Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lunch at Rita's

Best ever!

New Orleans in August is a muggy and slow month.  Walking down the French Quarter at noon left us queasy, all 6 of us.  Well, make it 6 ½ if one counts an 8 month little girl named Lily.

The heat was too much for us, so we ducked into a old, beaten-up restaurant called “Rita’s”.  It boasted air conditioning, and we didn’t even look at the menu posted in the window. 

As we walked into the boisterous dining room, full of laughter and bad jokes, the atmosphere changed, abruptly; everything went silent.  We were the only white folk in an all- black eating establishment.  The menus were slapped on the table and chipped glasses with tepid water were slid across the table.

What should we do?  What will we do?  What… were the words in our combined minds. But one thing, one event only, broke the thick air in a hostile room.

Daddy and Lily, who is about 18 months here

Lily started laughing and waving at the ones whose eyes looked at her.  “’lo..hello..” she cast around the restaurant like fairy dust.

Smiles, and “How old is she…what’s her name…?”  Conversation opened up as if we were old friends, laughter and stories.


Man, that food was unbelievable, pure New Orleans.  Forget about the famed chefs who had their own cookbooks.  This was good food.

We paid and left, saying good-bye, and Lily waving at all, “g’bye!”


Someday, if and when we return to New Orleans, we will stop at Rita’s.  Good food, good people.
A composite photo, a year after Rita's

29 comments:

  1. And a little child shall lead them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Children don't know boundaries between people, do they? I love it!!

    Also, thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting. I appreciate it :) Coming back after a long hiatus can be frightening but the familiar faces have made it a homecoming :) Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just so glad to see you back. Have always enjoyed your blog. Keep 'em coming!

      Delete
  3. Children can teach us SO much. Beautiful! I'm glad you stayed and ate and that the food was good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't want to leave, even though we felt uncomfortable with the sudden silence.

      Delete
  4. Kids know how to get people to come together

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the playground or in the stroller, kids come together.

      Delete
  5. Children speak the universal language.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really do, don't they. I smile at every baby, say something, and receive a smile back.

      Delete
  6. Trust a child to break the ice.
    Often the best places to eat are a little hidden among the glitz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lily considered everyone a friend then. We'd say, Lily was "networking".

      Delete
  7. Sounds wonderful!
    Children give us such precious memories. Save all those moments!.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grandpa and I talk about those moments, and all the others quite frequently. Put that with photos, and we are wealthy.

      Delete
  8. How lovely. I hope that Lily got a treat after the lesson she gave the adults. All of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think she did, although it has been ten years since then.

      Delete
  9. A child does not know color, a child does not know wealth. A child only knows hello and I want to eat. Some of the best food that I have had were in neighborhood joints. They cook for their friends and when you enter, you become one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Lily smiled and talked. She had surprisingly language skills at that young age. Still does.

      Delete
  10. I was so disappointed to have failed to find a place like Rita's during my two trips into the French Quarter around 20 years ago. I did take a long walk downtown to a restaurant heavily advertised on the radio. I think it might have been one of Emeril's, but I suppose it doesn't matter. For the place was closed on the day I found it. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We went to one of Emeril's, high cost. Rita's was real Cajun.

      Delete
  11. The only white people? I wonder how often that happens?
    It sounds like a fabulous place, glad the food was so good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seemed like a neighborhood rest., off the main street. I

      Delete
  12. Dear Susan, all Lily saw were people and she must associate people with friendliness for that's what reached everyone from where she sat at the table with you. We find what we look for. What a lovely story. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So good to see your name!!!
      Lily was then and still is one who reaches out to people.

      Delete
  13. I love seeing friendly little ones in restaurants, to hear them say, 'hi, hi, hi, hi" and they wave to everyone, and just lighten the atmosphere .It makes me want to be like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that is so true. Seeing little ones melt my heart.

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!