La. - I slid into Slidell about
and rushed to the aptly-named
Box. The restaurant is an unpre-
box-shaped building with
painted on its muddy blocks.
was the only vehicle in the entire
lot, and anywhere alse that fact
have given me pause. Usually you
judge a restaurant by the number of
outside. Here in Louisiana, an
lot didn't slow me down one whit.
people have so many choices for
fare, they can't possibly patron-
them all. Not every night.
heard of starving artists; this is
land of starving chefs. If this restau-
were in Buckhead, the line would
around the block.
shrimp was cooked just right. The
was to die for I stared at the poster
an alligator on it and a wall of empty
and chewed my French loaf.
that sandwich in record time.
just something about the first meal
side of the state line.
better place to visit around
than Louisiana, home of
turkey and Tums? Many tour the
Land at Christmas. Why not a
pilgrimage to the birth state
there's a boat in the bayou with
name on it. I conveniently cooked up a
column ideas in this direction. My plan
to make this Thanksgiving a movable
cooked my own Thanksgiving
in the past. Well, OK, have
I chopped things.
the year's most complicated meal is
far out of my range; it's like asking
Willie to sing opera.
years back I wised up and decid-
to leave all preparations to the big lea-
One Thanksgiving I spent in
the little town across the big
from New Orleans.
not a prettier town on the face
the earth. It's also home to the asylum
they sent Earl Long when he
even crazier than usual. Only Earl,
governor, fired those in charge and went
back to the capital to create a lot more
is a great place to observe
Orleans - from a distance. I sat on a
of a restaurant that used to be an
house and looked across Lake
at the bright lights. I am too
for most French Quarter nonsense, but
Orleans sure looks good from a porch
year I went one better. For a few
I slept on a shantyboat in the
Swamp, enjoying the total
hear sounds in the swamp and
know their source. You really don't
Thanksiving dinner I ate an oyster
With cranberry sauce. The next
some friends cooked a duck, Cajun-
That means it involved a lot of
garlic and thyme. It was the best
I've ever tasted. Either that, or I was
hungry fried shoe leather would have
is smarter than most states
self-promotion. This place knows
makes it different, and knows that's
makes it good.
to get aggravated with Memphis,
instance, for billing itself as a trans-
hub. Who cares? It was a won-
city with the blues, barbecue,
and the mother of all rivers. So
did it advertise itself? As the home of
Ex. Go figure.
on the other hand, has fig-
out that people come here to eat.
on major holidays.
Grimsley Johnson is a columnist for the
Atlanta Journal Constitution and King Features