Mardi Gras 2011

I’m a New Orleanian. A local … and I’m afraid I have a confession: I’m not so much for Mardi Gras … or Carnival season at all.

In fact, I tend to stay as far away from anything Mardi Gras as possible. This year, though, I was tempted for the first time in a long while to go run around and have fun. I refrained, lest I procrastinate too much. Now that the season is over, I’m really ready to go to out and enjoy some wonderful NOLA food.

Here’s the thing: What bothers me the most about the Mardi Gras season is that it feels like everything in this city shuts down for locals. Our best hole-in-the-wall restaurants are difficult to get to and the traffic is horrendous. One of my favorite breakfast spots, Surrey’s (located in the Lower Garden District), is almost impossible to drive to during the Mardi Gras season without going 30 minutes out-of-the-way. One of my other favorite spots, Cafe Rani, along Magazine Street, is accessible in the morning, but once the parades begin lining up and the tourists and locals hit the streets, the parking situation is unbelievable. Forget going downtown or to the French Quarter, unless, of course, you want to deal with a billion tourists.

Don’t get me wrong; I love that tourists come and visit and learn about New Orleans and keep our industries moving. I love the sight of tourists any day of the year, especially after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and even more so now after the BP Oil Disaster. It’s heartwarming and frankly, even brings a tear or two to my eyes every now and again. It’s just a long season of traffic and parking nightmares … it’s enough to keep me at home from 12th Night until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

Today I had lunch at Parkway Bakery. A beautiful shrimp poboy dressed, complete with a side of french fries and topped off with a side of roast beef gravy for dipping. Can we say heaven on a paper wrapper? I was so excited to have one (it had been a while) that I totally forgot to take a photo before I ate it all … so this photo is from Offbeat.

Parkway Shrimp Poboy (Photo from Offbeat Magazine -- Click for the full story!)

Even the President likes Parkway … and apparently, shrimp poboys!

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet people as they arrive to have lunch at Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans, on 08/29/2010. President Obama was scheduled to deliver an address on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at Xavier University. (Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Why are you still sitting there? There’s nothing left to read … go! Go to Parkway. Tell them we sent you.

~ nolafoodie