Thought the title would attract interest - my wife and I like spicy food (hot lovers). Not being familiar with the names of dishes in NO (cajun style etc...) I am not sure which items are prepared spicy and those that you need to ask to be made spicy. I welcome suggestions for dishes that are spicy - as well as particular restaurants that prepare such fare. I'm not talking mind blowing, break down and cry hot - just a nice warmth to add to the flavor.
Virtually every (non-fine-dining) restaurant in south Louisiana offers at least one kind of hot sauce on every table; many places have multiple varieties (the most I've seen on one table was 5). It's typical that people seeking heat will add it at the table--they won't necessarily "make it spicy" for you in the kitchen.
re: Hungry Celeste
I love to do the hot sauces at the table. I was also thinking of particular dishes that are cooked with the spice. I find those flavors much different than putting a hot sauce on top of something. Maybe there isn't much in the way of that? - or menus will clearly say if it is a spicy dish...
The same is true of Cajun cooking. Red pepper is a frequent ingredient in a variety of dishes, but the the heat is but one element usually not an end unto itself. That being said, however, there are a number of dishes that are often quite spicy, including red beans and rice, jambalaya, etouffee, gumbo, and boiled crawfish.
My local KC council makes a yearly jambalaya that can melt concrete.
I find that New Orleans cuisine (and that of its environs) tends to be spicy, more than hot. There is a rich diversity in the use of spices and seasonings, but none is something that I would call hot. However, as is mentioned in this thread, various chili and pepper sauces are usually available to kick up the Scoville points.
When I think of heat, it's usually Thai, or the old Kolb's horseradish - now THAT was HOT!
If it is heat that you seek, you might mention this to the server, as many dishes can be "kicked up a notch," without horribly corrupting them. A few more dashes of cayenne might make it unbalanced for the chef, but put it right where you want it.