Monday, February 11, 2008

The Big Easy

Once again, I've gone off the radar here. But I'm back and I'm writing something, so let's focus on the positive, shall we? Excellent. Moving on.

On Friday, after many hours of sitting at the airport and on an airplane that wasn't exactly in the air, I returned to New York - very happy to be home, but very much missing a city that I can't say enough about.

For those of you who don't know, I recently spent two weeks in New Orleans, field producing for a documentary series that I'm currently working on.

Have you guys been there? If you haven't, I seriously recommend that you go as soon as you humanly can. And if you have been, go again. I know I want to.

Never have I been to a place with more personality. I was stunned. It was two weeks of an incredible cultural experience, and maybe this sounds completely awful, but I wasn't sure if that still existed in many places in our country at this moment in time. Probably a completely unfair statement, considering I live in what could easily be considered the center of the world, but hey, I've been here for 10 years and sometimes I forget how amazing it is.

Seriously though, the energy and the life there is totally undeniable, and I miss it! It's infectious and delicious and completely unique. It's hard even to describe, but I guess I'm gonna try.

First of all, holy crap, the food. Again, I live in New York, and it's not like the restaurants are anything but incredible - unless you go to the Taco Bell on 6th out for the 2 million rats inside - but New Orleans food is just as fantastic. I completely ate my self silly while I was there, and okay, my body is seriously calling for some vegetables, but still. If you ever go, eat at every restaurant that you can while you're there. Go eat a burger cooked under a hubcap at the Clover Grill. Go have the most delicious fondue you've ever had at Le Crepe Nanou. Eat a po' boy at Guy's or Domilise's or Parkway. Have the frog legs and pork bellies at Herbsaint. And drink Abita beer all the time. Brooklyn Brewery's got nothing on them. Have anything at all at Jacque-Imo's.

But honestly, what really got me about this town is the life that flows so unabashedly from it. The people alone are worth a trip. And they need us. They really do. I was down there for the All-Star Game and I heard over and over how good it was for the city because it made people realize that the city is not dead - in fact it is the most full-of-life city I've ever experienced. People need to know that they can go there and have the time of their lives. And I don't just mean going to the French Quarter and getting wasted. They need to know that they can go see the Rebirth Brass Band on Tuesday night at the Maple Leaf and hang out with the band afterward. That they can see Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers - who, I'm not lying to you, barbecue in between sets for the audience - on Thursday night at Vaughn's in an area that people thought was completely destroyed by the hurricane. That they can ride a streetcar up St. Charles Avenue and find that it's 10 times better than any streetcar they've ever ridden in San Francisco. That they can go to Frenchmen Street on a Friday night and hear incredible music pouring out of every bar they pass by.

I could go on and on, but I'll just wrap this up with this. Go to New Orleans. I promise you won't regret it. I've never experienced anything quite like it, I won't ever forget it, and I desperately want to go back soon. It's amazing how much the spirit of this city has triumphed, and it absolutely should be celebrated. They deserve it.


Chris C said...

Herbsaint is *awesome*.

Racheal Chiolero said...

wow,dan. you make me wanna jump on a plane and go there now!