My forays into the city yesterday (Saturday) were divide into 2 parts – a long walk in the middle of the day and then back out to see NOLA on a Saturday evening.
left the hotel late morning and headed off to cover a fair bit of ground on foot. What struck me as I walked through the city streets adjacent to Canal St and Bourbon St, there is a lot of empty office & business space, all with signs of their last failed occupants. There are a lot of signs which does give an insight into how much trouble the economy is in. Yesterday I was speaking to Janet, giving my cynical impressions of NOLA and she said “True, but you have a job”. Over the day I thought about this and realised that is a very relevant point of view here, do you have a job? If you don’t I think you are in deep shit. NOLA has a number of challenges – recovering from Katrina, recovering from the BP inspired oil spill, being in the US south and of course the continued fallout from the geniuses on Wall St. It is hard to get a good feel of the place because of Mardi Gras which clearly brings in huge amounts of revenue.
In the middle of my travels I stopped in at the Ritz-Carlton to discover that they had a nice central outdoor courtyard in the sun. The other big plus was that they also served Oolong tea. So I spent an hour sitting quietly, reading, drinking Oolong which was so nice. On my way back to the hotel I came across ‘Mothers Kitchen’ that has been in business since 1938 and at 2pm still has a small queue waiting at the entrance, usually a good sign. So, in I went. It was great in so much as once through the door, you join a queue, place your order for everything once you reach the cash register and then find a place to sit. The waitress takes your ticket and returns with your food. I decided that being in NOLA I was obliged to try a Po’ Boy, so I opted for (the small version) Mothers Ferdi Special, for which the place is famous. It was also my first opportunity in life to order a menu item that is served with the ‘debris’ – quote, unquote. Asking others around me in the line I found out that the debris is exactly that – everything that is generated in the production of your Po’ Boy. So for the uninitiated – a Ferdi’s Special Po’ Boy is long bread roll with butter, coleslaw, baked ham, shaved beef, some sort of other meat in a small bath of very watery gravy and yes – it tasted how this sounds!! After the first bite I scrapped of the coleslaw, the unidentifiable meat, the grossly over cooked beef and ended up with the dry layer of bread and some ham, so in essence an open ham sandwich. It would be fair to say that it was my first and last Po’ Boy.