It had been two long years since I returned home to New Orleans, and I yearned for home.  The sights, sounds and flavors called to me more distinctly with each passing day, reminding me in detail of all the things that New York City could not offer.  The stifling heat there dictates an easy pace of life that I simply cannot recreate, regardless of how many lazy afternoons at the park or the beach I fight for.  People in New Orleans live more slowly, absorbing the lush surroundings and each other, appreciating singular yet often banal moments in a way that can only exist when people don’t rush around in their own heads, and take time to smell the proverbial roses (or more likely, magnolias and live oaks).

One of my major fears was that the destruction of the local seafood industry by the BP oil spill disaster would ultimately lead to the demise of the restaurant industry, and that New Orleans would be catapulted even further down a spiral of economic disenfranchisement.  More importantly, I wondered, “Whatever’s gonna happen to all those poor poor shrimps, ersters (oysters), and crawfish?!”  I booked a ticket as fast as I could muster, determined to eat as many shellfish as possible before any local reserves were depleted for good and all was lost!  Desperate times called for desperate measures.  In training, and for comparison’s sake, I took a visit up to City Island for some fried shrimp and clams after a day at Orchard Beach.

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