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Sep 6, 2005 08:51 PM

New Orleans news from a Chowhound point of view

  • f

Restaurants try to assess the situation:

"Crawfish Etoufee Goes Into Exile"
by Kim Severson & Julia Moskin
The New York Times


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  1. If crawfish come from the (local) mud, and the mud is covered with e-coli-contaminated waters, then I would imagine the local crawfish harvest is in huge jeopardy, maybe for a long time, I don't know. What an outrageous shame.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Val
      Jersey City Mods

      I was under the impression that the bulk of the Crawfish Harvest came from the Lafayette area. I don't know how that area fared (it's two hours away). However, there seems to be a Crawfish Festival every May. This year it is May 5-7.

      I am sorta wondering, if we can't go to New Orleans, is this worth going to? (Was the area as devastated?) I am sure many New Orleans expats have relocated there temporarily.


      1. re: Jersey City Mods

        If you are asking "Is the Lafayette, LA area worth a visit?", my answer would be certainly. I have been there on a number of occasions and found the people to be very friendly and the food quite good.

        Would I go there at the current time? Probably not as Baton Rouge and Lafayette are staging areas for the disaster in SE Louisiana.

        Personally, we have been to Festival Acadienne (September 23-25) three of the last five years.

        1. re: jlawrence01
          Jersey City Mods

          Well, no I wasn't thinking now. I was thinking more like May 2006. However, a friend of mine heard something on NPR saying that Mardi Gras is likely to be cancelled but that Jazz Fest would likely happen (and that they thought it would be bigger than Live 8). If that's the case I would go another time because I really don't like being packed in like a sardine for five days running. It's why I generally avoided Mardi Gras (thousands of annoying Frat Boys and the whole Spring Break crowd).

          The whole Jazz Fest thing may be overly optimistic. However, I've always wanted to go that Crawfish festival. Just not sure if there's enough there to keep me occupied for five days. (I guess by that I mean, is there enough stuff to see on foot so that we don't always have to be driving).

      2. re: Val

        I think there are larger matters to be upset about than that.

        1. re: Gary Soup

          As the enormity of this what happened sinks in, it becomes more and more difficult to read about people mourning the extinction of oysters, crayfish, Crystal or NO red beans.

          At a Berkeley restuarant, it was all I could do not to comment when in another party someone said "Are you following this New Orleans thing?" and proceeded to tell what she thought were amusing stories about people surviving while the others laughed. It was only matched by this story of the world's most clueless man

          Even worrying about the fate of New Orleans restaurants seems shallow when it doesn't come accompanied by worrying about the people behind those restaurants.

          Anyway, Times-Picayune entertainment reporter Cris Rose has been doing some outstanding columns capturing the spirit of the people.

          In his column today (link below), he writes about how the people remaining in the city are surviving, grocery shopping, cooking their lasagna in the sun on the roof or killing time at the local bar. He mentions 'a touch of Mad Max syndrome'.

          He writes about a woman grocery shopping

          "In a strange way, life just goes on for the remaining. In the dark and fetid Winn-Dixie on Tchoupitoulas, an old woman I passed in the pet food aisle was wearing a house frock and puffy slippers and she just looked at me as she pushed her cart by and said: "How you doin', baby?"

          Like it's just another afternoon making groceries.

          I love the way strangers call you baby in this town."

          If there is any doubt that New Orleans will recover ... eventually, VERY eventually ... it is captured in his letter to America in an earlier column:

          "We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

          OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times ...

          So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.

          That is our promise. That is our faith."

          Full link:

          Links are slow. The NOLA site obviously has the best and most in depth coverage. Today's stories include info about the French Quarter and Hotels. Patrick Quinn, owner of the Astor Crown Plaza Hotel talks about perhaps reopening in six months to a year, which may be optomistic.