|Bar room at Tujagues|
We got off on Decatur Street, and went into Tujagues for lunch. The bar-room is narrow, with a stand-up bar dating from the 1850s along one side. When we walked in, the tables were all full, so we went through the passage to the dining room.
The dining room, with its hexagonal-tiled floor, bentwood chairs and white linen cloths, was charmingly old-fashioned and utterly empty. We were the only diners, though it was mid-day lunchtime. Septembers are slow, the waiter told us.
Tujague's dinner menu is extensive, but the lunch menu was simple. I chose shrimp creole, [The Man I Love] chose crawfish etouffe, but the waiter pointed out that we could split a sampler platter with those two dishes and red beans and rice, so that's what we did. I loved the shrimp creole with its bright tomato and vegetable sauce. The etouffe was rich, dark, and intensely concentrated in flavor. The red beans included nice chunks of smoked sausage. There was just enough food to satisfy.
We walked through the streets of the French Quarter. Though it was rainy, there were still tourists out, and street performers doing their thing.
We were in search of bookstores, and went into the one run by the William Faulkner Society. The cashier there was another student from the Creative Writing program; a third year poetry student. We talked a little. I told her I was curious about the fabled bar hang-out evenings I'd been told about - kind of a literary salon for the program, taking place after the writing workshop classes. "Are they only Monday nights, or is it after every workshop?" I asked, noting that my non-fiction workshop was on Tuesday night.
"Oh," she said. "You're non-fiction. They don't seem to drink much. You might want to hang out with another genre."