New Orleans residents, and the millions of people who pour into the city each year for Mardi Gras, Saints games and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. "Jazz Fest") know that the city is fueled by a fierce passion for life, art, music and perhaps most of all - its food. In the face of almost unimaginable tragedy, the city's signature cuisine sustained the bodies, spirits and souls of its people and inspired them to fight ever-mounting odds to keep the culture they love alive for future generations.
Eatocracy gathered together some of Louisiana most vibrant, vocal and knowledgeable residents, fed them a multi-course meal crafted by celebrated chef John Besh, and asked them what they think makes New Orleans cuisine such a vital part of the culture.
And when people like CNN's James Carville and Mary Matalin, chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase, Mad Men star Bryan Batt, food scholar Poppy Tooker, Treme writer Lolis Eric Elie, CNN Hero Derick Tabb and fisherman Lance Nacio sit together at a table, they're going to talk with their mouths and their hearts full.
Watch the video and share your fondest New Orleans memories and your favorite restaurant tips in the comments below.
A Secret Supper - N'awlins style - join us at the table, won't you?
What we ate in New Orleans - and you should, too.
The food that got them through - New Orleanians love to talk…and argue……and educate…and opine about food. It's who they are, and what has kept them going, even when their very way of life was in danger of being swept away forever.
Oysters stage a comeback after BP disaster - the region rallies after a man-made disaster
A toast to Leah Chase - raise a glass to the Queen of Creole Cuisine
Mardi Gras: Milk that packs a brandy punch - a recipe from New Orleans bar chef Lu Brow
Beyond Bourbon Street - the real fun is on Frenchmen St.
What NOT to Do During Mardi Gras - Lu Brow advises not to bargain for beads and shares the importance of a Popeye's run with strangers
Five Cocktails I Enjoy Creating and CONSUMING During Mardi Gras - but Lu certainly knows how to cut loose, too
Daytime drinking in New Orleans - do the right thing and dive into a Brandy Milk Punch or a Pimms Cup
The great gumbo debate - okra or file? How dark is your roux?
Shrimp etouffee for the New Orleans soul - New Orleans food expert Poppy Tooker shares how this dish feeds your soul and your stomach
Beyond Raw: How New Orleans serves up oysters - charbroiled, Rockefeller and po' boys abound
Making gumbo with John Besh and James Carville - celebrating Gulf seafood with a family recipe
Five Reasons to Eat in Louisiana - gumbo runs deep when you're from the Pelican State
Whooooo boy! - po boy, poor boy, po-boy, po' boy or peaux boy? How do you spell this sandwich?
Muffuletta madness - if it's not cold from Central Grocery, is it still a muffuletta? (We vote YES!)
How to peel a head-on shrimp - a little lagniappe from a visit with Poppy Tooker
Five Tips on Making Homemade Sausage - the executive chef of New Orleans restaurant Sylvain shares his sausage secrets
Fear of not eating something - share your ultimate New Orleans restaurant crawl
Cooking with Carville - the Ragin' Cajun talks about the food that fuels him