Isaac Passes

Hurricane Isaac has come and gone. To our north, south, east and west, there is devastation. The good news is that, for the most part, New Orleans has been spared. Hundreds of thousands have been without power since Monday and it will take weeks to get everyone back on the grid. Ditto for wifi, cable and landlines. But, if you want to know more about devastation, watch the news, because I’d rather talk about my beloved city.

Isaac is my first NOLA hurricane. After the major community events of shopping for supplies and preparing the streets and houses for the oncoming winds and rain, the storm itself was a fairly isolating experience. We couldn’t leave the house for a couple of days, so when we finally took to the streets, it was wonderful seeing people. Swapping stories, we caught up with neighbors and even met a new neighbor.

Trees are down and debris is everywhere but the city is holding up well. In fact, by the time we made our way to the French Quarter (the best place to find electricity and food), the parking spots were all taken. As always, there’s a party starting. Southern Decadence is underway with scantily clad dancing and drinking men arriving daily. We were concerned only with finding a working TV to watch the Saints game. It was easy to spot the tourists, all boozy and optimistic, in the crowd of locals wearing house-dresses and galoshes.

Today, the French Quarter stands as an oasis of services in a region still fleeing flood waters. We went searching for a meal as tasty as the one we started the storm with during our private dining experience at Mia’s Balcony. We found it in the newly opened SoBou, owned by the same culinary geniuses behind Commander’s Palace. SoBou means “South of Bourbon,” as the restaurant stands on Chartres Street in the W Hotel.

Due to the storm, we were told the menu was limited but I was happy from the second I was offered a cold glass of water from a pitcher filled with fruit and ice while listening to local music from favorites like Trombone Shorty. The dining rooms are decorated with hundreds of glass bottles and a few of the tables feature beer taps. A gauge measures your pours for you and prices them accordingly.

I tried the tasty Pork Cracklins ($1) and the spicy 3 Melon Gazpacho with shrimp ($8). The Cochon de Lait Gumbo with potato salad ($8) was also delicious but the big treat was the little SoBou Burger – 1/4 lb griddled patty, bruléed onions, pepper jack cheese, pickled okra mayo, and cayenne ketchup served on a brioche bun ($6). What a wonderful way to fill my belly.

For those of you trying to reach friends and family in this region, cell service is terrible. It can take hours to receive a text or voicemail or make a call and there are precious few places to get online. I don’t yet know where your donations would best be sent, only that I continue not to send my own money to the Red Cross. Though there is devastation in the surrounding areas, the weekend begins in the French Quarter and I am happy to celebrate life with fun, food, music and, of course, men in drag.

4 Comments

Filed under Culture, Local Cuisine

4 responses to “Isaac Passes

  1. free penny press

    First, so thankful NOLA made it through Isaac with minimal damage (and power is getting back on..Yeah!)..I am also moving to New Orleans soon , I am FLA to NOLA.. will enjoy reading your blog!!

    • Yes, the city is recuperating. Many are still without power but the French Quarter was mostly open for business throughout the weekend. I hope you are as happy with your decision to move to NOLA as I am with mine!

  2. Tracy

    I love your blog! I am in agreement with not sending money to the Red Cross. What has your experiences with them make you feel this way? I’m just curious.
    Be Safe!
    Tracy

    • So glad you enjoyed reading the blog! Without getting into a big discussion of the structure, salaries and policies of Red Cross, I’ll sum it up by saying, “Show me the money!” I prefer Second Harvest/Feed America for helping to get food to Americans. Both ARC and Goodwill hire special needs employees and recycle goods for resale or distribution to the needy. During the BP oil disaster, many of the best non-profits were set up by locals who understood the needs of the locals. And though the houses look funny, I’m a fan of Making it Right.

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