Ian McNulty: Forged in hard times, post-Katrina food memories resonate in New Orleans now

    0
    15

    A sign on a home in Mid-City in the fall of 2005 offers red beans and rice, supplies and help to neighbors returning after Hurricane Katrina.

    Flood lines intersect a po-boy on the sign outside a corner store in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 

    Iris Cardona serves a baleada at her taco truck Taqueria el Paraiso in Mid-City. Unknown in New Orleans before Hurricane Kartina, these trucks have changed the city’s street food scene.

    The Shades of Praise choir sings on the porch of a Mid-City home in the spring of 2006 when rebuilding work after Hurricane Katrina was still inching along.

    The Good Ole Times bar is boarded up on St. Peter Street months after Hurricane Katrina as debris piles around neighboring homes.

    Betsy’s Pancake House on Canal Street in New Orleans shows signs of reopening in the spring after Hurricane Katrina, photographed 2006.

    Flood lines on a Broadmoor home line up with a sign of determination to rebuild in the spring after Hurricane Katrina, photographed in 2006.

    The Storyville Stompers Brass Band play on the sidewalk outside K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen as chef Paul Prudhomme’s famous French Quarter restaurant reopened after Hurricane Katrina, photographed 2006.

    Liuzza’s Restaurant & Bar in Mid-City dates to the 1940s and reflects the history of its neighborhood.

    A sign on a home in Mid-City in the fall of 2005 offers red beans and rice, supplies and help to neighbors returning after Hurricane Katrina.

    Flood lines intersect a po-boy on the sign outside a corner store in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 

    Iris Cardona serves a baleada at her taco truck Taqueria el Paraiso in Mid-City. Unknown in New Orleans before Hurricane Kartina, these trucks have changed the city’s street food scene.

    The Shades of Praise choir sings on the porch of a Mid-City home in the spring of 2006 when rebuilding work after Hurricane Katrina was still inching along.

    The Good Ole Times bar is boarded up on St. Peter Street months after Hurricane Katrina as debris piles around neighboring homes.

    Betsy’s Pancake House on Canal Street in New Orleans shows signs of reopening in the spring after Hurricane Katrina, photographed 2006.

    Flood lines on a Broadmoor home line up with a sign of determination to rebuild in the spring after Hurricane Katrina, photographed in 2006.

    The Storyville Stompers Brass Band play on the sidewalk outside K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen as chef Paul Prudhomme’s famous French Quarter restaurant reopened after Hurricane Katrina, photographed 2006.

    Food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind on Hurricane Katrina anniversaries. And yet, for me, the story of how New Orleans people fought their way back after Katrina is entwined with tales of our food.

    They come back through sense memories, anchored somewhere latent and deep, involuntarily evoked now by everyday life in this city.

    The festivals are silent this year, and music halls are closed. Parades are banned, bars are dry and restaurants are just eking along. Everyth…

    The crinkly sound of a foil sheet pan being peeled back, and the meaty gush of jambalaya within, still carries the generosity of Louisiana people cooking big batches of our shared regional comfort food to feed others in the evacuations, when comfort was desperately needed.

    The smell of burgers outside the French Quarter restaurant Port of Call never fails to conjure that surreal early fall of 2005, when we were trying to compute incalculable tragedies, but finding a restaurant back open was somehow a signal that all was not lost.

    It can be a taco truck, where between lukewarm Mexican Coke and blazing hot green salsa there’s gratitude from when handmade meals like this meant a break from dusty work days cleaning up the mess.

    Liuzza’s Restaurant & Bar in Mid-City dates to the 1940s and reflects the history of its neighborhood.

    Just let me catch a whiff of onion rings through the kitchen door at Liuzza’s Restaurant, and I’m back on the dark Mid-City street watching its vintage neon flicker back on.

    The spice of a good crawfish boil can revive that post-Kartina spring, when new green started pushing through gray dead grass and gardens, and when having friends over might for once mean peeling seafood instead of gutting walls.

    Then there’s a certain type of barbecue – sweet, thick, red, New Orleans street party barbecue – and how it can summon the jubilation of homecoming gatherings as barren neighborhoods pulsed back to life, the way strangers might drag you in to join the party, simply out of fellowship for being back home.

    Lift the lid on red beans and maybe in the steam there’s the quiet relief of finally cooking in your own home once again, in spite of it all.

    These are happy memories, hardwired through hard times. In these times we have now, they remind me what it means to make it through, of what waits on the other side, all brought home with the immediacy of the next New Orleans meal.

    With so much attention now focused on Louisiana in crisis, maybe Louisiana people can also show what helps us power through dire adversity.

    There was a time when the primary hurricane prep for New Orleans native Mark Bologna was procuring beer and Popeyes fried chicken before landfall.

    Follow Where NOLA Eats on Instagram at @wherenolaeats, join the Where NOLA Eats Facebook group and subscribe to the free Where NOLA Eats weekly newsletter here.

    Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.



    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

    Donnez votre point de vue et aboonez-vous!

    Laisser un commentaire

    Votre point de vue compte, donnez votre avis

    [maxbutton id= »1″]




    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here