Orleans Establishments.