You don’t need to be from Kentucky to get lucky in New Orleans but it doesn’t hurt. There are more Popeyes and Churches than there are KFCs. To tell the truth, I think the nearest KFC is in the suburbs. The nearest Church’s Fried Chicken is about a ten minute walk from our front door.
If you have a hankering for fried chicken, I know three places that are even closer. I am not going to say they are better, only closer. La Belle Esplanade is located in New Orleans’ Fried Chicken Triangle.
I had lunch with Frau Schmitt today. Lucky me. We didn’t have fried chicken. We went to Juan’s Flying Burrito in Mid-City. We had the best waitress we have ever had there. I pulled her aside and told her. Her name was Fiona. I think she is Welsh.
Juan’s Flying Burrito projects a punk rock vibe so most of the help is composed of confused youth with a chip on their shoulders looking to something better than working for The Man. You’ve been to places populated by characters like this before. Punks. I used to be one, myself.
A leopard doesn’t change his spots.
I don’t eat a lot of fried chicken so living in the Fried Chicken Triangle is wasted on me. I don’t particularly like Mexican food, but I like Juan’s, except for the service and the music and the questionable fashion choices of the staff. It is always so loud in there.
They say New Orleans is the northernmost Caribbean city. That is certainly true. The Fried Chicken Triangle is nothing like the Bermuda Triangle the way New Orleans is nothing like Bermuda. Bermuda is British. New Orleans is French. Vive la Nouvelle Orléans!
Here are the points that form the Fried Chicken Triangle:
3. McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’. McHardy’s doesn’t have a website. They have other things to do, frying chicken being first among them.
I could talk about them all but then I would be staying on topic. Where is the fun in that? I only seem to be confused as I meander about in these essays. This is what my life is like. I am a flaneur, perpetually sampling the urban show around me. Live life like an artist in New Orleans, or, as we like to say it locally, live life like an artiste.
Urban Dictionary gives a definition of only one kind of life artist. This much is true: “An unproductive, uppity snob who has no real job and doesn’t contribute to society, but having an enormously high opinion of his or herself.” Your humble narrator knows the type. He bumps into them every day.
I can read your mind right now and I know exactly what you are thinking. I am thinking it, too.
I have been remiss. I don’t think I mentioned above that Frau Schmitt is the better half of this operation.
Frau Schmitt is the better half of this operation and she is the nicest person you will ever meet. There. I said it. If you disagree, whatever you say about it will be considered fighting words by me. I am handy with a shiv. I don’t keep only a pen in my pocket.
65 degrees today, the perfect kind of day to stroll about and soak up the atmosphere. Today is a perfect New Orleans day. If you were here you would be able to feel it. January 13, 2020 is another day worth remembering. I still need to buy that butcher apron for Soleil but today is too nice a day to be on a mission. Today is the kind of day made for just being alive, at least for a few hours. Make them count.
Each of the three points in the Fried Chicken Triangle are within a five minute stroll from my front door. La Belle Esplanade. Ma maison est ta maison. Mi casa es tu casa. My New Orleans is your New Orleans. You belong here.
I could walk the dog along all three of the axes of New Orleans’ Fried Chicken Triangle in about 20 minutes. I don’t do it because he’s not supposed to eat chicken bones. At least I don’t think he is. He still gets his share off the street, believe me. Simba loves leftover fried chicken. That dog will eat garbage.
I could talk about fried chicken all day, or, more correctly, I could talk about Dooky Chase’s, Willie Mae’s, and McHardy’s at length for at least a couple of hours.
I have only been to a Popeye’s once. It was in Boston. Frau Schmitt doesn’t remember it. Maybe it was a dream.
I was in Church’s once but I couldn’t figure out how to order. It’s weird in that Church’s on St. Bernard Avenue. It’s no Manchu Chicken.
I always get the extra crispy at KFC and I always feel ill for twenty-four hours afterward. That’s my fault.
One time there was this guy from Toronto and his wife. Every day this guy stopped at Manchu Chicken for an order of wings. Then he would eat them while they strolled down beautiful Esplanade Avenue in the moonlight. There was no resisting. You have to love a guy like that. I know his wife does. They make a good pair, like chicken and waffles.
They must not have chicken wings in Canada. I dunno. People from all over the metro New Orleans area love Manchu Chicken. It’s not considered part the Fried Chicken Triangle because then the Triangle would be a rectangle.
There are actually two Manchu Chickens. One of them is at Esplanade and South Claibourne Avenues, New Orleans Central. The other one is on St. Bernard Avenue, across North Dorgenois Street from that Church’s where I left the neon tile fishbowl vestibule rueful, bemused, and empty-handed, without any fried chicken. That was some night. I could tell you stories but those are stories for another day.
Can you think of a word that rhymes with Bermuda? I can’t. Don’t say barracuda. I beat you to it. In Cajun country, they call that fish la barracúde
I don’t like chicken but I do like fish. It’s a good thing I live in New Orleans. Fresh Gulf of Mexico seafood in abundance every day. If you see it, you’ll eat it. Fish is brain food, like walnuts. Louisiana isn’t walnut country. Louisiana is The Pelican State.
You can get good fish cooked any way you like it all over New Orleans. I wish we were talking about fish instead of fried chicken. Have I mentioned that I don’t eat a lot of fried chicken. I like Dooky Chase’s but, like former President Obama, I go for the gumbo. One Thanksgiving, we got a fried turkey from McHardy’s. It was delicious. I do know the line goes around the block every day at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. The Food Network declared Willie Mae’s the best fried chicken in America. Everyone has an opinion.
Most people don’t live in New Orleans. That’s why they visit. Most people who visit New Orleans suffer from fear-of-missing-out disorder.
If you live in New Orleans, you have all the time in the world to eat all the fried chicken and fresh Gulf of Mexico seafood you want, in as many different places as your heart and nose can lead you. When you spend time in New Orleans like you mean it you have all the time in the world. You should visit New Orleans like you mean it. Home is where the heart is. We will always be here for you.
This is the part where I should mention that you are on the right website. When you visit New Orleans you should stay at La Belle Esplanade.