Skip to main content

Bon Temps Le Boi — My New Perspective

By Bon Temps Le Boi

One of the nice things about the time we spend in New Orleans is that I never run out of things to write about. Returning home to Boise feels like maybe I have nothing new to say — but that’s not true. It’s just that I lose my perspective wandering in the forest of familiarity.

Since we returned home this time I’ve been thinking of how I might view my life in Boise through NOLA-tinted glasses. Through the “Bon Temps Le Boi” lense, if you see where I’m going.

In New Orleans we focus on the celebration of food, art, music, and the creativity, originality, and humor with which people consistently express themselves. Last I looked, we have all of those things in ample supply right here in little ol’ Boy-see, Idahome.

Mike Chambers at Tomas Montana's exhibition

So, Mike and I are recommitting to celebrating the art-filled life we have available to us right here. We are starting by getting out as much as possible and participating in what Boise has to offer. Like this week: First Thursday in June…

We began our evening at Gallery 518 where we saw the exhibition ‘everything needn’t always be something’ by Tomas Montano. It is something.

Tomas Montano's Boise Weekly Cover
“Rosabel” by Tomas on the Cover of the Boise Weekly

Melissa and Tomas

Then we dropped by the Art Source gallery to see Ann Sorenson’s work,

Ann Sorenson and Melissa Chambers @ Art Source

including her watercolor “Bridge to Boise”….

"Bridge to Boise" by Ann Sorenson

And while there happened to meet an unexpected, and charming character, Randy B. Fowler.

Randy B Fowler and Melissa Chambers@Art Source

On our way to Freak Alley we ran into Colby —

Colby talking to Melissa Chambers

the guy who started the freak ball rolling when he drew all over this door:


I’m glad we live in a city that doesn’t just tolerate, but actually celebrates street art.

Freak Alley wall

Mike Chambers in Freak Alley

There was even some live music on the street, like the folk/pop songs of Fiona Luray and her partner Lettie who were playing out in front of Artisan Optics.

Fiona and Lettie playing on First Thursday

Our last art stop of the evening was Evermore Gallery where we met Samuel Paden the featured artist,

Sam Paden and Melissa Chambers at Evermore Gallery

Sam Paden's exhibition postcard

Melissa Chambers and Lawrence Manning at Evermore Gallery

and ran into several friends, including Lawrence Manning, who told me he and Betty Mallorca are renovating another building in Nampa in addition to their current home and gallery space, Track 13. I guess we’ll get to include Nampa in our new perspective.

All that art walking and talking made us hungry so we headed to Old Chicago for a bite afterwards. It might not have been Oysters Rockafeller or Crawfish Ettoufe, but the Jamaican Jerk chicken wings I had hit the spot nonetheless.

Chicken wings at Old Chicago

Art, music, unique characters, and food. I think Boise’s got it all.

Bon Temps Le Boi!!

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

By New Orleans Sojourn

Our second Sojourn in New Orleans has come to an end, and we are heading back to Boise. One of the things I will miss the most, once we’ve returned to our landlocked home in Idaho, is…the fish.

NOLA Aquarium

New Orleans has the wonderful Audubon Aquarium of the Americas on the River Walk, which runs along the Mississippi right next to where the Algiers Ferry docks.

It features a variety of water environments, ocean, gulf, bayou, and river, as well as a rain forest with a waterfall, and parrots, who have lived there since it opened in 1990. We had taken Lina to visit as a toddler, so it was fun to return with her this trip. And see old friends.

Lina and the parrot at the Audubon Aquarium

And of course lots and lots of fish.

Audubon Aquarium tank

Aquarium tank at Audbon Aquarium

Ocean tank at Audubon Aquarium

Lina at the Audubon Aquarium

You really do see fish everywhere in New Orleans.

Like on the sidewalk,


or at the Hong Kong Market, where you not only get to see them, but eat them too.


Tilapia at Hong Kong Market

You can buy your fish fresh there, and take it home to make your own Vietnamese Crispy Fish with Cilantro,

Vietnamese Crispy Fish with Cilantro

or you can have your fish as a poboy,

Catfish poboy

or at Mandina’s, as Gulf Fish Meunière.

Mandina's Fish Meunière


I’m really, really going to miss you, fish.

"Fin" the end

Fish fin

Dieting? Read at Your Own Risk!

