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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

update There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid