What Makes New Orleans Creole?
Ask someone what makes New Orleans creole and you will get as many answers as the number of people you ask. Creole is a real thing, but you’ll only recognize it if you are in a New Orleans state of mind. Don’t let anyone tell you blackened catfish is creole. It isn’t. It’s cajun. There as many layers to ever facet of New Orleans culture as there are layers in an onion. When you get to the middle, you’ll find a sparkly gem.
The culture here is densely woven and richly textured, seasoned by the diversity of peoples who have settled in this cosmopolitan port city. Everything becomes creolized in New Orleans, but everything remains distinct, too, at least for awhile. We do still differentiate between French Creole, German Creole, Italian Creole, Viet-Creole (as you know), and just regular Creole cuisine with a capital C, which doesn’t mean what you think it means. They are all different but they share things in common, the way every New Orleanian is with every other New Orleanian. Scratch any one of us and we will all bleed New Orleans blood.
Don’t even get me started on the difference between Creole and Cajun. I can go on and and on and on and on and on one more…..
On any given New Orleans day, a New Orleanian will wander in and out of zones of this and that, a karmic chameleon, taking the best of wherever he or she finds his or her self and holding it close to their hearts. New Orleans has miles and miles of heart.
I can’t even tell you the last time I went to the West Bank. That’s the part of New Orleans, and the rest of Louisiana, that is on the other side of the Mississippi River. There is more to New Orleans than you can hope to discover in two weeks, let alone three nights. No one ever says their visit is too long. The longer you are here, the more you’ll realize how much more there is to discover and explore. New Orleans culture is densely woven and richly textured. Stay here for as long as you can. If you are bored in New Orleans, you must have a hole in your spirit.
You should go to the West Bank if you have the time. I’ve lived in New Orleans for 9 years and I rarely find the time to go to the West Bank, even if it is to go to Hong Kong Market. My wife, Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, loves Hong Kong Market. She used to live in China. For me, it’s just too far away, even if it is only a bridge and three miles by car. As of this writing, we were last at Hong Kong Market in Autumn 2018. To the best of my memory, that was the last time I was on the West Bank.
I don’t like to ride in the car. I prefer to zip around the city on my motor scooter.
When you are in New Orleans, you never know what you’ll find when you turn a corner. Talk to people who live here, not to people who, like you, are from out of town. You might bump into Chef Cynthia if you go to Café Minh, on Canal Street. It’s not on the part of Canal Street you know. It’s in Mid-City, in real New Orleans, one block past where the City Park Streetcar turns onto N. Carrolton Avenue. Everybody says it’s the best restaurant in Mid-City. I agree, and that’s not because I happen to Chef Minh and Chef Cindy. It’s because I have lunch there at least once a week. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t what else could be better.
If you want to learn what makes New Orleans Creole, you’ll have to stay outside the French Quarter, away from the Convention Center, not in a chain hotel. If you want to lean what makes New Orleans Creole, you’ll have to find out first-hand. You have two New Orleans goodwill ambassadors standing by to assist at La Belle Esplanade. You are on the right website. We will help you make good New Orleans memories that will last you the rest of your life. Personalized recommendations over a curated gourmet breakfast are what separate La Belle Esplanade from anywhere else you can stay in New Orleans. You’ll see. We’re here for you.
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