Monday, August 29, 2011

Katrina Plus 6

It's been six years since a hurricane ruined a major American city. While I sympathize with family and friends who were inconvenienced by Irene, it was, thankfully, a minor disaster. Katrina was in a league of its own. We can look back. And, in this Times-Picayune story, a glimpse at a "robust" recovery and a positive future. It looks better. There's more hope. That's good. Here's how far we've come.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Lower Ninth - Climbing Higher?

There's an interesting, and sobering, article from AP writer Cain Burdeau on the prospects for the Lower 9th Ward, the focus of so much post-Katrina reporting. Everyone who comes to New Orleans wants to visit. And I take them, or tell them how to get there. Everyone is shocked by the devastation and enthusiastic about Brad Pitt's houses. (And they are nice ones.) But then everyone then drives back over the canal, and that's the last of it. The Lower 9th's residents are campaigning to get a supermarket to open. I hope they can. They deserve some good news.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When The Saint Marches In

I'm always a bit suspicious of Mom & Pop or Mom & Son businesses. But David Wyant and his mom Jana's project sounds different. This one is a new hotel called The Saint. It's housed in the old Audubon Building on Canal Street (next to the Ritz-Carlton at Burgundy), and it seems promising. The Wyants are dropping some jack. The building's being restored to the tune of $39 million and will include two bars, a restaurant and blue ceilings in each of the 166 guest rooms. Will it make its promised December opening? Who knows. It's a welcome start. Good luck to them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bitters End

I recently concluded a rambunctious Satchmofest / bachelor party weekend at Cure. The Freret Street bar is one of my favorites, and one reason is Rhiannon. An expert bartender, she never fails to both entertain and educate. As the debauchery wound down on Sunday we headed to Cure for a restorative sazerac which got us on the subject of aperitifs and bitters revival. Some of you know what bitters are, but for those that don't an explanation of them by the undoubted drinks expert Wayne Curtis can be found in his Men's Journal article. Bitters give drinks like sazeracs their unique taste. Rhiannon gave us a sample of several without identifying them, placing them in numbered glasses. The second from left was my favorite, and my friends agreed. We all thought the sample at far right was harshest. She then replaced the glasses with the bottles, and we were surprised the one we liked the least turned out to be the old standby Campari. The one we liked best was named Aperol, a low-alcohol aperitif also from Italy. Our livers clearly responded to the low-alcohol content after what we put them through. We raised a glass. Last call for Aperol -- and a memorable weekend.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Orleans' Best Po-Boy?

A friend's recent party at Tracey's on the Irish Channel side of Magazine at Third Street got me thinking about po-boys.If you don't know what a po-boy is, then you've never been to New Orleans. They're the hero-like sandwiches slathered with mayonnaise, and crammed with meat, fried Gulf oysters or shrimp on crusty French bread. No one can say for certain how "po-boys" got their name, but the Po-Boy Preservation Society has as good an explanation as anyone. Everyone in New Orleans has their favorite po-boy shop, but I think Tracey's might sell the best ones. Their kitchen is staffed with refugees from the famed Parasols -- which at one time enjoyed a reputation for making the best po-boys in town before changing hands in 2010. I'm not sure what happened, but all I can say is that Tracey's roast beef po-boy, steeped in it own gravy, is not to be believed. Order one and see.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Dream for the City

The Hypothetical Development Organization has been wandering New Orleans neighborhoods putting up renderings of fantastical buildings which, like the Trump condos on Poydras, will never get built. It's an interesting project that gets you thinking about the future, or lack of it, for sites around town. Check out their video. Or visit their website for more info.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trump Dumped in New Orleans

The Donald's overly-hyped 70-story $400 million hotel and luxury condo tower in New Orleans' Central Business District is dead. The property was foreclosed and sold to the parking lot operators that occupy the site now. Pity. Had Trump become president there was always the chance that his glizty building could have been the winter White House. As it is we all get to appreciate the new handsome Zatarain's mural on the side of the Queen & Crescent Hotel facing Poydras Street.