I’m writing this from my hotel room on the banks of the Mississippi in New Orleans. Though I’m not a New Orleans native, this city sums up my home state more than any other. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and the food here all possess a nostalgic flair for those of us from South Louisiana. (I say South Louisiana, because if you’re from anywhere north of Marksville, you’re basically from Arkansas.)
But while I’m only here for less than 24 hours, I’ve made the most of my time.
The one thing anyone from Louisiana will tell you they miss the most about the state is the food. Some have tried to cook authentic Louisiana cuisine in other parts of the country, but few (if any) have actually succeeded. So as soon as I was checked into my hotel last night, I sought out Mother’s. It’s just a couple blocks from where I’m staying and even with the swirling winds and rain, it was worth my efforts to have a meal of authentic cajun cuisine.
Gumbo, crawfish etouffee, and bread pudding were just enough to remind me of why this state has the best food in the US.
These dishes take time. They take effort. They take local ingredients.
Cajun and creole food are deeply ingrained in the DNA of Louisiana. (So is dirty politics, but that’s another post.)
One taste brings you back. The time away in another part of the country seems to fade. Suddenly it’s like you’re a kid again. Everything becomes familiar even if it’s a distant memory.
This morning, I sought out the Cafe du Monde shop in the building attached to my hotel for beignets and cafe au lait. I realize it’s the touristy thing to do, but it was still raining and my preferred beignet provider (Cafe Beignet) was too far away to walk in the rain.
For the 20 minutes or so I sat watching barges float down the Mississippi eating beignets and sipping chicory coffee, it felt like home. Time sort of stood still. It was the best breakfast I’ve had in months.
But now, it’s time to head out. We have a meeting this morning then it’s to the airport and back to the Music City. While I love Nashville and all she has to offer, Louisiana will always be home.
They say you can’t go home again.
I agree, but it sure is nice to visit once in a while.