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New Orleans 
“Come on everybody, take a trip with me down the Mississippi down to New Orleans”
In 1960, America’s top 40 included the song New Orleans. According to the song, the city of New Orleans embraced the charm of southern belles and the mingled aroma of honeysuckle vines and magnolia blossoms.  Blend this with the roaring good times spawned by the Dixieland music of Basin Street and you have Bonds’ New Orleans. Indeed, a picture of New Orleans might include historic moss-covered oak trees against a starry southern night. Or it might depict city lights that illuminate the way to the home of Dixieland jazz. Both pictures would be correct. And New Orleans owes it all to the Mississippi River.
The Mississippi is key to New Orleans’ flavor and pizzazz. The seafood, the steamboat cruises, the swamp tours, and the history – it’s all there. In the French Quarter, the influence of past inhabitants creates an atmosphere of French colonial tradition and West Indian Spanish colonial-styled architecture.  Southern charm is exemplified in the plantation homes that dot what is known as River Road, testimonies to a slower way of life that set its pace by the flow of the Mississippi.
New Orleans and jazz – the two just go together. The birthplace of a distinctive style of music, New Orleans jazz is its own blend of swing and blues. From Basin Street to Bourbon Street, the cornets and trombones blast and the clarinets wail. Add to that the tinkle of piano ivories and the hum of a big ol’ bass fiddle, and you know there’s a Dixieland band nearby!
Tradition plays a part in the celebration of holidays with parades and festivals occurring all year long.  The Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day parades feature floats that are sculptured works of arts.   The French Quarter Festival is a three-day celebration of New Orleans food – Creole, French, and southern – to include the world’ largest jazz brunch.  December rings in Christmas with a tribute to jazz.
The mighty Mississippi rolls along. Sometimes the waters run peacefully by elegant structures that stand as historical monuments amidst magnolias. Other times, it roars with the hustling rhythm of a modern-day harbor that provides the foundation for a metropolitan economy. We are reminded that the past can blend with the present to fulfill destiny. That’s New Orleans.
Historical Trivia 
1682 – Renée Robert Cavalier de la Salle, explored the Mississippi River from Canada via the Illinois River, claiming all the land the water fed for France and naming it Louisiane after King Louis XIV

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville (b. in Montreal, Canada, 24 February, 1680; d. in Paris, 7 March, 1767) was the French Governor of Louisiana and founder of New Orleans in 1718.

The Saint Louis Cathedral is the oldest Cathedral in North America, founded as a Catholic Parish in 1720 at New Orleans.

1763  Everything east of the Mississippi ceded to Britain; west of it (including New Orleans) to Spain.
1803  Annexed to the United States from Spain.

Battle of New Orleans– There were two! One was against Great Britain and occurred in 1815. The other was a Civil War battle in 1862.

Mardi Gras – A celebration prior to Lent. New Orleans hosts many Mardi Gras activities.

Seafood Gumbo
Louisiana tradition credits the Ursuline Sisters with introducing French cuisine in New Orleans. The Spanish probably brought pepper and the tomato. Immigrants from the West Indies contributed spices that the New World had never seen. Put all together, it gave us Creole cooking.
Assemble the following ingredients:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 pound sliced okra
2 pounds fresh shrimp
3 fresh gumbo crabs (or 1 can crab meat)
2 – 3 cups water
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1 jar oysters (optional)

In one skillet, fry okra until it is no longer sticky. Set aside. In a second skillet, heat oil. Slowly stir flour into heated oil until the flour is dark brown. Add onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper. Stir until onions are well cooked and clear. Add tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to large pot. Stir in Rotel tomatoes and fried okra. Cook slowly over low heat, adding water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sugar. Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent gumbo from sticking to pot. Add more water if necessary. After one hour, add shrimp, crab, oysters and bay leaf. Cook 30 minutes, removing bay leaf just before serving. Serve as a soup or over rice.

Muffaletta Sandwich
A muffaletta sandwich is a New Orleans specialty! A round loaf of bread is filled with layers of salami, ham, provolone, and olive salad. Then it is cut into wedges for eating. Tradition has it that Italian workers at the New Orleans markets would scoop out the broken olives from the barrels and add them to their round loaves of bread. These round loaves were called “muffs”; hence, the name, muffaletta.

Assemble the following ingredients:
10″ Muffuletta bread loaf
2 oz Genoa salami, sliced thin
2 oz Italian ham, sliced thin
2 oz Provolone cheese sliced thin
1 cup olive salad (see olive salad recipe below)

Cut bread in half crosswise. Layer salami and ham over bottom of bread. Add layers of cheese. Top with olive salad. Press down slightly. Cut sandwich in quarters. Use wooden picks to secure layers, if desired.

Olive Salad for Muffuletta Sandwich
Assemble the following ingredients:
2/3 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped or
pimento stuffed green olives
2/3 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pimento, chopped
3    cloves garlic, minced
1    tablespoon capers, drained and minced
3    tablespoons parsley, chopped
1    teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2    tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup roasted Italian red peppers  (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Marinate for 2-3 hours at room temperature. If mixture is refrigerated before serving, bring it to room temperature before using in sandwich.


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