Day Twenty Three- Crawfish Boil

Day Twenty Three – Crawfish Boil

Blues Idiom – Dig – To dig something is to ‘get’ it. Linguist David Dalby traced this usage of ‘dig’ to the Wolof word deg of degu, which means ‘to understand, to call attention too, or to appreciate.

I was up at 10, a little dusty to say the least. The girls are still sleeping when I slipped out to Envy’s for a late breakfast. The line at Envy’s was to long so I scooted around to the Magnolia Grill. I ordered the seafood omelette (crawfish and shrimp), hash browns and hot sauce. Mental note made to come back as the omelette is delectable.

We have arranged to go back to Iggy’s at 3 for a lift to the crawfish boil. I am dogged tired but this is too good an opportunity to let go. A true neighbourhood bar crawfish boil. We got to the bar just after 3 and Big Dave came over to say hello. He even remembered our names. I went for a piss and walked down the length of the bar counter to the restroom. There is maybe 9 locals propt at the bar and all of them said ‘how are you doin.’ I said to Big Dave, ‘we can walk to the bar if you have a full car.’ ‘No,’ he replied ‘it much to far to walk and you would also have to walk through some areas that you may not want to.’

We left at 4 o’clock for the drive down. Kate is amazed that my  drink is poured it to a take out cup as is Big Dave so we can still enjoy a drink for the drive. Only in New Orleans do you drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding your beer. Big Dave is right about some of the areas we drove through as they did look a little rough. He pulled off the main road for a look at Fats Domino’s home.

We arrived at Mark’s bar in Saint Bernard’s Parish. The bar is called Perino’s. We had a look at the boil in progress. Kate was gobsmacked when she saw a huge sack of live crawfish which will be part of the second of three boils. Kate remarked that it is lucky that Cara is not with us. Into the mixture is also thrown potato and corn cobs. We met Mark and although he has lived in New Orleans for 20 years there is no mistaking his accent. He was rapt when we gave him a tube of vegemite. We met some of the locals are all were very welcoming. Beer in hand and it wasn’t long before a four foot by two foot metal table was covered with crawfish ready for eating. We were given our own  very large tray, piled high with crawfish and potato, corn and sausage a mountain of napkins and told to go for it. Ed came over. He is mid sixty with a long grey ponytail and he gave us lessons in ‘suckin de head and eating the tail.’ Ed, no matter how he tried, could not get Kate to give them a try. Oh so good they were, spicy and hot. At one stage I had to get Kate to clean my glasses as I was spraying crawfish juices everywhere. Oh I forgot to tell you this was a free crawfish boil. Also on offer was a huge pot of Jambalaya. The juke box was rockin’ and the beer was cold.

Wendy has been outside at the boil and has come back with a great oyster recipe as well as how to do the boil. We could do it at home and just substitute prawns. The T.V. has been showing the first Pelicans playoff game and although they got beat they did come back from a 24 point deficit to get within 5 points.

Around 6:30 Big Dave offered us a ride back to Iggy’s. His car holds five people but we had six onboard. He drives a smallish hatch back and there is a passenger (Mike) in the trunk. What a hoot the trip back was, singing and joke telling. We had a drink at Iggy’s as it would have been rude to just leave. Mike came over and chatted and gave us a few more ideas on where to grab some good food.

Kate is hungry so we called into Buffa’s (one of Mike’s suggestions)on Esplanade for a bite to eat. The back room as an acoustic guitarist and trumpet player in session. I just ordered a small bowl of red beans and rice with a side of sausage. Kate ordered the chicken breast sandwich but was surprised on how big her meal was once it came out.
We walked back (yes in the rain) to out apartment

What  a great day with locals who was again showed us that Southern hospitality.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Two – Party Time

Day Twenty Two – As Kermit Ruffins Says ‘we partying’

Blues Idiom: Coffee Grinding – is a metaphor for sexual intercourse. In ‘Coffee Grinding Blues’, Lucille Bogan sang, ‘Ain’t nobody in town can grind a coffee like mine.’

