don’t worry be happy
Ironic, given MJE’s last post that I should receive a crappy medical notice just this past week. But as my loyal readers know MJE is nothing if not an optimist, glass half full, etc. That was a joke, I am a bottle ¾ empty kinda gal for sure.
But in the spirit of looking on the bright side, my first step was to make a beeline (on the sunny side of the street !) to Galatoire’s for a long boozy lunch. For those poor souls who are unfamiliar with Galatoire’s, it’s a 100+ year old restaurant that, aside from switching from gaslight to electric bulbs hasn’t changed much since it opened. You specify your waiter when you arrive signaling your status as a regular. If you don’t have one you get a newbie and sit in Siberia. Our waiter is Imre the Hungarian. He’s been there forty years and took over after Michel (my mother’s waiter) retired. Imre is wonderfully old school, hand kissing and all, plus he’s an enabler par excellence. Any ethyl alcohol request is met with an immediate heavily accented “Good idea, thank you.” The OB&C and I were joined by SOB who was in town for a wedding. Knocking on forty and having lived in Atlanta for too many years, SOB, after having gone to Galatoire’s all his life, took a look around and realized that Galatoire’s is a Technicolor dining experience in a sea of black and white restaurants. It’s not that the food is the best in the world, nor the décor, although I do love the tile floors, ceiling fans, flocked wallpaper and mirrors lining the walls (better to watch people across the room), it’s the whole ball of wax. The portly waiters in their often too tight black jackets, white shirts and tiny bow ties, the unhurried pace, the weeding out of riffraff clientele by a now quaint dress code requiring that men wear jackets and an atmosphere of civilized, convivial, well-mannered debauchery. Lunches stretch for hours. Last time we went, the OB&C and I were the last people left, just us and the waiters having their dinners before the evening rush. Some people never leave, they just stay on for dinner.
So, after a couple of rounds of bloody marys and bottles of wine, oysters Rockefeller, crabmeat maison, gumbo, soft shell crab, trout meuniere and Brabant potatoes we sauntered over to the “Slavery in New Orleans” exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection. Somewhat (but not completely, thank god) sobering subject matter but was relieved not to see my maiden family name among the owners. The OB&C’s family hails from the dreary heartland of the country so he was safe. While my forebears were all sitting on the porches of our plantations drinking mint juleps and having our mammies tighten our corsets or our house servants step and fetch it, they were slogging away inventing the steam engine or electric light bulb or something. Well, good for them. New Orleans made its own not insignificant contributions to the betterment of society with the creation of the sazerac and the gin fizz, both of which are equally enjoyable under a lamp shade, candlelight or in total darkness. No electricity required.