Sunday, 12 June 2011

Piccadilly, not as in Circus

Yesterday, I met up with a friend from Duke who is in New Orleans as part of the Robertson Scholars Program. We went on a historic tour of New Orleans, which took us upriver towards the Andry, Trepagnier, Bernoudy, and Ormond plantations. Our tour guide, Mr. Waters, introduced us to an often-overlooked aspect of New Orleans history: the 1811 Slave Revolt in St. John the Baptist and St. Charles Parishes of Louisiana. The bicentennial of this event is commemorated by the Louisiana Museum of African American History. For lunch, we stopped at a place called Piccadilly, a buffet style restaurant. There is no menu, and no waitresses. You line up with your dinner party, and shuffle along the buffet, asking the servers for your main dish and sides, which they hand to you under the glass "sneeze-guard."

You can eat well for under $10. There was fried chicken, red beans and rice, vegetables of all kinds, pecan pie and other traditional Southern fare. I would almost compare this place to Eat ‘n Park in Pittsburgh, where you have that casual dining experience: florescent lights, weak coffee and good conversation.

After eating lunch, our tour guide took us through the French Quarter, towards the old slave exchange building (which also hosted the infamous Quadroon balls in the 19th century), and then on to the Lower Ninth Ward for an introduction to Katrina relief.

Having lived in the city off and on over the past few years, I don’t often take tours, but I did learn a lot from Mr. Waters, and I am grateful for his perspective on New Orleans’ history.

No comments:

Post a Comment