Stew and Carol are picking us up at 11 for a tour of the 9th. Ward so as Kate can get an idea of the destruction that occurred nearly 10 years ago (Hurricane Katrina.) It is going to be a big day and night as we also have plans to met up with Gentilly Jnr and Pat for some bar hopping. The rain has cleared however last night it bucketed down. I was sitting out on the porch waiting for Carol and Stew when a couple stopped and asked for directions. They were from Canberra!

We drove through the lower ninth ward where there is still many vacant and overgrown blocks where homes once stood. Stairways to nowhere still abound. Stew likes to bring visitors down so he can see first hand how the rebirth of the 9th Ward is tracking. We stopped at an area that has photographs of the flooded ninth ward. Here Kate can get a true perspective of the flooding. Where we are now standing there was 20 feet of water. Stew is very conscious of not stopping and staring as people live here, this is still their home and they are not zoo exhibits.
We had lunch at Mona’s on Frenchman. Lebanese food and Kate can eat lamb which is not a New Orleans staple food .

Next we went down West End Boulevard an area of wealth, to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain . After Katrina the wide neutral ground ( wide grassed middle section of road)of the boulevard was used to dump housing rubble. Mile after mile of rubble three stories high. The lake stretches way past the horizon. The causeway (low lying bridge) goes on for 24 miles. We are looking at the rebuilt Lighthouse. Very picturesque. We crossed the 17th Street Canal which was breached during the storm. Stew has an ariel photo showing the breached side of the canal under water to rooftops while on the other side is a guy mowing his lawn with cigar in  mouth. Stew told us that he came down here after the water had subsided and he saw a car resting on the second story verandah of one house. We then drove over to a wide grassy verge of the Mississippi know as the Fly. College students throwing frisbees and footballs and just chilling out. No tourists here. It was nice to just relax and watch the Mississippi flow by. When I say flow that is at 15 knots. Wendy gave a jump as she has stood on an ants nest and they can be nasty bites.

We had a rest at Stew and Carols lovely home and I now has some new memorabilia and a couple of signed posters to add to my own collection.

At 5:30 we called into McAllisters Deli a franchisee that specialises in spuds and toppings. I am still full from lunch but that did not stop me ordering the chilli spud – chilli, cheddar jack and jalapeno I eat the lot. A drive then down to Cafe Du Mond for a beignet. A walk down on the river walk. The Mississippi sure looks pretty as dusk. It is now getting close to 8, the time we are to meet up with Gentilly Jnr and Pat at local neighbour hood bar, Iggy’s.
Stew very kindly drove us to the Marìgny district where Iggy’s is located. I know the bar well as whenever I have been in New Orleans it is our meeting place. There is a lot of road works going on. The streets can be tricky as most are one way and what makes it even more  confusing is that we drove down the one way Bourbon St and then crossed Esplanade (end of French Quarter) to continue down Bourbon but on this side of the street the one way is the other way (if that makes sense.) Kate had to use her app to help a New Orleanien local negotiate the streets.

Gentilly Jnr and Pat were already at the bar and we said our hellos and introduced them to Stew and Carol. Carol has a big day tomorrow and has to be up early so they decided to call it a night. We settled in for a big night. The small bar is jumping and the juke box is blasting. The owner of the bar (Big Dave) is good friends with Gentilly Jnr and Pat and we get introduced to Big Dave. Big Dave has had a few and he is in mighty fine form. He has a good friend by the name of Mark Jackson who is an expat Aussie. Mark has lived in New Orleans for 20 years and has just recently become a U.S. citizen. Mark is also good mates with Gentilly Jnr. Big Dave asked ‘is Wodonga a real place?’ ‘Mark keeps telling me he grew up in Wodonga, and he said it was Aboriginal for boring place.’ I assured him that Wodonga was indeed a place but I was not so sure of the name meaning. We had a ball at Iggy’s. Big Dave has invited us to a legit crawfish boil tomorrow at Mark’s bar. He also told us that we can take advantage of the shuttle bus that leaves the bar for Jazz Fest each morning as well as using the shuttle to get back at night. How good is that.

