This weekend, I attended my first ever Comic Con. I’ve heard about them for years, mostly stereotypes about nerds who love fake universes more than deodorant. Walking through the convention center in my Video Archives t-shirt (the video shop where Tarantino worked for a decade), we passed through a crowd heading to the car show and another group for the jewelry show before finding our way to the costumed crowd of Comic Con. New Orleans loves any excuse to wear a costume, but this was different. Rather than the petticoats and beaded concoctions we donn with second line umbrellas, these were elaborate soldiers from future wars, intergalactic creatures with blue or orange skin and chain mail-covered warriors and their corseted damsels.
Walking in, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the place. The music was good (Rapper’s Delight and Bad Mama Jama played as I walked in) There were comic book artists sketching on the spot and vendors selling everything from Samurai swords to hand-tooled leather satchels. There was a makeshift fighting dojo, complete with instructor and long sticks mimicking swords (or light sabers – hard to tell the difference). Though there were comic books galore and toys everywhere, there were very few children. Much of the excitement surrounded the celebrity guests who attend the event, selling photos and autographs and giving talks. Star Trek‘s William Shatner and Spiderman creator Stan Lee joined lesser known icons like the man inside the Chewbacca suit in Star Wars, 7’2″ NOLA resident Peter Mayhew.
I suppose a lot of the intricacies of the Con were wasted on me, but I do know what I like. It was fun seeing people dressed as the Leeloo character from The Fifth Element or 3 men in Ghostbusters suits standing and chatting a few feet from a guy with light saber and a small crowd of guys asking him about it. But, NOLA girl that I am, my favorite section was for the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. Preparing for their first official Mardi Gras season parade on March 6th, they displayed a number of bikes decorated with the whimsy I’ve come to love in this city.
So, maybe I don’t know my phasers from my lasers, but the Con does seem to have a little of something for everyone. Just when I thought we’d leave empty handed, we passed a table for local legend, Morgus the Magnificent. Morgus, a “mad scientist,” had a TV show in NOLA than ran from 1959 through the late 80’s. In 2006, his show returned as reruns so now a third generation of New Orleanians are growing up on his antics and misfortunes.
Morgus movie in hand, we walked from the Morial Convention Center to nearby Butcher for some lunch. Located behind it’s better known counterpart, multi award-winning Cochon, Butcher is a sandwich shop and wine bar specializing in sausages, terrines and meats prepared in-house. With its hanging meats and carnivorous deli counters, this is no place for a vegetarian, though the Marinated Brussels Sprouts ($6) were out of this world.
I also tried the Boudin ($3), the Pancetta Mac-n-Cheese ($3) and the super-tasty Buckboard Bacon Melt w/ Collard Greens with homemade chips on the side ($9). I’m not a sandwich person and I don’t eat that much meat, but I was thinking about that meal long after I returned home.
Executive Chef, Donald Link won the James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South after opening Herbsaint, a Gourmet Magazine pick for top 50 restaurants on America. Cochon was nominated for the James Beard Best New Restaurant in America in 2007 and was selected by the The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count.” The James Beard Awards even named Link’s first cookbook as Best American Cookbook. And here in New Orleans, Cochon was chosen as the best restaurant in the city last year. In other words, this guy can cook. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to eat during a convention or hoping to try one of our best chef’s cuisine at sandwich prices, Butcher is a must-try.