Written and Media by Paige Lunde.
So everyone here at Greenville knows that in January, Interterm starts and you can choose what class you want to take for only three weeks. Well, this year, I choose to take Cuisine and Culture with Professors Deloy Cole and Doug Faulkner. Let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Although many parts of class were great and seeing the new Red Panda at the St. Louis Zoo was definitely a highlight, what really made it worthwhile was our trip to New Orleans.
Our trip to New Orleans began just after 6 a.m on Thursday, January the 12th. It was a rough start, mainly because of the early rising which could have almost killed most of us but whatever. At 6:05, we got on the road and began the long ride towards New Orleans and all of its glory. Okay, so maybe the ride wasn’t that great but hey, we got to New Orleans, so that’s all that matters, right?
We arrived in New Orleans and walked around for awhile until we finally got to Mother’s where we had our first meal in New Orleans. That night it was Cajun food. We had our first gumbo (shrimp or chicken) which and our first Po Boy sandwiches, which were awesome. After Mother’s, we went and walked down Bourbon Street until we found the Preservation Hall where we saw a jazz band perform. After that, we finally went to our hotel. Although my group and I had to switch rooms only once, our professors had worse luck because they had to switch rooms four times. Poor guys.
Our first morning in New Orleans started off by the group heading to Cafe Du Monde where we got beignets and coffee (as a sidenote: it’s totally worth going to New Orleans just for the beignets). After finishing those, we split up and walked around the French Quarter. The French Quarter is pretty cool because there are these artists who hang up their work on the fences and they are really good. There are so many stores on the French Quarter ranging from toy stores to clothing shops. There was even an insane amount of voodoo places. There were so many! But after we all met back up after buying some souvenirs, we all loaded back into the vehicles to go to Dooky Chase‘s, a Soul food restaurant owned by Leah Chase, who inspired The Princess and the Frog Disney movie. We had some gumbo, of course, along with some crawfish and fried chicken, the works. We actually got to see and talk to Leah, too! Can you believe she’s 94 years old and still cooks in the kitchen for the restaurant? Talk about loving what you do, that’s dedication right there. After Dooky Chase’s, we walked around a few cemeteries. Most of the tombstones looked really old and it was really interesting to see who all was buried there and see how long they had lived. Later that night, we went to The Maison for some Creole food. There we had some more gumbo and even got to make our own Po Boy sandwich.
Saturday morning we all piled into the vehicles to go on a swamp walk which was really cool. After the swamp walk, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant called the Nile Ethiopian Restaurant which was actually pretty good despite having to eat everything with this type of bread that reminded you of a sponge. They serve the food in groups of four so all four orders are on one plate and you can mix and match if you want to. After the Ethiopian, we decided to drive down to the Waveland Beach where we spent around two and half hours just walking down the pier, picking up shells, trying to splash each other with water, and drawing circles in the sand to keep the sea bears away. Then we drove down to Bay St. Louis and stopped at the Purple Banana and even got to split up and walk around where some of us did a little shopping, window or otherwise. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Cat Island Coffeehouse, a really cute, little bookstore/coffee place. The coffee was pretty good, too, so it was worth the stop.
Sadly, we left dark and early on Sunday morning around 6 a.m. And to be honest, I think the ride back was quieter and a little sadder than the ride to New Orleans. Though we would have preferred to stay, we all grudgingly accepted that we had to return to school. If you’re a Greenville College student, consider taking the course, because you won’t regret it. And even if you’re not a student, visit New Orleans, you’ll have one of the best times, and dishes, of your life!
So glad you enjoyed our LA cuisine and hospitality. If I had known you were coming, the large group of GC alums here would have invited you in for a home-cooked LA meal! Ask Norm about our pig roasts… And you are right about the beignets – definitely worth the entire trip! Although gumbo is a close second.