Here are three
ways to experience New Orleans:
- During Mardi Gras,
with about 50 million other people
- Through the pages
of John Kennedy Toole's comic masterpiece,
A Confederacy of Dunces
- In the dead heavy
heat of August
I'll leave the documentation
of Mardi Gras to others. However,
many of you may be unfamiliar with A
Confederacy of Dunces, the brilliant,
wacky, gloriously sidesplitting novel by
John Kennedy Toole. Mr. Toole's short
life (1937-1969) tragically ended when he
took his own life, and it wasn't until some
eight years later, in 1976, that his unpublished
manuscript was pushed into the hands of
one Walker Percy by Toole's faithful mother.
The rest is, as they
say, history. If you read only one
funny book in your lifetime, this is the
book you should read. As Percy states
in his introduction the novel, the great "tragedy
is the body of work we have been denied."
But the gift is that we have this
book to enjoy.
Read an affectionate
by Meredith Renwick, or order the book through
New Orleans Heat
In Santa, CEO,
Santa visits the city in August, when the
region labors under the heat and humidity
of the late-summer Gulf. On those
hot days, the best time to enjoy the city
is either at night (Bourbon Street is always
wild, no matter what) or early in the morning,
when the air is cooler and the tavern owners
are busy hosing off the sidewalk in front
of their shops.
Early morning is a great
time to stroll the length of the French
Quarter and down to the market area, or
to take in the barracks and the Cathedral,
or just to stroll the waterfront.
If you're so inclined,
you can follow in Santa and Roxy's footsteps
and take one of the many bayou tours that
are offered. You'll experience the
heat and decay so natural to this part of
the world, and you should have no difficulty
cozying up to an alligator or two.
French Quarter cuisine
is of course marvelous, Cajun cooking not
to be missed. You can get anything
from simple fare, jambalaya to wake
up your taste buds and étouffée to
satisfy your craving for crawfish. Or, if
elegance is your preference (and money is
no object) visit Arnaud's and be sure to
order the cherries jubilee.
Follow That Sleigh!
There are tons of sites
on New Orleans and Mardi Gras. Here's