I read your article in Gambit about the New Orleans Cook Book. My wife is a great-great-granddaughter of Nugent B. Viarin, and remembers her grandmother learned to cook from Lena Richard. Is the cookbook still in print and how can I buy a copy for her as a Christmas gift?
Lena Richard's New Orleans Cookbook (also spelled Cook Book) is still available, but only in paperback. You will have no trouble ordering one online from Amazon.com. One of these can be had for $15.95, and you can get it before Christmas.
I imagine there are some folks who don't know about Lena Richard and her cookbook. During her lifetime, Richard, an African American who worked for Viarin at one time, operated several restaurants in New Orleans beginning in the 1920s. In addition to running a catering business and a cooking school, Richard also had her own cooking show on WDSU from 1947-1949. But before that, the famous chef James Beard had learned of her and arranged for her cookbook to be published in 1939.
Since you asked about a particular cookbook, I would like to tell folks about a really interesting Web site dedicated to cookbooks. The New Orleans Culinary History Consortium has produced an extensive annotated bibliography of all books about New Orleans food, a continuing list of New Orleans cookbooks dating from the earliest found " 1885 " to the present. Anyone interested in beginning a collection or adding to his or her own would no doubt take great delight in perusing this bibliography at www.tulane.edu/~wclib/nochc.html.
I am curious about the origin of the nickname of Mayor Ernest Morial ""Dutch." Everything I find on him states his nickname, but no explanation is ever given.
When the man who would become the first African-American mayor of the City of New Orleans was a little boy, his father thought he looked like the Dutch boy on the cans of Dutch Boy paint. So he nicknamed his son 'Dutch." Not a very glamorous moniker for such an important figure in New Orleans history.
The boy who inspired the first Dutch Boy trademark was 9-year-old Michael E. Brady. He wasn't Dutch at all, but an Irish-American lad who just happened to live near the artist paid to create the logo for the paint company. The company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007, and in that time the Dutch Boy logo has changed seven different times.
Ernest Nathan Morial was born on Oct. 9, 1929. He graduated from McDonogh 35 High School, Xavier University and was the first African American to get a law degree from LSU. He went on to become the first black member of the Louisiana State Legislature since Reconstruction, the first black juvenile court judge, and the first black judge on the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
His tenure as mayor of New Orleans from 1978 to 1986 saw several important events. The first was the police strike of 1979 " not a great way to get going. This strike brought Mardi Gras to its knees, and Morial was forced to cancel parades in Orleans Parish.
Morial was also mayor during the memorable Louisiana World's Fair of 1984, which proved to be a financial disaster.
Two years later, Morial left office. He tried twice, unsuccessfully, to get the charter changed to allow him to run for a third term as mayor. He had plans to run again in 1990, but he died of complications from asthma on Dec. 24, 1989.
Today there is the convention center named for him as well as the Ernest N. Morial Asthma, Allergy, and Respiratory Disease Center at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
I have seen the picture of the little Dutch Boy that graced the cans of paint from 1917-1947. I suppose Dutch's father saw something I didn't.