I don't usually read GQ, mostly because I don't care who the Coolest Sports Heroes Of All Time are, and I already know that looking good while bundling up is hard (like, really, really hard). But today I came across this item on Gawker about GQ food critic Alan Richman's recent culinary trip to New Orleans, which seems like it was written only to piss New Orleanians, journalists, or simply people with emotions or senses of decency, off. You can (and should, especially if you want to get really angry) read the whole article here, but here are a few choice highlights:
New Orleans was always a three-day stubble of a city, and now, courtesy of Katrina, it's more like ?ve. The situation is worse, of course, in the devastated areas, where the floodwaters and the winds did their work. I know we are supposed to salvage what's left of the city, but what exactly is it that we're trying to cherish and preserve? I hope it's not the French Quarter, which has evolved into a illogical mix of characterless housing, elegant antiques stores, and scuzzy bars, a destination for tourists seeking the worst possible experience.
Which is interesting, because earlier in the piece, Richman said that he thoroughly enjoys the beignets at Cafe du Monde, which, besides being in the French Quarter is easily the most touristy place in New Orleans.
Supposedly, Creoles can be found in and around New Orleans. I have never met one and suspect they are a faerie folk, like leprechauns, rather than an indigenous race. The myth is that once, long ago, Creoles existed.
Not only has Richman met a Creole, he quotes one, chef Leah Chase, later on in the piece.
The bar manager [at Parkway Bakery], Derek Guth, proudly told me that the Katrina floodwaters rose so high in Parkway that a photo of the damage was on exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. (Maybe the residents of Pompeii had the same macabre sense of fulfillment, pleased that they were being buried in hot ash like none before them.)
Uh, good one. Or maybe he's just proud of the fact that he's rebuilt his restaurant from such horrible, museum-exhibit-worthy devestation. Now, it's not surprising that someone who writes for GQ would be such a total and complete prick. GQ is largely written for pricks by pricks (FPBP), and Richman is known for being acerbic and slightly mean, as is a food critic's duty sometimes, and can be fun to read. But Richman isn't just being a critical, acerbic prick in this piece, he's being a sloppily informed, poorly researched prick, and not just about the food, but about the city as a whole. Which is surprising, especially considering that Richman puts such stock in being a good journalist. He says in the podcast of this story (which you can listen to, and feel the rage come to a boil in your veins here): "Journalists are supposed to go down to the place where they're reporting on and see what's going on and report back in an unsentimental manner." He then goes on to describe one of his favorite places to eat in New Orleans: LOUISA'S By The Track. A restaurant that is, in fact, called Liuzza's By The Track. Maybe he was too busy being unsentimental to take decent notes.