Happy birthday, New Orleans, located in a delightful location, at the bottom of the nation’s drainpipe, the Mississippi River. France sort of settled it, if settled is the right word. To populate it originally, France sent prisoners slaves and servants. Surrounded by hostile Native Americans and peppered by mosquitoes, they nearly revolted. To calm them, France sent 60 females straight from Paris prisons, chaperoned by a group of Ursuline nuns.
What could possibly go wrong?
Turned out to be New Orleans first successful recipe.
Garrison Keillor wrote a tribute today, and included this juicy excerpt on New Orleans. If you love New Orleans, or lovely writing, you shouldn’t miss “Jitterbug Perfume,” the best book about the place, even better than the more-famous “Confederacy of Dunces.”
Jitterbug Perfume (1984): “Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air — moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh — felt as if it were being exhaled into one’s face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze. It was aphrodisiac and repressive, soft and violent at the same time. In New Orleans, in the French Quarter, miles from the barking lungs of alligators, the air maintained this quality of breath, although here it acquired a tinge of metallic halitosis, due to fumes expelled by tourist buses, trucks delivering Dixie beer, and, on Decatur Street, a mass-transit motor coach named Desire.”
Just wanted to share this ode to my favorite city. See you tomorrow.
“Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature.” -Tom Robbins Happy birthday, New Orleans!Tweet