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Posted: 1/4/2006 10:40:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 10:43:00 AM EDT by EricTheHun]
Gala at Galatoire’s
A restaurant reopens; a city reborn.

By Quin Hillyer

Maybe the good old New Orleans will recover after all.

Galatoire's, which along with Antoine's rates as the most storied and traditional of all of New Orleans' plethora of famous restaurants, reopened on New Year's Day. No finer celebration could be imagined.

I made the trek from Mobile with nine of my in-laws to help boost the economy of my beleaguered but resilient native city — and, of course, to enjoy one of the finest meals available on God's green earth. And also so my in-laws, New Orleans-lovers all, could see for themselves, for the first time, what had become of their favorite day-trip destination.

As bad as the destruction is — and in about three-fourths of the city, the carnage remains so horrific that you just cannot believe it unless you see it with your own eyes — it is also true that life is looking almost normal in what natives now call "The Sliver by the River," which is the older and higher section of town close to the Mississippi that includes the French Quarter, the Garden District, and uptown on the river side of St. Charles Avenue. And in that Sliver, the famed New Orleans joie de vivre and its humor in the face of adversity are both on full display. One of the hottest-selling books there, for instance, is a collection of photographs of humorous graffiti spray-painted on ruined refrigerators abandoned on the roadside. ("Free Gumbo Inside!" "Tom Benson [unpopular New Orleans Saints owner], please eat what's here.") T-Shirts feature mock-ups of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma swirling in the Gulf, under the large-caps logo of "Girls Gone Wild," or they proclaim the newest popular drink, a take-off on a margarita called a KatrinaRita. Or they feature numerous theories as to what FEMA actually stands for, the most printable being Federal Employees Missing Again; or what the New Orleans Police Department initials represent, as in "Not Our Problem, Dude."

Walking past all the Bourbon Street t-Shirt shops, therefore, put us all in a good mood even before we set foot in Galatoire's, where local TV cameras recorded the joy of the grand reopening.

The famous ground-floor dining area — one long, narrow, mirrored room, elegant in the old French bistro style rather than grandly ornate like some of the other New Orleans restaurants — was, of course, jam-packed with happy diners. We, however, had secured a table in the well-appointed upstairs dining room. It's a little quieter, but no less convivial. And it was as if no hurricane had ever landed. The wait staff was as superb as ever. The drinks were perfectly mixed. The French bread was the pluperfect New Orleans style, crispy on the outside and somewhat airy in the middle — and, of course, served warm and fresh.

And the menu was the same as ever — everything perfectly prepared, rich, delicious. The famous appetizers, most notably the Shrimp Remoulade and the Crabmeat Maison, featured the accustomed subtle-but-distinct and unsurpassed flavors. The entree specialties — Trout (Meunière) Amandine and either Filet Bernaise or Lamb Chops Bernaise — harkened back to the best dining experiences of days gone by. The desserts, the wines, the atmosphere, indeed everything, all advertised in savory tastes and unselfconscious grace that the best of New Orleans can never be destroyed.

Michelle Galatoire, granddaughter of founder Leon, personally checked on our party about five or six times. She explained that the restaurant itself weathered Katrina just fine, but that the electricity was out so long that their custom-built, walk-in refrigerator, and all that was in it, was ruined — and had to be painstakingly removed and replaced, which was quite a feat of engineering. About 80 percent of the staff has returned, though, and the commitment to excellence, new refrigerator included, is as great as ever.

The wondrous meal finally over, back out on Bourbon Street, the foot traffic was almost as heavy, and every bit as simultaneously exuberant and hung-over/bleary-eyed, as on any New Orleans Sunday. On a football field in Tampa, the beloved Saints were putting the finishing touches on another loss, just as they have for most of their 39 years in existence. Le plus ça change, le plus... oh, you all know what I mean. The heart of New Orleans, saucy and generous and rich and able to laugh at (and sometimes even embrace) disasters on the weather charts and on the gridiron, will never change.

Galatoire's is back, which means that even if everything's not entirely right with the world, at least enough is right for the celebration of life to continue. Now, please spoon up another dollop of bernaise sauce for my lamb chops, and pour me a KatrinaRita. Let's all "pass a good time, cher." There's a jazz band in the next block, and it's a wonderful world.

— Quin Hillyer, a New Orleanian by birth and for life, is an editorial writer and columnist for the Mobile Register.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/hillyer200601040813.asp

Eric The(Wistful)Hun
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:51:03 AM EDT
Is this a place you've frequented Hun?
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:02:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KAINAM-13:
Is this a place you've frequented Hun?


It's my very favorite 'name' restaurant in New Orleans!

I always take Miz Hun there every time we go to that city.

The customers who go there are all 'old' New Orleans folks!

And the food and service are fantastic!

And the prices are not too bad...really.

Eric The(Gustatory)Hun
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:09:34 PM EDT
I read a couple months back that only about 20% of businesses had started up again (by that time). Some estimated it would take them as long as two years, just to get construction repairs done.

