There was once a bakery called Picou’s located off of Esplanade Avenue near Bayou St. John. I am not saying that its neighborhood was rough back then, but to get what you wanted you had to stand outside and have your item given to you from a revolving bulletproof cube.
Nevertheless, it was a popular place for one dish in particular: Washington Pie. Our cover story about bread pudding reminds me of the pie because there’s a kinship. Just as bread pudding is made from a restaurant’s leftover bread, the Washington Pie was created each day by combining pretty much whatever was left over in the kitchen and adding a common flavor. As I recall it was usually served in a square with icing on top and had an almond taste. Also it was very heavy, not just in calories but in density, making it suitable for alternative use as a paperweight.
One legend has it that the pie originated in Washington D.C., and was often served around the former president’s birthday. Actually, the pie is very democratic in that it combines the huddled masses of whatever is left in the baking pans.
Picou’s was also known for its donuts and was open late hours, which may account for the security. Nevertheless the Washington Pie, which was the sort of thing that students and the very idle would seek, made it famous.
As far as I know, the Washington Pie isn’t made anywhere locally nowadays, but in this the year when we saw the return of the Mile-High Pie with the reopening of the Caribbean Room, someone should bring back the Washington. And if no one eats all the servings, they can always mix it into the next day’s pie.
Correction: In our October issue, coverage of an exhibit of artist Peter Max’s work at the Angela King Gallery incorrectly stated that Max “co-owns” the gallery. What Max actually said was, “I’ve been to New Orleans many, many times. I have a gallery there, Angela King Gallery.” His reference to having a gallery there meant having a place where he had a working relationship. We regret the error. The exhibit opens Nov. 11. Information, AngelaKingGallery.com.