We dropped Kate off at midnight. These youngins don’t know how to party and we went on to Johnny White’s bar in the Quarter. I remembered that the barman at this time of night was Keith. Gentilly told me that Keith had moved to Honolulu after Mardi Gras and the new barman’s name is Evil Bob. Yep that was his name and he is a very big man but oh so friendly. Wendy and Pat are drinking a shot of cinnamon whisky and Bob and I stick to the amber. What a fantastic fun night.

We decided to call it a night at 2A.M. Our friends Stew and Carol, Gentilly Jnr and Pat have been so generous and kind to us once again. Southern people just love to show off the city and make you feel so welcome. I just hope that one day we can reciprocate their kindness if they come to Melbourne.
Mr Smith before I sign off I think I have found you the perfect cocktail. It covers the 3 major food groups.

Twist & Shout:
2 oz Guinness Draught
1 oz Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum
.05 oz Dark Creme de Cacao
.05 oz chocolate syrup
.05 oz Monin Salted Caramel Syrup
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
Blend all the ingredients together and garnish with whipped cream, caramel syrup, chocolate syrup and a spoonful of extra-crispy bacon crumbles.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty One – Audobon Zoo

Day Twenty One – Audobon Zoo

Blues Idiom – Chitlin – Short for chitlings, chitlins are pieces of pig intestine. When blues musicans were on the road they were said to be on the chitlin tour. Chitlings being the only cheap food they could afford to eat.

Went out for a walk early to deliver a tube of vegemite. On my last visit I browsed a second-hand book store and finished up buying a cook book. The owner, an older guy had a lot of his life-time memorabilia on display. I was surprised to find  a dusty old empty vegemite jar amongst his stuff. The owner told me that back in the sixties in San Francisco he had a brief affair with a travelling Aussie girl, she had turned him onto vegemite and said he loved it. He kept the vegemite jar to remind him of the girl and his love for the snack. I promised if I came back then I would bring him a tube. He was blown away when I handed the vegemite to him, ‘I am gunna make some toast and use it straight away.’

There was a three alarm fire overnight not far from us. An oyster restaurant caught fire. Hmm, charred oysters anyone. I have read about fires in town before, being described as two alarm fires or four alarm fires etc. Mickey tells me that the number of the alarm represents the number of fire trucks called out.

Just after 12 we are on Magazine Street waiting for  the number 11 bus to take us to Audobon Zoo, a ride to the end of the bus route. Kate checked her Metro app and said the bus was due in 3 minutes. I scoffed, remembering that Brian Wise told me 5 years ago that there is no such thing as a bus timetable in New Orleans. Imagine my surprise when the bus turned up right on time. I have a sneaky feeling that it was the previous due bus running 30 minutes late.

No line to get in and not a lot of people around when we do get through the gates. Heavy rain is predicted and people are a bit hesitant to go out I guess. Suites us as we have the run of the Zoo. The zoo itself is part of an old sugar plantation. Beautiful old oaks some as much as 4 to 500 hundred years old. We maybe only saw 50 or so people all day. The down side is that nearly all the food and drinks stalls are closed as well.  We were lucky to arrive at the alligator swamp enclosure just as the feeding was about to begin. Also saw a couple of large white alligators. They are lucky to be in the zoo as they would never have survived in the wild without their natural camouflage
The rain held off all day and the temperature sans the normal humidity is most acceptable.

We caught the bus back and called into the House of Blues for an early tea. I went with the waiters recommendation, buttermilk fried chicken, garlic mash and coleslaw. It was real good.

We are going to have an early night as tomorrow is going to be a biggin.

Also sorry for the lack of recent photos. I am having problems with my tablet

Rob Rowe