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Entries in New Orleans (2)


My Ride Through The Deep South. First Stop, New Orleans

History has always been an interest, no, I should say a love for me.  My parents were both born in Mississippi, my father in the Delta and my mother in the Hills.  By age eight her parents (my maternal grandparents) moved to Memphis.  Memphis' culture more permiated my mother's psyche than Mississippi however, Memphis is, in part, a child of Mississippi.  Over the last two years I envisioned a trip through the U.S. South.  

I also wanted a taste of the South as well.  I wanted to taste the variance in culinary flavor from region to region, from New Orleans to Charleston, SC and the places in between.  This would be a driving trip, no flying so I could imbibe the flavors of the South not only in food and drink but also enjoy climatic the changes in the air as well.
First stop to eat was New Orleans.  I'd seen this restaurant presented in many forums.  I first saw it on a PBS documentary that discussed New Orleans' conditions after Katrina.  This part of the documentary spoke about the origins and history of the restaurant and how so many of the famous musical stars such as Duke Ellington had dined there.  I saw it again on a show showing the best 10 places for fried chicken in New Orleans.  Being the history buff that I feel I am, I had to eat at the world famous Dooky Chase restaurant.  I ordered the buffet and  Stuffed Shrimp from the menu.

Dooky Chase was, at one time, voted the best fried chicken in New Orleans.  This was the driving desire to order from the buffet in addition to ordering from the menu.  There were also mustard greens with sting beans on the buffet along with mac and cheese, veggie soup or a salad and peach cobler.  The ambiance was nice, I had a sensation of history, of sitting somewhere that other Black leaders had dined, including president Obama that ran through me.

 So in my mind, the food had to be the bomb, period.  This food comes from the hearts and minds of native New Orleanians.  There were an equal amount of Black people and white people eating there along with a Mexican family of 5 having dinner.It had to be the bomb was my mental mantra that afternoon.  

Nope.  The buffet was just a'ight.  The chicken was without flavor, had a crispy texture but, not much flavor.  But, the greens were bomb.  The veggie soup tasted like it came from a can, nothing special.  Next, came my first dish off the menu.  A cup of Creole Gumbo.  Sorry, tasted like it was poured out of a can and there was no okra.  It can't be gumbo without okra point blank.  Yeah, it was looking weak here as far as culinary flavors I had envisioned.  

Then came the Stuffed Shirmp.  This came with a side of potato salad, homeade tartar sauce and the shrimp were stuffed with a crab meat dressing.  DA BOMB!!!!!!!  The flavor was so beautiful in my mouth.  I added some Texas Pete  hot sauce.  Nope, not good.  I added some Tabasco. Nope, worse.  The Stuffed Shrimp alone with the homeade tartar sauce was DA BOMB!!!  They killed it with the Stuffed Shrimp.  Skip the buffet and order from the menu.  Next stop Greenville, MS.



for those who are the descendants of slaves...

Today, the Congress of the United States erected comemorative plaques in honor of the enslaved that built the capitol building in Washington D.C.  Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said "In remembering the slaves who labored here, we give them in death some measure of dignity they were so cruely denied in life."  Thanks Mitch, they needed that.  Finally, the U.S. government has recognized a small portion of the work, put in by enslaved Black people in building this country.  Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, spearheaded the committee that pushed for this recognition and I'm glad he did. But, is this all we were?  Slaves.  What I perceive from these media blasts is simply 'a slave you were, and a slave you will be.'

Where are the documents that states ALL Blacks in the western hemisphere were slaves? Why do so many of us assume that we are all descendants of slaves?  John Locke of Baltimore was a hack owner and owned a  funeral business and was worth $75,000 during the late 1700's.  New Orleans, prior to the Civil War had the largest population of free Black people in the south.  Charleston, South Carolina was by far the most aristocratic city for Black people from the 1700's  up until 1860 when the Civil War began.  Many fled to Haiti to escape the war.  Memphis, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., were all well known for having a population of middle class to upper class Black denizens, and in New York and Philadelphia were many aristocratic Black Caribbeans that made up the middle class to elites.  When will we see a celebration of free, educated and wealthy Black people during the slavery times?