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Ketchup Potato

April 22, 2010

The flower is right outside my house. It blooms for 1 day and then curls up. Spring foliage is amazing in New Orleans.

As much as I enjoy the people who were born and raised in New Orleans, the transplants are often more intriguing to me. Sunday night I was invited to Family Pizza Night at Elsa Hahne and Patrick Mackey‘s house in Gentilly. Elsa is from Sweden, but has lived in France and the US (New York and New Orleans) since her very early twenties. She dazzled us with her beautiful blonde daughters and her skills in the kitchen, not to exclude Jackie’s homemade pizza dough and Trygvva’s 15 minute pizza dough marathon where he created a beautiful crust in a matter of 15 minutes, pizza in hand in under 30 minutes. Elsa and I got to visit Okereea Costume Shop the next day over lunch (one of her neighbors is a costume crafter) and see where the thousand-plus dollar costumes originate. As a seamstress I’m fascinated by the construction, but as a new comer to New Orleans, I’m equally fascinated by the culture that encourages and embraces costuming.

The next night was filled with more transplants, an Alaskan JD student, Eric, and a Colombian LLM student, Juan Pablo, who both survive on ham and cheese and little sleep now that Tulane’s finals are just around the corner. I fed them salmon, scallops, greens, and roasted potatoes and onions. For dessert, we let the fruit tart play second fiddle to the fresh-baked bread that Eric provided that had to wait to be baked until after dinner. We spent the minutes waiting for the bread to cool explaining colloquial English phrases to Juan Pablo after “couch potato” came out as “ketchup potato” in his Spanish accent, quite possibly my favorite word replacement (although I also loved that “pneumonia” sounds exactly like “no money,” and when used in a sentence interchangeably, completely changes the context). The word “hippopotamus” was also a popular pronunciation in English, French and Spanish. Eric speaks Japanese too, but his vocab has yet to expand to killer water buffalo.

This weekend is the first weekend of Jazz Fest. It’s perfect weather, a huge line-up, and friends will be visiting from out of town. I’m hoping to catch a handfull of artists I’ve never seen: Aretha Franklin, Simon and Garfunkel, Lionel Richie, Funky Meters and My Morning Jacket, glad that I can see most of the local acts on small stages without battling the crowds any day of the week. I’m excited to see what happens to this city after seven full days of music.

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