Fat Tuesday, mm, hmmm. Mardi Gras! We love celebrating it in my family! We began commemorating the day soon after taking a few trips to New Orleans in the early 90’s.
I was working for Southwest Airlines as a reservationist and earning space available passes for not missing any work days in a quarter. My father was often in New Orleans recruiting teachers, so my mother, sister and even my grandmother one time, flew to Louisiana on my passes and stayed with Dad.
I believe mother and I went first and rented a car to do River Road and visit several plantations such as Destrehan and San Francisco plantation. The latter home was built in 1865 and prompted the novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes to write Steamboat Gothic. I have a collection of about 8 of her old novels.
I remember being blown away by the camellia bushes. They were such gorgeous flowers and they don’t grow well here in San Antonio.
But, back to New Orleans. We began to experiment with the Cajun and Creole dishes. Mom got to where she could make a killer shrimp gumbo and my sister makes wonderful shrimp etouffee. My friends and I once stood in line at KPaul’s for an hour or more just to soak up the atmosphere and eat too, of course!We make jambalaya frequently and red beans and rice is a favorite too.
Pat and I even stayed in New Orleans one night of our honeymoon. I bought a beautiful quilt at the French Market for $25 and still cherish it.
We loved to visit Longue Vue House and Gardens with its beautiful azaleas, camellias and gardenias.
And there is the Beauregard-Keyes house on Chartres Street in the French Quarter. It is a museum highlighting the lives of the inhabitants General Beauregard and the previously mentioned Frances Parkinson-Keyes. Another favorite in the Quarter is the Cornstalk fence outside the aptly named Cornstalk Hotel on Royal St.
There is so much to do and see in and around New Orleans! Here is a few pics of sister and brother-in- law exploring.
Now, to celebrate tonight, we are having my sister’s Shrimp Etouffee with Rice, a salad and a King Cake. I’m buying the king cake because Jolie got the baby out of last year’s cake so we are responsible for this year’s cake.
I’ll leave you with this recipe for my sister’s Shrimp Etouffee –
If this sounds too complicated, buy a box of Zatarain’s jambalaya mix and add sausage and shrimp as directed. Easy and delicious too!
Laissez les bons temps rouler,