About a dozen years ago, the company Victor worked for tried to get him to transfer to New Orleans. They flew us down there first class, put us up at The Fairmont (now a Waldorf Astoria,) wined and dined us, and, generally, did everything they could to convince us that Victor should take the job.

We arrived the week after Mardi Gras – just in time for St Joseph’s Day. It seems that they do the parade-and-bead-thing down there all the time. Mardi Gras is just the one that gets all the attention.

New Orleans is a fun town – I spent a couple of weeks down there when I worked for Hyatt – but New Orleans at 25 and New Orleans at 45 are two different cities. When we looked at the neighborhoods we could afford, it was more Ninth Ward than it was Garden District. And outside of the French Quarter, I saw too many rebel flags and Ol Miss sweatshirts. This Liberal Yankee Gay Boy just wasn’t going to fit in.

Victor turned down the job, but our love of Creole and Cajun food hasn’t diminished. One food item I always have in the house in andouille sausage. Always. I really don’t recall the first time I had it, but it has been a staple for years. Love it.

I decided we needed a bit of Jambalaya to get the Mardi Gras juices flowing…

Jambalaya at it’s core is a Creole paella. Chicken, sausage, seafood, tomatoes, peppers, rice…  It’s a one-pot meal with a punch.

I had the ingredients in the house – chicken left from the pumpkin soup and andouille in the freezer. I was set.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz andouille sausage, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 4 oz langostino
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 cups broth
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Saute onion, celery, and pepper. Add garlic and saute. Add andouille and brown.

Add rice, tomatoes, broth, thyme, a few healthy shots of Tabasco, and a pinch of S&P. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer about 15 minutes.

Stir everything well, and add chicken and langostino. Cover, again, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Add a few more healthy shots of Tabasco and enjoy.

It really is an easy one-dish meal that is sure to please. And I am surely pleased we did not move to New Orleans. I am relatively certain that had we been living in New Orleans when Katrina hit, we would have stayed. Even with lots of ex-in-laws and a couple of good friends we could have stayed with, I think I might have been stupid enough to think I was invincible. You would have seen us on TV at the Super Dome.