The debauchery of Mardi Gras may have subsided, but New Orleans is still in the news. NOLA newspaper Gambit Weekly has an encouraging series of articles on its Best of New Orleans website about the resurgence of southern Louisiana products, from crawfish to Dixie beer to oysters.
After a scanty hurricane-ravaged season in 2006 that found prices high, local processing plants still closed, and supplies low to nonexistent, this year’s Louisiana crawfish hauls are hoppin’ so far, much to the delight of everyone from backyard bayou boilers to high-end chefs.
The comeback of Dixie beer, the last beer to be commercially bottled in the city, is a little more tenuous. Dixie’s massive brick brewery on Tulane Avenue was flooded by Katrina, then stripped by looters, and since then local bars have been hoarding their supplies of Dixie and Blackened Voodoo. Now, just in time for the company’s 100th birthday, the beer will again be produced, this time at Heiner Brau, a small German-style brewery in Covington, Louisiana. Batches will remain small for the time being, until Dixie’s owners can set up other brewing operations around the country for the national market.
And as for oysters, the Louisiana Oyster Task Force (which sounds like a pistol-packing, tough-shucking quasi-governmental ATF spin-off but is actually an oyster-industry trade group) is sponsoring shucking and eating contests at a Bourbon Street park this Thursday as part of their Oyster Jubilee event promoting the local bivalve.