More New Orleans

December 18, 2009 If you ask a local where to go for authentic creole cuisine, they'll probably direct you to Gumbo Shop.

Lloyd tried the (vegetarian) green gumbo and the white bean and rice dish. I had the crawfish étouffée. We shared the fresh, warm loaf of bread and dipped it in praline vinaigrette.

Locals also told us that the better food and music has, more or less, moved to Frenchmen Street. We wandered Frenchmen Street during the day. Don't do that. It's downright doggy and offers little aside from what the locals call "The gay bookstore", half of which we perused. Anyway, find a gig and check out Frenchmen Street at night or you might be dissuaded altogether. And, for goodness sake, take a cab!

After Frenchmen we found ourselves back in St. Louis Cathedral (what I'll call) courtyard where we saw Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of the psychic line (there must be a dozen psychics on a busy day) and enjoyed the fine-tuned voice of a long-haired duo in plaid.

The courtyard attracts all kinds of people. It's a primo people watching site. One afternoon we watched a man on a 3-wheeled bicycle that wiggled side to side vs. peddled, a young woman in a fuzzy grey cape with pointy canine teeth - an obvious patron of the Boutique du Vampyre on Royal Street (and living dead wannabe), a rather pale cyclist in a lacy, billowy blouse and knickers, "The Ghost of Christmas Past," said the lady seated next to me.

There is no shortage of entertainment in the French Quarter. You can find music every night of the week and special concerts for special occasions, like the Christmas concert/Procrastinors Pajama Party & Sweet Tooth Soirée:

We topped the evening off with the closing night production of "The Kingfish", a one-man, two-act play about Huey P. Long at the Intercontinental Hotel. Long, Governor for Lousiana 1928-1932, noted for radical populist policies and forceful traits, was a dramatic political figure who also inspired the film "All the Kings Men" starring Sean Penn. He was assassinated at the age of 42.

-P