This weekend I was in New Orleans for Halloween, so I did not get to dine at a scrumptious Austin food-truck. As such, I’m dedicating this post to the (apparent) lack of food-trucks in New Orleans and how much it bothers me!
Photo source: Destination360.com
It’s really frustrating to go from Austin where there’s a coffee and breakfast taco food-trailer on every corner to none at all! You really don’t realize how much you appreciate the savory convenience of breakfast taco food-trucks until there are none at all.
I’ve always wondered why the French Quarter, an internationally known tourist destination, never capitalized on the booming food-truck trend. I mean, it’s the perfect setting: people are getting around on foot, they’re on a traveler’s budget, and their out at odd hours. To me this sounds like the perfect food-truck potential.
While I was there this weekend I talked to Pedro Lucero, a manager at a popular bar and music venue on Bourbon Street, who actually tried getting a food-trailer permit in New Orleans. Lucero, who lived in Austin for about 10 years, was inspired by the Austin food-trucks and thought it would be a hit in New Orleans. He said that after a little research he found out that within the French Quarter there are stringent restrictions on parking (even temporary parking), and that Lucky Dogs, a popular hot dog cart company, has something of a monopoly on permits in the area.
“The Quarter would be perfect for food-trucks…at least other food-carts,” said Lucero. “People want more than just hot dogs and I think New Orleans is well-known internationally and food-trailers could cater better to all tourists.”
I have to admit that I have never tried a Lucky Dog because I’ve heard too many urban legends about what’s in their hotdogs and what they do to your body (aside from the fact that I don’t eat hotdogs anyway).
I’m shocked though that the Vieux Carré Commission, the regulatory agency for the historic districts of New Orleans, have not realized the growing popularity of food-trucks and the potential profits and benefits they bring to tourist towns. Then again, the old 18th century style street layout is probably not ideal for large parked trucks.
While living there this summer the closest I came to a taco food-cart was a man on a bike known only as “Al” who delivers his wife’s homemade tacos to the same bars every weekend. He has no phone number or ordering system, he just shows up around 2 a.m. and those desperate little bartenders dying for something other than hotdogs or crappy pizza from across the street (AKA yours truly) cannot wait to get their hands on one.
A little googling did tell me that there are a few roaming snowball carts, but it just isn’t the same. There are food-trucks in New Orleans, but again none are in one of the most frequented areas in the entire state of Louisiana! I don’t know if it will ever change, but I do know that if I spend another summer in New Orleans, I hope Al is still around to curb my Austin taco-trailer appetite!
You can read about the (ironic) filming of the 2010 “Great Food Truck Race” in New Orleans on the Culture Mob food blog. Also check out this blog post dedicated to food-trucks in New Orleans (outside of the Quarter of course) in this linked article on neworleans.com.