new orleans fest and food report

 ( Sign on Decatur Street)


Just got back from the Tennessee Williams Lit Fest in New Orleans. Taught a master class in novel writing that was a real treat. A packed house.  On Friday I met with 200 city high school students at Le Petit Theatre. We talked about secrets for a while. How they might become stories. They were more than forthcoming. One young woman told us that every night for the past two weeks she'd been waiting for her mother to fall asleep and then took the car and drove around town. Another girl confessed to feeding her goldfish Froot Loops and injecting it water from a hypodermic needle--her mom was a nurse. When we weren't at the fest we were eating--this is New Orleans! Oysters at the Acme Oyster House, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Oysters and an Abita Amber. We always make our way to Cochon. Ate there our first night. I had fried boudi. The pig ears weren't on the menu that night for some reason. We lunched at NOLA on Friday. Sat at the chef's counter here as we had at Cochon. Love watching the food get made in the wood fired oven. Hickory roasted beef brisket--wonderful. We took the streetcar way out St. Charles and had dinner at Brigtsen's, a cozy littel restaurant in an old house. We ate in the living room. We shared catfish, rabbit, oysters, shrimp, crabmeat, and drum. And, of course, we had coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. Much to our surprise, the Roadfood Festival appeared right outside our hotel in the Quarter. We changed our minds about lunch at Bayona and hit the streets. Seafood chowder from the Maine Diner--a place we've stopped at every time we driven to Maine. What a treat. We had crawfish pie from Lasyone's. Just as good here as at their Natchitoches restaurant. There was a long line at the Louie Mueller barbecue tent. The restaurant in Taylor, Texas, is legendary, but we never made it there while we were living in Austin. We ate the best brisket we've ever had at that tent! (Sorry, Emeril.) So moist it melted in your mouth--no sauce necessary. Then we had spicy hand-cut fries at The Que Crawl, the city's roving purple restaurant, and buttermilk pie from Royers Round Top Cafe. There was plenty more we wanted to eat--five blocks of tents along Royal Street, but we were stuffed and had a plane to catch. I want to do that again!