New Orleans, LA April 2012
New Orleans: The Crescent City, the City that Care Forgot, the Big Easy — NOLA. Call it what you like, New Orleans is home to perhaps one of the richest food cultures in the USA. The legacy of Cajun and Creole cooking has imparting pride and even a bit of gastronomic elitism in the minds and bellies of local residents. While New Orleans boasts some of the most amazing restaurants and eateries around, at the same time many parts of the city are complete Food Deserts. The Sahara of Food Deserts is indeed the Lower Ninth Ward, an area of the city that still remains underdeveloped post-Katrina. We spent a week and a half training Local Leaders and working with youth from Our School at Blair Grocery, Edible Schoolyard, and Akili Academy. Not only did the we focus on local food culture, but also micro-food cultures that exist within the same city. Our work culminated in a celebration of food fusion at the Live Earth festival the day before Earth Day, where three volunteers from the group at Our School at Blair Grocery came to prepare fresh crawfish summer rolls with fresh herbs and lettuce picked straight from OSBG’s garden. In the future The Cookbook Project is hoping to establish a long-term program in Nola.