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Where Y’Eat: An Unsolicited New Orleans Dining Agenda for Macron

dooky chase fish
Ian McNulty
Redfish courtbouillon at Dookiy Chase's Restaurant

When a famous person comes to town, it’s natural to wonder what our home looks like through their eyes. And since this is New Orleans, we are going to be curious about what they eat, too.

For French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit last week, the agenda included dinner at the Windsor Court Hotel. I have no doubt they put out a special meal.

But picturing Macron dining in New Orleans got my mind turning about where I would send him if consulted.

For the record, I was not, but thinking on it was an exercise that may be helpful when hosting VIPs from your own life.

My first thought was the classics, the French Creole landmarks.

But with just a few meals on this trip, I would give this esteemed visitor the same advice I recommend to any traveler - get into the neighborhoods, experience a piece of New Orleans life as New Orleans people live it, and be around New Orleans people at their leisure.

That's why I'd start by sending Macron to Friday lunch at Clancy's.

Just traveling to its address deep in its Uptown neighborhood gives a tour of New Orleans along the way, and the Creole menu shows both the history and the possibilities of our French culinary connection.

Then it's off to Friday dinner at Dooky Chase’s, which has hosted many prominent leaders. This restaurant weaves a tapestry of deep-running Creole flavor, civil rights history, African-American art and a family’s commitment to community uplift through hospitality that flows through generations. Just don’t add hot sauce to the gumbo without tasting it, as Obama once did.

Finally, one last meal on his short trip, Saturday lunch at High Hat Café on Freret Street, the epitome of the modern neighborhood joint.

Whatever Macron would get on this fictitious visit, I would insist that the meal end with pie, hopefully the pecan pie, so that it sticks to the teeth and he can taste it still on the way back to the plane, a reminder that he needs to return and try many, many more New Orleans restaurants.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.