Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Orleans, LA

My husband's stepmom is Sicilian and brought the tradition of St. Joseph's Tables with her. Saw a couple of her tables in person, read some books, did some research and then made a couple of Tables myself. Used this year as an opportunity to visit New Orleans, LA, the place with the most St. Joseph's Tables in the U.S. (not to mention largest population of Sicilians outside of Sicily).
Oak Alley Plantation
It takes some doing getting from Northern California to New Orleans, it's not a simple process. Buy plane tickets during hurricane season for flights not during hurricane season for the best prices. Expect airplane delays. It's well worth a once-in-a-lifetime visit, though. My aunt has relatives who go quite often, and I personally couldn't do that.
Our March 15-19th trip could not have been better. The weather was perfect, in the low 70s; excitement for St. Patrick's Day; the Mardi Gras Indians out for Super Sunday; great development for the Super Bowl (still rebuilding after 2005's Hurricane Katrina); delicious seafood in season, etc., etc. not to mention the 100+ St. Joseph's Tables/Altars prepared. (Watching the local information station, one's under the impression there is always a weekend parade happening in New Orleans. It might be impossible to visit when "something's" not happening.)
St. Francis-Xavier in Metairie, LA's 2013 St. Joseph's Table
Altar bread in the shape of a crawfish
Altar bread in the shape of an alligator
Details of Fig Cookies, Egg Baskets (dough using fancy exacto-knife cuts)
Details of a take-home bag from a home celebrating their 25th St. Joseph Table
Obviously, we loved our trip. My husband said he'd visit again, while I have other places I'd like to see before traveling to NOLA again. Could not live there, but it was a spectacular place to visit with it's 300+ year history. For starters, there are an unreasonable amount of people who've died from brain cancer. Without any scientific proof, I concluded that it makes sense that pesticides and chemicals coming down the Mississippi River from the heartland of America cause this awful phenomenon. The shrimp in Louisiana was a revelation. Have never tasted such good shrimp, and suspect I never will. The people seem very honest, friendly and hardworking (there wasn't a time during our trip we felt threatened). Hope that we figure out a way to stop poisoning our fellow citizens at the end of the Mississippi River.

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