Restaurant Row is a collective blog put together by the Restaurant Recovery team, a group of undergraduate students and one professor from the University of New Orleans. We are studying the restaurants in the immediate vicinity of Carrollton Avenue and Canal Street in New Orleans, an area that has long been home to an eclectic collection of eating establishments. The area was deeply devastated by the 2005 floods, but rebuilding in the neighborhood has been substantial. Situated in a residential area, the neighborhood is not as significant a tourist destination as some of the city’s more famous neighborhoods, but it is central to both automobile and street car traffic and is frequented by residents from the immediate area and further afield. The neighborhood is home to a few of the city’s most well-known restaurants including Mandina’s, Venezia and Angelo Brocato’s. In the post-Katrina years, the neighborhood has also been marked by a wave of new restaurants that may reflect the city’s changing demographics, including Doson Noodle House, Taqueria Guerrero Mexico, and El Reconsito. There are also a number of new restaurants that may represent other kinds of new interests in the area, including Cafe Minh, Theo’s Pizza, and the Ecocafe. And more!
The combination of new and old, along with the different types of eating venues, raises questions about the redevelopment of the neighborhood and may be indicative of transformations in the city’s culinary culture. In the wake of the 2005 floods, many cultural critics suggested that New Orleans would have to give up its distinctive culture to survive and, in the case of food, embrace the homogenization of fast food and chain restaurants. The revival of the Mid City neighborhood that is the focus of our work suggests that the city has indeed changed, but in ways that reflect a more complex combination of older cultural patterns and changing demographics. This project will explore how that has happened.