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Memories of New Orleans.

New Orleans, or NOLA or ‘The Big Easy’ is the home of Jazz.

After leaving New York, I had unmemorable visits to Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. I had planned on visiting the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, it being the 50th anniversary of mankind’s visit to the moon and me being a sci-fi buff. But I was sidetracked by a few Naija owambes. Truth be told, it was nice to eat some Naija food after weeks of oyinbo food. But picture-wise none of those three cities were particularly interesting for me.

So, you can understand why I was looking forward to going to NOLA – New Orleans, Louisiana.

Don’t you just like that name – ‘NOLA’ ? Sounds like a nice, warm babe, doesn’t it?

And that’s exactly what New Orleans is. Nice and warm.

And the food!

Understand this fact; calories do not count in heaven!

Nope. St Pete isn’t going to say to me at the Pearly Gates: “Hey Jide, look at the size of you! You ought to have slowed down on those burgers and fries. Now your butt is too big to get into heaven.”

Nope. St Petey isn’t going to say that. Righteousness and holiness is what gets me into heaven, not the size of my milk shake!

Burp.

Now, let me tell you about a food incidence that annoyed me greatly.

See, everybody told me – especially white folks – that when I go to New Orleans, I must eat beignets at Café Du Monde. That it is a must for a first time visitor to NOLA.

“Make sure you eat beignets at Café Du Monde.”

“Only at Café Du Monde!”

“Goodness me! Beignets at Café Du Monde are just divine!”  

“In addition to eating gumbo and jambalaya, make sure you eat beignets.”

Beignets, beignets, beignets.

So, I thought to myself that this beignets must be quite a thing. I therefore went looking for the famed Café Du Monde.

I found it. Just opposite Jackson Square. It was full of tourists. I eagerly waited to be seated. I ordered beignets with some orange juice. I waited with bated breathe.

And when the beignets were brought, they turned out to be…

Puff-puff!

Three pieces of puff-puff covered with powdered sugar.

Three puff-puffs for $6

I swear, I am going to beat somebody in this America and they will arrest all of us!

In Lagos, ten puff-puffs is N100!

Small time, they will say it is Nigerians that are doing fraud.

Shior.

Beignets, which in French apparently means ‘doughnuts.’
Cafe Du Monde

But the beignets affair aside, the food in New Orleans are marvelous; gumbo, jambalaya, po-boy, alligator meat, fried catfish, crabs, crawfish…don’t ever come to New Orleans if you are on a diet!

The ever popular and iconic New Orleans gumbo. Some broth with different sea creatures in which you pour some rice. Never the other way.
Fried alligator, gumbo and some cheese soup. If I’m fat, I’m fat!
Starter: Crabmeat Cheesecake. 
Entree: (MasterChef New Orleans! ) “Catfish Pecan” – pecan-dusted local catfish, popcorn rice, spiced pecans, creole meuniere, farm vegetables (Anything to obtain you sha).
Desserts: “Banana Foster” – ‘Fresh bananas sauteed tableside in brown sugar and cinnamon, flambeed with banana liqueur and rum, vanilla bean ice cream.’ (Una well done. Sebi una don collect the money from me. It is OK. I will wait for you people in Lagos. Pounded Yam = N70K)

See the making of the Banana Foster:

Right, gastronomic delights aside, below are some of my other NOLA pictures. Fancy anyone? Let me know.

They don’t make them like this anymore…

 

Thou shall not consult a medium. Sweet of her to allow me take her picture though.
Give it up for pops! From a photographer to another : you rock sir!

 

People of NOLA..
In the French Quarters…
New Orleans is famed for its cemeteries. Most of the tombs are above ground in vaults. Burial grounds in New Orleans are quite shallow. Dig a few feet and the grave fills with water. So during floods, it was not unusual to see a coffin floating merrily down the streets! Hence why tombs are now built above ground.
Might I remark that the people of New Orleans have a chummy relationship with the dead? St Louis Cemetery. The most popular.

 

This is the tomb for Nicholas Cage. He bought the tomb in 2010. This is where he will be buried when he kicks the bucket. Kolo guy!
The tomb of Benjamin Latrobe, the architect of the U.S. Capitol.
The wealthy Garden District of New Orleans is filled with 18th-century-type mansions.

New Orleans is also home to many sugarcane plantations that employed slaves. This here is Oak Alley Plantation, now a US National Historic Landmark. You might remember it from the movie “Interview With The Vampire.” The southern oaks you see are over 300 years old. Right next door to Oak Alley is Felicity Plantation where “12 Years A Slave” was shot. 

The main house or master’s house at Oak Alley.
The slave quarters at Oak Alley.
Bourbon Street. Arguably the most popular street in the whole of Louisiana. Rows and rows and rows and rows of bars.
In one of the bars, I ordered a Coke with ice. The sweet bartender asked me what the hell I was doing in New Orleans if I didn’t drink alcohol! The cheek!
Hustling for customers on Bourbon Street. PS: If the sign doesn’t make sense to you, please watch the Bud Light TV spot below.

And lastly…

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