Greetings from the magical city of New Orleans, or New Awlins as the locals say.
For the next couple of days I will share my fun experiences and the interesting things I unearth in this culturally complex town. Like Mother’s.
Within the first hour of arriving I discovered my first treasure, Mothers Restaurant, on Poydras Street, 401 to be exact. I’ve never been anywhere like it. When you first walk in you grab a menu by the door, which has a bizillion entrées, and you must make your mind up while waiting in line to place your order. However, by the crowd ahead of you–a sure sign the food is good—you will have plenty of time. Then you find a table and the waitress brings your food to you. AND you are not allowed to tip. Interesting.
While I savored my seafood gumbo, I studied the brick walls that at one time had been painted white, but now most of it had chipped off, and the old wooden beams above me. Clearly this place had a history. And that name?
Being the curious sort, I asked one waitress, the delightful Patricia Ellzey who has worked there for twenty-four years, why the restaurant was called “Mothers.” She explained that Simon and Mary Landry opened the restaurant in 1938. Then when America entered WWII, it was Mary, Mother, who kept the restaurant going.
While Patricia and I visited, Janet Grant, a fun, spunky, waitress who has also worked there for twenty-four years joined us. We shared our own mother and grandmother experiences. I listened to these two remarkable ladies share how they overcame the tough times life threw at them and their children. I thought about Mary Landry who had kept the business going while her family served our country. It confirmed something I’ve always known, Mothers are the marines in their families. When the going gets tough, Momma’s get going. It is in our DNA. We can’t help it. And I’m thankful for that God-given attribute.
Talk about tough, it is also in the spirit of this town. It too has overcome intense adversity. I encourage you to make plans to visit New Orleans. And while here, do yourself a favor and visit Mother’s. And when you get there ask for Patricia and Janet. I can’t imagine eating there again without their smiling faces and delightful anecdotes.