Very thought provoking article! What drew me to this city originally was the tug-of-war between chaos and order. It's protective of both its freedom and it's traditions, which is a unique combination.
Where else would that play out but in the food? Consider that both "sides" are correct. Pushing the boundaries of New Orleans food, and thereby the boundaries of what it means to be New Orleanian, is a healthy thing. Even the most time-honored traditions grow stale when not challenged or pushed: most of the classic New Orleans traditions were called heretical at some point, I'm sure.
But Mr. Fitzmorris is correct: "pushing" does not mean "aping." With the interplay of Vietnamese, Spanish, French traditions, the greater arrival of Latin flavors since the storm ... those are a lot of traditions to pull from, combine and re-envision.
Totally my .02, but what makes this city unique isn't the latest Pinkberry (does anyone else feel a Village-of-The-Damned sensation when they see one too?). It's its love of freedom and the ability to reinvent itself and defy easy highbrow/lowbrow categorization.
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