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Michael

My own motorcycle experience ended with a lot less pain than yours--gave up the 1978 Kawasaki 650SR when it cost too much $$$ to repair. Still, it was fun, even when riding in FAR colder temps than humans should (in Wisconsin).

Courreges

New Orleans is definitely in the south, whether you enjoy being in the south or not. You don't get to set geographic boundaries based upon your personal preferences.

Marco

I'm over Alton. I used to enjoy him. Now he annoys me. In fact, most all of Food TV annoys me. They've blown a good thing.

Pistolette

I'm with you there. I think Alton should stick to food science with "Good Eats". He doesn't seem to have what it takes to do a food travel show.

I adore travel chef Anthony Bourdain and he did a very funny obnoxious synopsis of the top Food TV shows: http://blog.ruhlman.com/ruhlmancom/2007/02/guest_blogging_.html

ashley

Culturally, New Orleans really isn't in the South. I'm not talking geography, Courreges.

Aaron

I'm guessing courreges is one of the multitudinous Americans who stares at shock with me when I tell them I'm not only from New Orleans but I was born and raised when they fail to detect either a southern drawl or a "cher" every 10 words a la "Big Easy" infamy. Our culture is as a French port city with decades under Spanish rule. We have much more in common with Trinidad than Chattanooga. Courreges can looks at a political map as well, we're the only hotspot in Louisiana consistently blue surrounded by pulsating red. Geographically we're south, but culturally we're about 100 miles FURTHER southeast, our own nice little cultural island.

Aaron

And Alton's from Georgia, they'll never be satisfied with a sweet tea outside those borders. A good Georgia sweet tea is pretty much equal parts simple syrup and tea. the diabeetus special.

Courreges

ashley,

Culturally, New Orleans has many southern attributes. We're English-speaking, government organized along American lines, full of Southern-style Victorian architecture. Restaurants serve bacon, eggs and grits for breakfast; for lunch you can grab gumbo or barbacue served with mustard greens.

There are many Caribbean influences in New Orleans, sure, but they're hardly more overwhelming or prevalent than, say, in Galveston. Furthermore, in many ways New Orleans is quite southern. If anything, the old aristocratic southern gentility is more present in New Orleans than any other southern city.

Anyway... As for sweet tea, you can get it at Voodoo Barbacue or Raising Cain's. I've also heard Lil' Dizzy's on Esplanade has it. Sweet tea is generally more common in rural southern towns than the big cities, in my experience.

Maitri

New Orleans is not the south. If that were indeed the case, I wouldn't live in New Orleans. Alton should've gone to Alexandria for sweet tea.

The man IS conceited and that's the draw. But, yesterday he showed me how a lobster dies within 10 seconds of being boiled and I didn't feel so bad for the little critters any more, although I can't stand to see them huddled in their little swimming pools with their claws all tied up. *sniff*

Anyway, hey, at least he went to Vacherie and LaPlace and declared theirs the best Cajun sausage. Also, Alton Brown's knives are the best, more ergonomic than Henckels.

Anthony Bourdain is (HOT) smart and (HOT) realistic about his trips as is the new guy Andrew Zimmern with Bizarre Foods. I've eaten grasshoppers but almost passed out watching him consume sparrows and fried scorpions recently.

Courreges

Aaron,

I'm guessing courreges is one of the multitudinous Americans who stares at shock with me when I tell them I'm not only from New Orleans but I was born and raised when they fail to detect either a southern drawl or a "cher" every 10 words a la "Big Easy" infamy.

You'd be guessing wrong.

Our culture is as a French port city with decades under Spanish rule. We have much more in common with Trinidad than Chattanooga.

New Orleans has been part of the US since 1803, more than 200 years ago. The people here speak English pretty exclusively. Almost everything outside of the French Quarter was built after the Louisiana Purchase when the "Americans" moved in. If you check your history, you'll find that the cultural legacy of the colonial era is present in New Orleans, but it hardly dominates. Most of the city was settled by Americans and European immigrants, and later by freed slaves, especially after the Civil War.

It might give you a warm fuzzy to think of New Orleans as Caribbean rather than southern if you don't like the culture and politics of the south, but that doesn't make it so.

Courreges can looks at a political map as well, we're the only hotspot in Louisiana consistently blue surrounded by pulsating red.

This is true of most major urban areas in the south. Houston has never elected a Republican mayor in its entire history. Atlanta is commonly known as the Democratic stronghold of Georgia. I could go on and on in this vein; suffice to say that being majority Democratic doesn't distinguish New Orleans (nor does being ill-governed).

Courreges

I know that libs generally hate the south, but you guys are *really* deluding yourselves to say New Orleans isn't southern.

jeffrey

I hate when I do this but.. I turned this comment into a post.

Ray M

New Orleans is not the Deep South, which is what you're confusing "South" with. But the city is still southern in a thousand different ways, something easy enough to notice in regard to everyday food staples (grits, fried chicken, pecan pie, etc.) and music (NOLA is a roots music wonderland, with most of the roots coming not all exclusively from here, but surrounding sections of the South). Didn't Louis Armstrong always end shows with, "When It's Sleepytime Down South?" and not "When It's Sleepytime Down in the Northernmost City of the Carribean?"

