High tide at Mardi Gras is a notoriously poor time to eat in New Orleans. Parades roll at dinnertime, and unless you're stationed at a well-provisioned house party or plan ahead and build yourself a picnic the food options along the route have largely been junk.
But lately I've noticed the street food improving in quality, thanks to some enterprising locals. A recent case in point is a barbecue operation (above) set up on the Uptown, riverside corner of Chestnut Street and Napoleon Avenue.
They keep a full-scale, towed barbecue smoker huffing and puffing to put out ribs, chicken and sausage. For $5 a plate it hits the spot, and the meats have a smokiness that puts the product from most local barbecue restaurants to shame. They're also selling "little beer" (Coors Light) and "big beer" (24-oz. cans of Evil Eye malt liquor).
Just a few blocks up Napoleon, the front yard at the corner of Perrier Street has also been transformed into a concession stand, with the homeowners selling jambalaya, red beans and drinks over their iron fence.
There have to be many, many more examples along the route of either stationary or itinerant homespun food vendors. If you've found a favorite, please share below for the benefit of those heading to tonight's parades.