By New Orleans Sojourn

This, our second New Orleans Sojurn, was a little bit shorter than our first, and in a location slightly less convenient to our favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and other re-filling stations. But, we did NOT starve. Oooh no, far from it. We will be heading home quite fat and happy.

Want to know where, and what, we ate? Well, here’s a pretty comprehensive list with many hot links (Get it? I crack myself up).

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have no idea if that is true or not, but if you want to eat 3 meals and a coffee per day like we do when we are in New Orleans, then you better start eating before lunch time, and that’s important!

We like to start at Surrey’s.

I like the Costa Rican breakfast…
Costa Rican Breakfast at Surrey'S

and Mike likes the Corned Beef Andouille hash…

Corned beef hash at Surrey's

In our neighborhood in Algiers Point we have Tout de suite . I had the “Katrina” Huevos Rancheros, and Mike had the “Poche” with boudin…

"Katrina" at toute de suite

If we happen to be in the French Quarter at breakfast time we like Croissant d’Or where I had a small cafe au lait and the quiche Lorraine…

Quiche at Croissant d'Or

Once you have breakfast out of the way there are literally thousands of choices for lunch, supper, dinner, just appetizers and drinks, just drinks, and/or dessert. Here are just some of the places we ate at, and the meals we ate at them…

At Primitivo I had the Beef Coulette with Pimento-cheese grits…

Beef at Primitivo


Cochon Restaurant

Butcher, where I always have the Carolina pulled pork and the Brussels sprouts…

Pulled pork at Butcher

Casamentos, Napoleon House, Central Grocery, Katie’s, and Liuzza’s — all of which I have written about, and hot linked to in past posts, though I can give you a peek at what we ate this time…

Charbroiled oysters…

Char grilled oysters

Red beans, rice and hot sausage; and the Shrimp remoulade salad…

Red beans and Shrimp remoulade at Liuzza's

Muffelatta, and Oyster poboy…


Italian salad (basically a Muffelatta without the bread)…

Italian salad at Katie's

Red beans and rice, and fried chicken…


And more Chargrilled Oysters at Drago’s.

Char grilled oysters at Drago's

Da Wabbit

Cafe Maspero

Canal St. Bistro

In addition to the New Orleans classics, we also had some terrific Mexican food — on both sides of the Mississippi.

On the West Bank we went to El Paso Mexican Grill and had the fajitas…

Fajitas at El Paso on the West Bank

Fajitas at El Paso Mexican Grill

On the East Bank we ate at El Pavo Real, and at Taqueria Corona (a couple of times)…

At El Pavo Real we had Empanadas and Chimichurri sauce…
Empanadas at El Pavo Real

and Hanger steak tacos…
Hanger steak tacos at El Pavo Real

and were happy fat people…
El Pavo Real with the gang

I had a Cheese enchilada on a very rainy day at Taqueria Corona…
Taqueria Corona cheese enchilada

And yummy Gipsy Fajitas at the Santa Fe Restaurant

Gipsy Fajitas and Sangria at Santa Fe Restaurant


Stein’s Deli

the Joint

Hamburgers are always high on our list and Mike did not miss out on having another Kim Chi Burger at the Mint Modern Vietnamese

Kim Chi Burger

while I had the sizzling steak and sunny side up eggs…
Steak and eggs at Modern Mint

and a tiny bite of Mike’s Kim Chi burger…

Melissa eats a Kim chi burger

We added a new favorite burger to our list — the Pimento-cheese Burger, which we had at both High Hat Cafe and at Brown Butter Bistro (two new favorite restaurants)…

Pimento-cheese burger at High Hat

This sojourn had more emphasis on Vietnamese cuisine because there is a huge Vietnamese community in New Orleans with many living on the West Bank. In addition to shopping at the Hong Kong Market, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. We ate at Pho Bang, and Rice Paper Pho

Rice Paper Pho

and had Bahn Mi and Avocado Bubble smoothies at Mr. Bubbles

Mr. Bubbles Bahn mi and avocado bubble smoothie

Thanks to Joy’s influence I also had a few salads here and there.

With a beet, carrot and orange juice at Satsuma in the Bywater…

Satsuma's salad

and after seeing “Hello, My Name is Doris” with Joy, at the St. James Cheese Co. on Prytania…

St. James Cheese shop salad

and at Liberty’s Kitchen at the Whole Foods on Broad…

LIberty salad at Whole Foods on Broad

Make no mistake, there were plenty of opportunities to go seriously off track at a bunch of places specializing in sugar.

