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3 New Orleans Butchers - Making Boudin

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy Boudin, and that’s kinda the same thing.” ~ The Louisiana Cajun

The Edge of The French Quarter


I started exploring New Orleans (NOLA) back in 2016, the home of our cousins twice removed, and neighbor to my wife’s home city, Mobile, Alabama. NOLA is a culture deeply rooted in diversity, history, and food. It’s a city that gets deep into your soul, if you are willing to allow it. Flying in, you can almost hear the music hallowing through Preservation Hall out into streets. It makes you want to dance, sing, and let all inhibitions go. French Quarter and Garden District streets are historically narrow, with a sense of old world charm. Most of the homes are salmon and teal colored, laiden with stucco. The tile roofing is seated as a testament to its ability to withstand hurricanes and floods, most of the time.

People live just below sea level along the confines of 20 foot levees, where you can feel the sewer caps bubbling up and reseating themselves back into place as the water table moves up and down on the Mississippi River. Walking the sidewalks, you have to look down to protect your ankles as you may miss an ongoing water line repair or broken slate slab. The feeling I get once arrived on the scene begins with an overwhelming wave of lovingkindness, along with high energy and the want to let it all go. I find myself following the jazz players in the streets, celebrating a wedding or baptism of their newest family member. Prideful. The city found its way into my heart a long time ago, and I sometimes long for it. Now that we are here, living in the Southeast it's imperative I research the food culture and the history of New Orleans. Beginning with Boudin, a pork and rice product prepared and slow boiled in sausage casings. Some places actually smoke the Boudin too. Its a historical food that has evolved over time.

The Quarter

The Food Scene & Surrounding Neighborhoods

Local food is everywhere in the city, but The French Quarter is where we all end up for fun. The food scene over the years has decided to stretch their legs and reach out into neighboring communities with larger footprints and the ability to entice locals as well as visitors. You see, they lost 600,000 residents just after Katrina, and it took down a whole economy. NOLA has large business and oil presence, biotechnology and cutting edge medical care. Tech innovation was popping up in the Garden District and beyond into neighboring communities that never saw foot traffic from visitors. People were and still are going beyond the boundaries of The French Quarter to taste some of the most amazing local meats, hot sauce, and seafood.

Tourists were flocking onto the scene as Katrina decided to wash away the culture and start over. Unfortunately, some people did not return - for fear they would lose everything once again. The one thing that stayed in place was the food scene, and in fact it pushed the boundaries of the meaning of food and its mainstay dishes. Taking recipes we all know and love in their Southern form to an explosion of flavor and amazement in our mouths.

Cochon, near the waterfront in the Warehouse District prepares and sells over 2000 lbs of meat each week, making their Boudin from scratch. Their product is harvested from locally owned and organic farms throughout Louisiana. As a customer, I enjoy their Boudin and cured meats. The red wine from California is carefully selected to pair with many layers of the smokey goodness. Especially, their smoked watermelon with a good Pinot Noir.

The Mid City neighborhood is home to roadside smoked meats at local car washes, wafting into your window as you drive in the The French Quarter. Unsure about neighborhood proximity and parking, most people become passersby. But, Creole Country Sausage, opened since 1979 paid just $500 for a series of local sausage and Boudin recipes. They run their operation out of a “Shotgun” house destroyed by Katrina. And, finally resumed operations and make over 11 products, including Smoked Boudin.

Just a few blocks from the New Orleans Museum of Art, is Isaac Toups Meatery. From his restaurant you can pivot into Mid City, Treme’ Lafitte, or The Seventh Ward to explore local food and less conspicuous restaurants. After lunch or dinner, ride up Marconi Drive to explore The Lake Pontchartrain waterfront, and maybe take a walk along the beach.

Wrapping It Up

Boudin is not something we all go looking for as a rule of thumb, its something that finds us and reaches deep into our soul. Its a taste of history and when made by local Southerners and smoked it becomes an unbelievable food immersion. ⧫

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