Ah, The Big Easy

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It wasn’t until I started walking down Bourbon Street that it hit me how
long it has been since I’ve been to New Orleans. The media that covers
Florida used to be here all the time.

I made trips here in 1994, ’96 and ’00 for Sugar Bowls, ’97 to cover Danny
Wuerffel’s first NFL game, ’01 for a NCAA Tournament regional and ’03 for
the SEC Tournament. But it has been four years and one destructive
hurricane since I visited the Big Easy.

The biggest difference is that the Hyatt, which was always the media hotel
and is connected to the Superdome, is still dark. It sustained major
damages during Katrina and still looks like a beaten hotel. Word is that
they keep coming up with ideas to restore it, but none of them have been
implemented.

Instead, we’re a block from Bourbon Street, which doesn’t stink. Some of
the restaurants have changed but the old reliables are still there ” Cajun
Cabin, Acme Oyster, etc. I’ve always felt Bourbon Street was overrated with
so many strip clubs and T-shirt shops and a weird smell they try to wash of
the sidewalks every afternoon. But being back brought back some great
memories, especially the scene after Ohio State beat Arizona State to open
the door for the ’96 Gators to win the national football title.

But more than anything, it’s always about the food here. We went to
Irene’s Wednesday night and the pompano almondine and Oysters Irene were to
die for.

So much for my diet.