News / USA

    Taste of New Orleans Returns

    Antoine's restaurant in New Orleans
    Antoine's restaurant in New Orleans
    Liu Enming

    Five years ago, on August 29, a powerful hurricane struck the Gulf Coast of the southern United States, killing more than 1,800 people and causing billions of dollars in damage to states along the coast.   Much of the flooding and many of the deaths occurred in and around the city of New Orleans.  And in an extra blow to the economy, the city's tourist attractions were especially hard-hit. But, if the New Orleans' restaurant scene is any indicator, New Orleans is definitely on the way back.  

    Tour guide Mary Lacoste, a former teacher, has been showing visitors around New Orleans for 15 years.  Though five years have passed since Hurricane Katrina pounded the city, Mary says the damage it caused is still on people's minds.    The question tourists most frequently ask is whether business is coming back to the French Quarter, the most famous and liveliest part of New Orleans.

    "Not as fast as I would like," she said.  "The [stores] in the flooded area were ruined for a while but the ones in the non-flooded area came back but there is no business. They are starting to pick up now I would say."

    Mary has her first tour group of the week, and part of the tour takes the visitors inside what is perhaps the most famous restaurant in New Orleans: 170-year-old Antoine's.  It has 15 beautiful and distinctively-decorated dining rooms.  Countless famous people have dined here over the years, including popes, presidents, dukes and generals.

    At Antoine's and many other restaurants in the French Quarter, visitors are most anxious to sample one of the delights New Orleans is famous for: Creole cooking.

    "Creole cuisine is a cuisine based on many different cultures, but French and Spanish being the two predominant. New Orleans is considered the melting pot of ethnicity and cuisines," said Brian Landry, who is executive chef at another New Orleans landmark, Galatoire's.  "It's not quite as old as Antoine's - it has only been around for 105 years - but its Creole gumbo is known far and wide.  Its major ingredient is roux, a traditional French thickener."

    "The thing with the roux is that it is just equal parts of fat and flour so you can make it with vegetable oil, you can make it with butter, you can make it with animal fat like duck fat; depends on what type of gumbo you are going to make," Landry continued.

    The restaurants of New Orleans have passed down their traditional menus and cooking styles.  Even though the chefs may change, the flavor of the food stays the same.  But when a popular chef leaves one of these restaurants he or she becomes highly sought after - elsewhere in the United States and even in other countries.  The city lost many chefs to kitchens farther afield after Hurricane Katrina.  

    Taste of New Orleans Returns
    Taste of New Orleans Returns

    Chef Joseph Faroldi from K-Joe's Restaurant is working to entice many of those chefs back to the city.   But he says it is hard work.

    "Because of the economics prior to the storm and after the storm, so many people were displaced," he said. "When people around the world, around the country, realized that they [had] New Orleans chefs, New Orleans cooks, they did everything in their power to keep them."

    The global financial crisis is forcing many people who do come to New Orleans to spend less.  But there is one establishment that seems as busy as ever: the nearly 150-year-old Cafe Du Monde.

    "The Cafe Du Monde is a traditional French coffee shop in New Orleans," said  Burton Benrud, Jr., who is one of its managers. "Cafe Du Monde means the coffee of the world, coffee of the people. Here we serve cafe au lait and beignets."

    Cafe au lait usually is made of coffee with hot milk, but here they add chicory to give it a distinctive flavor.  A beignet is a kind of fried French-style doughnut.

    Cafe Du Monde's famous cafe au lait and beignets
    Cafe Du Monde's famous cafe au lait and beignets

    "It is the only food product we serve at Cafe du Monde.  We roll our dough flat and cut the dough into squares and fry them in cottonseed oil.  Then we cover them with powdered sugar.  The beignets have their own unique flavor; it's hard to describe and extremely popular," Benrud said.

    Judging from the long lines outside and the many people being served,  Cafe Du Monde is one of those attractions visitors just can't bear to miss, just like the Creole cuisine and the jazz music.  It's yet another sign that the city known as "The Big Easy" is on the way back.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora