I'm OK, You're ...well, I'm not so sure about you

Last night, I went with a couple of people to eat at Cochon, one of New Orleans' post-Katrina culinary success stories. (I was slow to embrace Cajun food -- boudin especially -- when I first moved to La., but honestly now I think I might need to form a Fried Boudin Balls-Anon. support group. They could do a drive-thru window and sell only that by the dozen, and I'd be there every day.)

Present at dinner were: my friend Stephanie, a former New Orleans resident who now lives in Michigan; her friend, Esteban, a native resident who also happens to be a medical resident; and myself, a perpetually fretting and on-the-fence resident.

The good thing about Cochon is that, for the menu-challenged like myself (Stephanie confessed to having this affliction as well), you really can't go wrong. That phrase -- "you can't go wrong" -- is often uttered by impatient waiters who don't know/don't care/don't respect patrons who can't make their own decisions, but it happens to be true in this case. Point being: we pigged out.

Sitting at one of the bench tables just behind us was the city's esteemed recovery director, Ed Blakely. I don't know too much about him other than that he has an impressive track record helping cities rebuild after fires and earthquakes (Oakland, CA; Kobe, Japan), although a decisive hurricane recovery plan has yet to emerge under his direction.

As he was leaving, Blakely came over to our table and shook hands with each of us -- his grip was certainly impressive -- and, looking each of us in the eye, and with that politician's trademark hand gesture (sort of a sideways fist, as though you were handing someone an invisible ticket) he said, a little too loudly, "We MUST Recover!"

It was deeply weird, and it made me nervous. I wanted to ask him something pointed yet encouraging, but I couldn't come up with anything on the spot, so I said "Are you doing OK?" which my friends and I agreed was even weirder.

I think what I meant was, "And how's the recovery coming along, from your seasoned perspective?" And maybe I was attempting to abbreviate that with something like "How are we doing?" but it came out as "Are you doing OK?"

I should have just said "You sure you're alright to drive?" and let him figure out what I meant.

Overheard in The Bean Gallery (formerly City Perk):

Man: Is that your biological child?
Woman: Yes.
Man: ??
Woman: My husband is black.

(Really, who asks that of a total stranger?)

March 16, 2007 11:43 AM | | Comments (1)



When you asked him if he was ok, what did he say? I can't imagine a more daunting job right now, except maybe White House Council or the guy in charge of figuring out how to fix the traffic lights in NOLA.

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This page contains a single entry by Culture Gulf published on March 16, 2007 11:43 AM.

Bright Lights, New City was the previous entry in this blog.

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