Having lived in New Orleans all my life, it was shameful that 2010 marked the first Essence Music Festival that I’d ever attended. To add insult to injury, I know many people who work for or at the Festival, some for many years, but had always taken the typical stance of a local to any sort of convention that originated from outside New Orleans, which was apathy. (My family even avoided Carnival in many ways, but that is another post for another time…)
So Friday was all about recuperating from my hangover enough to party at EMF that night for the first time, as I had 10th row seats to see my longtime childhood idol, Janet Jackson. I had one extra ticket, and decided it would be fun if I brought my little cousin, Desmond (15) who had never been to a concert before in his young life! But first, I had to refuel and make some rounds… So off to Zara’s Grocery I went for an oyster po-boy!
Zara’s Little Giant Supermarket has been on Prytania St. for at least 30 years, if not longer… It’s a neighborhood, family-owned deli and grocery that I can’t remember ever actually buying groceries at, but who needs to cook when the deli counter there serves up the most delicious sandwiches you’ve ever had?! This bread, this flaky, crusty, slightly chewy yet always soft bread that will turn rock hard when stale (yet perfect for breadcrumbs and bread pudding)… this is what French bread is. Throw on some perfectly bite sized oysters fried to golden perfection, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and hot sauce… and this is what a true New Orleans po-boy is. Nothing more, nothing less. I enjoy “bourgoisie” versions of the po-boy both here and in NYC often, but there’s nothing like the real thing…
Later, I snacked at the festival. Don’t eat at the Superdome! Stick to things that come in bottles, and save your appetite for grub elsewhere. But here are some great shots of Janet for your viewing enjoyment! I choked and tried to cover my little cousin’s eyes during the “Discipline” segment.
You’ll also be glad to know that I’ve gotten a much better cameraphone since then!