District Donuts

Sasi at District Donuts

District Donuts

District Donuts

Not that I was always the one going off track…

Lina and Mike at District Donuts

Pie at High Hat…

Pie at High Hat


Sweets at Brocato's

Creole Creamery

Mike at Creole Creamery

And let’s not forget any excuse to have Doberge cake…

Doberge cake

No idea what Doberge cake is? Click here to read all about it!

Tomorrow we are getting on the road and heading home to Idaho. Guess I’d better go get something to eat. It’s going to be a long drive!

Sasi at Stein's

House Ghosts

By Exhibitions, New Orleans Sojourn

Mike’s exhibition “House Ghosts” opened on May 7th at the Carol Robinson Gallery in New Orleans.

That’s Carol, with Mike at the Opening…

Mike Chambers with Carol Robinson at House Ghosts Opening

We brought most of Mike’s new work for the show with us on our drive down, but we arrived in New Orleans with a few paintings left unfinished. Mike worked on them in the evenings, at his French easel which he set up on the kitchen table.

Mike Chambers painting at the kitchen table

Go ahead, try this at home!

Mike Chambers painting

Carol always hangs a beautiful show, and “House Ghosts” was no exception.

Mike Chambers' House Ghosts

Mike Chambers' House Ghosts

Mike Chambers' House Ghosts at Carol Robinson Gallery

Mike Chambers' House Ghosts

Lina Chambers and House Ghost by her dad, Mike Chambers

There was a great turn out for the opening, and it was wonderful to catch up with friends, both old, and new.

Moseley Sonier family at House Ghosts Opening

Marilyn & Morris Brum with Lina and Melissa Chambers

House Ghosts Opening at Carol Robinson Gallery

The show will be up during the month of May, and you can see all of Mike’s available work on the Carol Robinson Gallery website, as well at at .

Michael Chambers with his painting "All the Light "

Good job Mikey! 👍👍❤️🍷🎉

Jazz Fest, Just the Way WE Like It

By New Orleans Sojourn

I know we are probably a huge disappointment to our rabid musicaholic friends in NOLA — yes, I’m talking about you: Joy and Ed — because we are content with just the tiniest taste of Jazz Fest.

As in one day only, for just a few hours, dropping by only two or three tents, eating and drinking one or two offerings among the hundreds to choose from, and then heading home long before all of Mid City becomes one big grid-lock. Sorrynotsorry.

Watch this and tell me you think we missed out:

It is literally impossible to see it all, and because I am less and less encumbered by any FOMO (that’s “fear of missing out” for all my old school friends) and more and more content with enjoying what I’ve got, doing it our way works for us.

We arrived late afternoon on Saturday, April 23rd and went straight to the Art Tents to visit Rebecca Rebouche. She’s a busy girl, just back from Napa Valley where she was painting a family tree. (Something I would love to have her do for us one day.)

Rebecca Rebouche and Melissa "Sasi" Chambers at Jazz Fest 2016

It’s Happy Hour all day long at Jazz Fest, so with our cold white wines in hand we wandered over to the food booths and enjoyed an oyster poboy…

Oyster poboy at Jazz Fest 2016

then lingered a while at the Gospel Tent, where Glen David Andrews and the Treme Choir were raising the roof.

Glen David Andrews and the Treme Choir at Jazz Fest 2016

Our Spirits (and spirits) refreshed, we then headed over to the Gentilly Tent, stopping only to buy a present for Logan (sorry buddy, Mom and Dad went to New Orleans and all they’re bringing you back is this t-shirt),

Jazz Fest 2016 T-shirt

and to watch this band which was playing for the Second Line in the video above….

Band at Jazz Fest 2016

Van Morrison was the headliner we were interested in seeing, so we snuggled in to wait for him — along with one-bazillion other fans, under a cloud of ganja smoke and the stylings of a “Peace, Love, and Prince” adoring sky writer.

"Prince" sky writing at Jazz Fest 2016

Crowd waiting for Van Morisson Jazz Fest 2016

After “Van the Man” we stopped by for a listen to the Pocket Aces Brass Band at the Jazz & Heritage Stage,

Mike and Melissa at Jazz Fest 2016

and then (pretty proud of ourselves, as you can tell from that picture), we headed out early — along with a few other people doing it their way.

Jazz Fest 2016

Apparently ther are over one-bazillion great minds thinking alike in New Orleans. And that’s just the way WE like it.