Upon arriving in New Orleans I met my group at Daisy Dukes, a cafe near our hotel, for some Gumbo. Little did I know that that was the last authentic New Orleans food I would have for quite some time.
After eating middle of the road gumbo we headed to the Voodoo Fest venue and set up camp for the weekend. The Fuse dome would be my home for 14 hours a day for the next 4 days.
I scoured the festival food for a muffaletta thinking I could at least get a low rent version while stuck there each day...no luck.
Every night after leaving, my co-worker Angie and I would search for any place still selling Muffalettas at midnight. This proved to be much harder than we imagined as finding any food in this town after midnight was a task. The only hope we had were post midnight runs to Burbon street to watch groups of 21-yea-old girls make out, flash their boobs and then hurl bright red hurricane puke into ever corner of Pat O'Brians. After not eating all day and spending 14 hours working this was not the scene I was looking for. It got so bad that we actually walked into a 24 hour Arby's next to our hotel because the hunger pains were preventing us from walking any further. As we looked upon the shaved pressed meat sandwiches we both looked at each other and ran out faster than you could say "show your tits!"
With no chance of finding the Muffaletta, we aimlesslly walked until coming upon Cafe Du Monde. Their famous bignettes would have to do. A fried ball of dough mounded with powdered sugar. When I say mounded I really mean it. These pastries had enough sugar to throw you into a diabetic coma on the spot. These were good but the magic was lost on our defeated minds and bodies. We sat in bed that night wired on sugar and looking like we had engaged in a good old fashioned baby powder fight.
Eventually we reached Sunday with no sign of a Muffaletta anywhere. Maybe it was all a dream, Italian meat fairies dancing in our heads. Maybe there was a vast conspiracy to hide them from me. Maybe it was a sign of something bigger, something I could not understand nor would want to... I decided that one Muffaletta would have to do. I had a free day on Monday and would get up early, see the city, find my Muffaletta and go home happy. This was the plan. This would work. Glory would be mine.
As I loaded the conversion van with equipment Sunday night, the thought a full day to find the Muffaletta raced through my mind. As I was dreaming of the olive salad and packing a road case into the van I slipped...my pants got caught on the door of the van... I fell out of the van landing on my back while my foot remained stuck....with a violent swing my foot snapped back and smashed on the bumper. I laid there stunned and in pain until Angie ripped my pants to free me. OUCH!
I stood up and instantly knew it... "I just broke my fucking foot!" Seriously. This is not happening to me. I have one day in this swamp and I needed to get out and enjoy it with my Muffaletta. What has poor Jenny done to deserve this?
I spent the night in the hotel feeling destroyed and icing my foot. Maybe I would be able to walk...maybe I wasn't really hurt...maybe I should find religion and pray.... there was nothing I could tell myself to make this better. I still ordered a wake up call for 9am in the hopes I would be better.
Well, I wasn't better but I did decided- who cares, I work from home. I can easily do more damage but I don't really need to get around... So I got up and left, limping like Kevin Spacey in the Usual Suspects. People stared but I didn't care. I would walk to Central Grocery, get my Muffaletta and then go back and ice my foot until the pain numbed.
As I was a block away I began to salivate. I couldn't believe with all the hurdles I was finally going to get my Muffaletta, just hours before leaving New Orleans. Soon I would be sitting at a small table by myself, enjoying this Muffaletta in solitude. A perfect ending!
Central grocery is closed on Monday. I sat on the curb in front of the store, foot throbbing in pain holding back tears. I could not believe this. I stared quietly as others approached the store to see it closed but wanted to yell, "You do not deserve to be angry! I have been trying to get here for days. I have a broken foot and a righteous heart!"
In my angry meditation something sparked in my mind. I remember reading an article about a place near central grocery that had perhaps a better Muffaletta..
At this time Angie showed up to help me get home. I pleaded with her to help me find anywhere that sold a Muffaletta. She casually says, "This place has one." Without realizing it we were sitting right in front of Franks, a small restaurant with a history of great Muffalettas. This is the place that I read about. I quickly sat down ordered my Muffaletta and sat waiting quietly to finish this day! Finally, I was getting my prize.
It was just okay.