It's a city known by many nicknames: the Big Easy, the Crescent City, the city where all those hurricanes hit. Initially set up by French traders arriving in the Gulf of Mexico, it became a crucial port city after the Louisiana Purchase and continued to show the influence of the French, the Creole and the Caribbean. While many dispute it, it is notable as one of the most famous Mardi Gras destinations in the North-Western Quadrent of Earth. But we here are just calling it by it's name of "N'awlins". Yeah, I know I"m reporting at a time I probably should be partying, but with this my first night in the city (and me not really a night owl compared to a few others I know out there), I just needed to acclumate as I usually do before I go straight into town tomorrow for the first of at most two days focused around this city. So, let's get started:
-I guess before I get to New Orleans, I should mention one funny thing that happened in Philly: the shuttle I was taking to the airport ended up being directed by me to slow down at a squirrel who decided to pause in the road for a moment so I won't let it get run over. Yeah, always looking out for the squirrel these days, don't ask why.
-Probably the first sign you get that you've arrived in New Orleans is the miles of Bayou that you end up seeing as you approach the airport landing strip; hopefully the wetlands being a buffer against mother nature (and hopefully global warming) Honestly I was crossing my fingers that an alligator would pop up from beneath the murk and say hi...but no such luck.
-After arriving in town, the first thing I did was get a bite to eat (luckily all I brought this time was a carry on and a backpack with the laptop so it's pretty easy this time) Weirdly the restaurant I ended up at was associated with Zatarans, a N'awlins brand that is sold throughout the country (trust me I've seen it in Philly at the supermarket) but has a lot of local cuisine. Ended up with a pretty good creole chicken that had a bit of kick; but my worry turned out to be a bit of the dirty rice, which suspiciously had some "meat" in it that I didn't know whether or not was pork. I ate around it mostly but I think somehow it was tough with how well that stuff is blended in. It's sad but a lot of the food around here isn't quite for me, with all the pork and seafood...
-In a weird but hilarious moment, the first song that played in the car the moment I turned it on the first time (got a Kia this time) was Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"...I guess someone wanted to welcome me to town with style.
-After relaxing for a bit, I ended up going to dinner at another place but one I knew I could eat at: the Kosher Cajun NY Deli and Grocery, which was in a small shop near the Lakeside Mall in Metairie! It was a little Jewish grocer with all sorts of kosher goods and kosher versions of New Orleans favorites (for one thing, their "sausage" in their jambalaya is beef) Ended up actually eating a deli sandwich, the "J&N special" with corn beef & pastrami on rye with mustard, horseradish and cole slaw, with a Dr. Browns root beer (good Jewish-brand of soda I've had before) and a Zapps potato chips (N'awlins brand to keep it local) Pretty good place, sort of wish I could go back but they close for Shabbat.
-One last thing to note: I know how dangerous this city is considering the weird stuff that's been going on with gunfire and whatnot. There was one person shot to death just today in their car by someone on an overpass around I-10...this combined with the Mother's Day incident has me worried, maybe I should find another way.
Well violence or not, I am going to go into town tomorrow. Weirdly when I got back to the hotel, I saw they were shockingly showing "The Princess and the Frog" on Disney...which reminds me: I need to get to cafe du monde tomorrow (I hope) to try their legendary beignets...
Drinking: Wawa English Toffee \'chino