Ray M

And the primary reason why New Orleans is blue instead of red on presidential election maps is the same reason it is red in other large cities, as well as rural areas such as the Miss Delta (the one south of Memphis): A black majority. There are more liberal or progressive whites here than you'd find in smaller cities or rural areas in Georgia, but ... well, check out Atlanta proper and the Raleigh-Durham area of NC sometime.

Meanwhile, check out Jefferson Parish, filled with kin of New Orleans natives, the political home turf of a guy who tried to out-family values the worst of any Deep South Republicans.

ElBuzzard

I got the impression that Alton Brown had never been to Louisiana before, and had only experienced its cuisine at the Emeril's in Atlanta. If you can call that Louisiana cuisine.

Marco

So, I confused a little:>^) Nothing new here.
When I come to New Orleans from NY State, in what direction do I point my private turbo prop jet? Or what should I tell my private naked woman pilot?

Marco

Maybe you could have a blinking "Fuckmook" sign on the top of Perdido St.? That would help my pilot. She's easily confused too and drinks heavily while piloting to boot.

ashley

Marco: remember that there are no compass points here, just lakeside, riverside, uptown and downtown, and if you want to go to the westbank, you drive due East.

ElBuzzard: I concur.

RayM is dead on with the "Deep South" and South differences. In fact, he's pretty much dead on with everything he wrote.

Courreges, man, how can a 2 time graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi *hate* the South. Not me, mang. It's just that all the history you mentioned occured in NOLA as a result of the accession and homogenization of NO into the USA. Most other places in the US have a nice linear route from the Puritans/Quakers/Mormons/"intolerant protestants of your choice" to the present. We dillydallied through Spain, France, and it had a huge, like in really big, impact on our culture.

Sure, most of us speak English now, but where else do they actually take pride in their French heritage?

Thanks for that link, Pistolette. Although I have heard some chefs say that they want to see Bourdain actually cook a whole meal.

Where can I get some live beating cobra heart, dammit?

Maitri: Bourdain, thank goodness, ain't on the food network no mo. And he doesn't have too many good things to say about them, either.

And Aaron, I think the best store-bought sweet tea around is the Borden you can get at Winn Dixie. Like you said, equal parts strong tea and simple syrup.

Courreges

ashley,

You've heard of the six flags of Texas, haven't you? Do you think it was JUST New Orleans that was subject to French and Spainish rule? There are many things that make NO unique, but having been ruled by different colonial powers before the Louisiana purchase ain't one of them.

Cousin Pat from Georgia

OK, the thing about New Orleans vs. the South and Alton Brown being from Georgia. I can speak to many of these issues.

First of all, New Orleans' culture is not really dominated by the South, but Southern culture is tremendously affected by New Orleans. You have to look at it that way, or it doesn't make sense.

The sweet tea thing is absolutely shocking, but there are historical reasons for it. The reason folks like Alton and folks like me from Georgia think that there would be sweet tea in New Orleans is because we thought y'all invented it, and we are raised from the time we are little to recognize that there is no sweet tea to the NORTH. Whenever we drive south, we expect to find sweet tea in abundance because this knowledge is how we were raised. I'd bet us folks from Georgia would have difficulty believing there was no sweet tea in Havana.

I mean, what, you take sugar with your college football but not with your tea?

jeffrey

Courreges,

But Texas isn't exactly the Deep South either. It instead has it's own very diverse and distinctive culture. As does the Mississippi Delta region... as does the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Mobile... as do many other sub-regions of the South that aren't exactly archetypal Southern.

What Ray says is right on. New Orleans is its own unique place. Aspects of it are indeed Southern but others are French and Spanish and Creole and Carribean and African and Italian and Irish and German.

It has surprising cultural similarities to New York in its wide ethnic diversity which stems from its status as a port town... well after its Americanization.

And yes it is certainly Southern in many many ways.. but it's not Atlanta.. and there is no sweet tea.

Mr. Clio

Wait a minute. What's all this talk about culture and stuff, when no one's talking about your getup in the picture?

If they make that in black and gold, Berto and I may have to ditch the jumpsuits.

ashley

Courreges, wouldn't you say that Texas has a much stronger Spanish/Mexican influence than Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama, all of which flew the Spanish flag?

and Clio, I'm very upset that nobody noticed a) the man bulge, 2) the fact that I'm wearing colored leather in San francisco, iii) the sheer masculinity of the picture.

Marco

Professor, now that you mention the man bulge, colored leather in SF and the sheer masculinity of it all, no wonder they're questioning the sweet pea, sorry tea, thing.

Courreges

jeffrey,

I agree that Texas isn't "archetypal Southern," but then again no part of the south simply exemplifies the region. There are commonalities and differences, but nobody argues that there aren't differences by sub-regions. However, the mere presence of different sub-regions doesn't make a clearly southern city like New Orleans or Houston any less southern.

In truth, many aspects of New Orleans are more southern that those of the stereotypical "new South" cities.

Texas does have a greater Spanish influence than NO, but of course France only ruled Texas for five years, while Spain ruled Texas both before and after for a much longer period.

Then again, there are French in both NO and Texas. I can trace my ancestry back to Louis XVI's personal secretary who was later stationed in New Orleans during the colonial period on my mother's side. I can also trace my way back to a French immigrant who became a barber in Austin, my great grandfather, on my father's side. What really makes an American city is the melting pot, and you find it most everywhere you go.

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