Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Little Mississippi in New Orleans

Last Tuesday, I met up with Andrew, an acquaintance I made in Oxford, Mississippi. Born and bred in Mississippi, Andrew has a certain Southern flair that is best marked by Oxford dress shirts, seersucker slacks and fine leather shoes. He is now an anthropology student at Tulane, and is in New Orleans writing some academic papers. We met up in front of St. Louis Cathedral, and headed to a small bar on Decatur Street where I tried my first Abita Strawberry beer. How refreshing, and only $2 to boot! We struck up a conversation that ranged from revisionist theories on totenism to Allen Ginsburg’s Howl; we soaked in the eccentric atmosphere of the bar: New Orleans regalia, a totem pole, and pictures of long dead poets. After a few drinks, we opted for spontaneity…a ferry ride to Algiers! I was happy to tag along for this adventure, as I have always wanted to cross the river to this small hamlet of New Orleans’ society. We waited to board the ferry, standing in line with a handful of New Orleanians making their way home after a hard days work. We stood on the bottom level so that we could enjoy the view of the Mississippi from the bow of the ferry. I had to resist the temptation to start singing “My Heart Will Go On” a la Celine Dion. Once we arrived in Algiers, we meandered along the cobblestone streets past a handful of restaurants and shops, and settled down for dinner at the Dry Dock CafĂ© and Bar. At this point, we were fairly hungry and eager to get some sustenance. I opted for Barbecue Shrimp. I was expecting “shrimp-on-the-barbie” style shrimp—peeled, on a skewer, with distinct char marks. Not the case. These enormous shrimp came out fully clothed in their exoskeletons with antennae stretching a good 5 inches. They were served in a shallow bowl with a spicy brown sauce and thick slices of French bread. As the dish sat there steaming, I tried to act nonplussed at the idea of peeling all of these gargantuan crustaceans. I looked over at Andrew, he shrugged, and I got to work. Delicious! The ride back to Algiers was fantastic. New Orleans, dotted with the bright lights of Harrah’s casino, Bourbon Street and various high rises, was a sight fore sore eyes.

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