Well...maybe this should be called an non-report since all I have to report is what I didn't find! But there are some finds to share.
First, while reading Chowhound and other internet sites, I've been picking up some names of places that, I got the sense, no longer existed. We (my wife and I) wanted to double-check those rumors. Any info other than what I have here would be appreciated.
MISS ASHLEY'S on Van Ness downtown is gone, and there's no sign of it on the 3000 block of North Maroa. SAVANNAH'S at the Hotel Virginia downtown is also nowhere to be seen, and somewhere I picked up an address on W. Orleans Ave., but it's merely a residential neighborhood. And no sign that we could find of TAMKIO'S SOUL FOOD at Cedar and Clinton.
We did stop at LOUIE KEE'S MARKET (1041 Tulare St. at B St.) because of a recent Fresno Bee article that suggested it carried a number of cajun grocery items. They carry a number of seasoning mixes and Louisiana boxed food items (seafood fry and batters, stove-top side-dishes like jamabalya, gumbo, and bean and rice dishes) from companies such as Zatarain's, Tony Chachere's, and a couple of other name brands. We also found Steen's (and another brand's) syrups, as well as some Louisiana hot links in the meat case. While this selection is more than we can find at our local Vons or Whole Foods, we were somewhat underwealmed.
On a whim, however, we also stopped at CENTRAL FISH CO. (G St. and Kern St. in the old Chinatown) to get some tasty shrimp for a shrimp etouffee. Lo and behold we found the same variety of cajun/creole seasonings and stove-top boxed foods as we saw at Louie Kee's. I would venture to say that Central Fish Co. has a slightly better selection of these items. No sausages, boudins, or andouille, though; Central Fish Co., after all, is a seafood and largely-Japanese grocery store.
While buzzing around the Fresno Chinatown we happened to notice a place called MR. ED'S BAR-B-QUE (1342 Tulare St.). The sign advertised "Louisiana Homestyle Cooking". Unfortunately, according to another hand-made sign on the front gate, Mr. Ed's is closed indefinitely due to his military service. Let's hope he makes it home safely for two reasons: (1) so that he can be home safe-and-sound with his friends and family, and (2) so that he can reopen his restaurant. Anybody know anything about this place?
In the meantime, we'll try Sam's BBQ at Shaw and Marks, and we'll continue to make our pilgimages to San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas to satisfy our cravings for a "lagniappe" of New Orleans.