Regional Reports from across Louisiana
(page 5 of 5)
GREATER NEW ORLEANS
Cause to Celebrate
My great-aunt Dessa (aka Tut) lived for a time in the Avoyelles Parish farmhouse of her parents. She never failed to end her day of housework, yardwork and cooking with a hot bath and an evening of retiring to her bedroom with Baton Rouge’s daily newspaper, then called the Morning Advocate, which, she often stated, she read “from cover to cover.” She swore by it.
My family in New Orleans revered the Times-Picayune. As a child, I took a lot of delight in checking on the weather frog’s forecast with my father. I can hear Daddy now: “Well, Zsa-Ree [his nickname for me], the frog says it’s going to be cold.” Then he’d show me the drawing of the shivering weather frog with the huge eyes. I can’t remember a breakfast table at which someone, including my brother, wasn’t sitting before its spread pages. The daily smell of fresh coffee and newsprint just seemed a natural fit. My mother was a crossword puzzle-hogger of sorts; years later, in the last year of her life, she had to spend hours on a radiology table while a dye slowly inched its way through her system. I stayed with her the entire time, and, under the circumstances, we actually had fun working the crossword puzzle together as I read the clues and wrote her answers. The newspaper was my daily companion during lunch breaks, causing woe and chagrin if I forgot it at home before leaving for work. When the Times-Picayune announced it would no longer be a daily but would go completely digital except for three days of the week when it would issue a printed copy, I felt like the end of days must be near. For someone who spends all day at a computer, the idea of collapsing into a chair with a printed newspaper is near-nirvana. I felt that our newspaper was the second Judas.
Coming to the rescue was Tut’s beloved paper, now simply called the Advocate. Expanding its Baton Rouge base to open a New Orleans office, it rescued lovers of the printed word from the lack of a daily. The first Saturday I received it, I, like Tut, read it from cover to cover and found I enjoyed it. I found its somewhat conservative bent refreshing. It ran columns that had disappeared from the Times-Picayune such as “Miss Manners” and “Hints from Heloise”; it also boasted a very concise daily column of what happened this day in history that was enthralling. The crossword puzzles weren’t bad either. It might be petty of me, but every time I receive a phone call from the Times-Picayune asking me to renew my subscription to its three-day deal, I politely say I can’t forgive it for no longer being a daily and will not renew. New Orleans deserves more, and thankfully, the Advocate stepped up to fill the gap.
Fork in the Road
Death by Gumbo
Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto recently forged a culinary partnership that has given the New Orleans area Restaurant R’evolution in the French Quarter. This eatery will let you enjoy dishes like Death by Gumbo, in which an entire semi-boneless quail stuffed with oysters, andouille and rice rests in a rich gumbo filled with oysters, quail, andouille and tasso. Louisiana’s rich German heritage is represented by Bird in a Cage: smoked guinea fowl, homemade sauerkraut, Creole mustard spaetzle and a sauce made from caramelized onions in a caraway “cage.”
Anyone who may remember the divinity of the stuffed flounder at Bruning’s on the lakefront will probably enjoy the upscale Flounder Napoleon – stuffed with shrimp mousse and crawfish and served with a Gulf oyster-and-artichoke stew and one crunchy crawfish ball for luck. In this very complete and innovative menu, Folse and Tramonto make liberal use of Louisiana’s natural bounty, using the seafood, fowl, alligator, frog, sassafras, persimmons and kumquats that comprise its “swamp floor pantry.”
Restaurant R’evolution in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 777 Bienville St., New Orleans, (504) 553-2277