Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday Facts & Maps: Tchoupitoulas Street.

I figure it's good to stimulate the brain on a slightly random & nerdy level on Fridays, since I know I have a hard enough time focusing on work, when I'd rather be pondering forward in my psyche on the things that will be occurring during the coming weekend. For example--I have a spa treatment and my husband's business fraternity reunion this weekend (as well as posting this week's Cajun recipe, which will, just FYI, include a BONUS recipe of what to do with leftovers, assuming you have any.)

So, why not throw a little education into your Friday? And if that education just HAPPENS to be about Louisiana, then hey, I've done my job. I personally enjoy learning something new every day, so I hope this contributes to your knowledge base. (For my readers that actually live in Louisiana, I guess I'll have to try to dig extra deep for my pearls of wisdom.) ;)

So anyway--Tchoupitoulas Street, in New Orleans. It's one of the longest streets in the city, following the river along the east-then-south side of the city between Canal Street and East Road, where it dead ends at Audubon Park. In the portions of the Uptown area it acts as the river road, located just inside the levee. When I lived in New Orleans, we lived Uptown just a few blocks north of Tchoupitoulas, but pretty well the only time we went down to Tchoupitoulas was to go to the Super Wal-Mart (fun fact--people in New Orleans are kind of antiWal-Mart--so demonstrated by the fact that there are only TWO on the East Bank of the city, the one on Tchoupitoulas being the only one in the actual city of New Orleans. I currently live in a city of 200,000 people & we have 5 Wal-Marts within city limits.), or to go to Clancy's Restaurant to pick up one of their famous key lime icebox pies.

Like so many street and city names in Louisiana, Tchoupitoulas is infamous for being misspelled and mispronounced, but the the proper pronunciation is "chop-uh-tool-us". My favorite story about the street comes from a book called "Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children, and Other Streets of New Orleans" by John Chase:

One morning a police officer found a dead horse lying in the street at the corner of Common and Tchoupitoulas streets. He took out his notebook to record the incident. After several futile efforts to spell Tchoupitoulas, he grabbed the horse by the tail and pulled it a block down the street. "Dead horse at the corner of Common and Magazine," he wrote.

For your reference, here is the intersection from the anecdote:

Note: to keep this at least somewhat food related, I've left the map zoomed out a bit to show some of the famous restaurants in the area (thus the "Maps" part of the "Facts & Map". Feel free to use these if you have travel planned to the area.)

Palace Cafe: The first time I visited this restaurant, the special of the day was a panneed rabbit stuffed with proscuitto and gruyere cheese. If you visit here & they're serving it as the chef's special, GET IT. You will not be disappointed. If they don't have it, I highly recommend the Catfish Pecan.
Restaurant August: One of Chef John Besh's restaurants, it's situated in a gorgeous 1800's creole building. The menus run a bit high dollar for my budget, but they get rave reviews, so I doubt there's a bad meal to be had if you're in the mood to splurge.
Mothers: This was one of the first restaurants I visited when I moved to New Orleans. We got there and the line was out the door and down the block, and I was terrified that we were going to be waiting forever and a day. But, the line moved rather quickly--because, as I learned inside, the order line was set up cafeteria style. Use your time in the line to decide what you want, because the staff is ready as soon as you get up to the counter. I personally love the deliciously messy Debris Po-boy, though they're famous for their baked ham.

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