There is a House in New Orleans


The Rising Sun

Hit traffic on the way to Memphis, so we had to skip Graceland entirely and head straight for NOLA. Stopped in Selmer on the way and ate at a McDonalds, of all places (those who know me know that I generally refuse to eat at fast food places, for the most part). The cashier there was the most gorgeous, bright-eyed, blond woman I have ever seen working at a McDonalds. Surely, something went awry with the universe in Selmer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos, so you’ll have to take my word for it. The woman was stunning, and that’s not just because I adore blondes.

Along the way, I had the bright idea to stick my head out the window to shoot some photos and videos:

So, here I am, sticking over $4100’s worth of high end photography gear (not to mention my torso, complete with at least 5 major organs) out the window of a 75-mile-per-hour Civic with tires that needed replacing 5000 miles ago, when a gust of wind catches my $450 Prada glasses and BLOWS THEM OFF OF MY FACE.

Many expletives were shouted. I’ll spare you the specifics.

I walkie-talkie my friends in the other car to pull over and stop. We screech to a halt and are running AGAINST TRAFFIC on I-10 somewhere in Mississippi or Alabama.

Then a truck comes. 18-wheeler. Tractor trailer. Whatever.

The point is that it RAN OVER MY GLASSES.

Many expletives were shouted. I’ll spare you the specifics.

Then, a few more cars. More expletives.

I was beginning to feel sick. I’m blind without glasses, and I stupidly decided to leave my contact lenses at home because I didn’t want to pack additional crap.

Disaster. I was freaking out. If I couldn’t see, I wouldn’t be able to drive. I wouldn’t be able to photograph anything very well. And I’d definitely be hosed for the wedding I needed to photograph on Saturday. My entire trip would be ruined! Oh, cruel, cruel universe. Oh, stupid, stupid Conway.

The glasses were fine. Top of the frames were scratched a little bit, but the lenses were pristine. A little buffing, and they’d be like new.

Now, I’m not usually one to endorse any particular brand, especially when it cost me $450 just to get a pair of frames that I was somewhat happy with, but if you wear glasses, BUY PRADA. THEY ARE INDESTRUCTIBLE AND TRUCK-PROOF.

And here’s the image we got from that little fiasco/adventure. Not bad, if I do say so myself. I should try to market my skills to Nissan:


More good news and happily ever afters: we got to New Orleans in time for dinner. A late dinner, but dinner nonetheless.

We ate at Lüke, one of my favorite John Besh restaurants in the area.

I needed a drink, after bravely dodging TRUCKS and SPEEDING CARS to save my glasses (kidding. Dan’s the real hero in this story) so I ordered something with Herbsaint in it — the Absinthe Suisse.


We started with the seafood gumbo á la Creole, which is one of the best gumbo’s in town (based on a pretty varied taste-test while I worked in New Orleans. I’d rank it in the top 5 out of the 50 different gumbos I’ve had in town).


I also ordered the charcuterie plate, because I love charcuterie. The assiette de charcuterie is served with (clockwise from top-left) pickled watermelon rind, house-made bread and butter pickles, a fennel marmalade (sometimes the marmalade is made with red peppers, sometimes it is made with fennel), stone-ground mustard, a rillette of Berkshire pork, a Badischer presskopf (hog’s head cheese), a pâté of Louisiana rabbit and duck livers that has been perfumed with truffles, pâté de campagne of local veal and pork with gelée, and country bread (see below):



We also ordered a croque monsieur (grilled ham and Emmenthaler cheese sandwich):


some tasty frites:


the ridiculously good poulet grand mere (herb roasted local chicken, jus naturel, Allen Benton’s bacon and whipped potatoes. REALLY good, and I usually NEVER order chicken at a restaurant):


The Tuesday special (whole roasted “cochon de lait” with cherry mustard and stewed greens):


and I had the boudin noir (blood sausage, with sautéed potatoes, onions, and apples):


And we finished with Brendan’s bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and hot buttered pecan sauce:


And the crème brûlée du jour with seasonal fruit:


Dinner was on me of course. I couldn’t rightly put my friends through such a ridiculous situation (i.e. dodging trucks) without wanting and needing to pay them back for it. Jon, of course, still insisted that he pay for his own meal. He’s a good guy.

After all that, we took a walk up Bourbon Street, stopped by the Old Absinthe House, and had some drinks:

Absinthe before adding water:

Absinthe after the flaming sugar cube and addition of water:

and I had a sazerac:


Life is pretty good down in New Orleans, especially when you’re hanging out at 1 AM by the mighty Mississippi.



~ by headedoutwestlikemanifestdest on September 15, 2010.

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