We had some people going on a construction/tarp crew around here; did they go? Are they back? Are they still there?...
~
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:12:15 PM EDT
Yay! Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars later, and some damned restaurant has reopened! Hip-hip, huzzah!

Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:26:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Yay! Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars later, and some damned restaurant has reopened! Hip-hip, huzzah!




When you understand that New Orleans prides itself on its cuisine above
almost everything, you'll realize the importance of Galatoire's reopening.
It's all about one's perspective.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:28:24 PM EDT
Let me check.....
nope, I'm fresh out of 'giveadamn'
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:35:13 PM EDT
I think that we either just got one or are getting one of those in Baton Rouge soon. Should be great. I love the one in NO
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 7:53:32 PM EDT
I can think of a many other places I would like to see re-open :

Bayona
Mr. B's Bistro
GW Fins
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 8:03:28 PM EDT
I still see that there are a lot of people who do not see the scope of how much damage was done. I am just glad that the storm did not pass 30 miles closer to the west. It will be sad to know how my fellow ar15ners will be talking about me.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 8:06:10 PM EDT
Dragos'. charbroil oysters. I should be there before the end of the month.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 10:06:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ClayP:
I can think of a many other places I would like to see re-open :

Bayona
Mr. B's Bistro
GW Fins



Mr.B's bathrrom flooded... Mr.B's is still one of my favorites.

Bayona can burn down for all I care, worst meal I've ever had.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:06:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Yay! Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars later, and some damned restaurant has reopened! Hip-hip, huzzah!



How much did you contribute towards the bill?

I'll send you a check!

Of course, it might be difficult for you to negotiate a check for less than 1/10000 of one red cent.

But that wll be your problem.

Eric The(OverlyGenerous)Hun
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:37:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2006 5:40:57 AM EDT by AR15fan]
Thanks to the hard work of illegal immigrants in the construction industry.

I wonder if you can pay your bill there with food stamps?
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:46:17 AM EDT
Where is this place located?
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:47:18 AM EDT
Any word on Mosca's oven in Avondale? Damn, I'm gettin hungry.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 7:14:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Thanks to the hard work of illegal immigrants in the construction industry.


Just as it is in every single area of this great country.

Wouldn't you agree?

I wonder if you can pay your bill there with food stamps?

IF food stamps are accepted in up-scale restaurants in Orange County, Kali, then I think it's safe to assume that they would be in New Orleans.

Are they?

Eric The(Equitable)Hun
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 7:19:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Where is this place located?


If you're referring to Galatoire's, then it is 209 Bourbon Street, in the French Quarter, at the corner of Bourbon and Iberville.

Eric The(FormerTourGuideForN'awlins)Hun
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 10:47:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Floppy_833:
I read a couple months back that only about 20% of businesses had started up again (by that time). Some estimated it would take them as long as two years, just to get construction repairs done.

We had some people going on a construction/tarp crew around here; did they go? Are they back? Are they still there?...
~




We went. We got screwed. We lost thousands of dollars each. We're back.

Live the dream here:

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=391690&page=4
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 11:12:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By callgood:
Any word on Mosca's oven in Avondale? Damn, I'm gettin hungry.



They were putting a new metal roof and doing some building repairs. Next time I pass i will stop and see when they plan on opening. You know you have a good buisness when you are cash only and you need to make reservations and I find the menu very limited. i do not know how the place will look on the inside when finished but before it was like stepping back into the 50s'. Carlos Marcollos used to own a lot of land in that area. That is all i have to say about that.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 11:41:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By EricTheHun:
How much did you contribute towards the bill?



Too much.



I'll send you a check!...



For 'too much'? That'll be a trick. Regardless, I don't like my money going to subsidize people who make bad decisions, be they jobless crackheads or morons who live below sealevel, next to the sea, in a hurricane-prone area.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 12:39:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2006 12:40:32 PM EDT by EricTheHun]

Originally Posted By Tomislav:

Originally Posted By EricTheHun:
How much did you contribute towards the bill?


Too much.


If you don't have the answer, just admit you don't have the answer.

Originally posted by Eric The Hun:
I'll send you a check!...



For 'too much'?

I cannot be responsible for your utter failure to come up with a correct answer.

Regardless, I don't like my money going to subsidize people who make bad decisions, be they jobless crackheads or morons who live below sealevel, next to the sea, in a hurricane-prone area.

Sorry you think you live in a world that requires no seaports.

In the real world in which the rest if us live, seaports, especially those deep-water seaports such as New Orleans, are absolutely necessary for the economy of nations.

Say, you wouldn't be living in an area which requires the shipment of products on the Mississippi River system, would you?

Naw....that would merely prove that you are especially ignorant in your views of New Orleans!

And we know you wouldn't want to show your asinity in such a ridiculously obvious manner.

Eric The(Right?)Hun
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