NEW ORLEANS -- It was rather subdued on a Tuesday night in the French Quarter, but as far as I could tell, it was the Crescent City of Old.
The scars of Katrina are certainly still evident – and will be for many years to come – but as one of our hosts, Eric Kasper of the Audubon Golf Trail, pointed out, "We're not underwater anymore."
Indeed, Tuesday was a great day of golf, gator watching and Cajun food. It started with a round at the Pete Dye-designed TPC Louisiana in Avondale and ended with a great meal at the Gumbo Shop in the Quarter. In between, we took a Cajun Critters Swamp Tour, where we learned alligators like marshmallows and apparently aren't aggressive to humans (I think it's the marshmallows).
The TPC Louisiana, which is home of the PGA Tour's Zurich Open, has more sand than Kuwait, but also featured pure greens, a couple of exceptional par 3s and great conditions. It's one of 12 courses that currently comprise the Audubon Trail, a collection of courses that promote golf in the state of Louisiana.
Despite Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Trail courses have increased in rounds play by 4 percent each year since 2005. The marketing strategy is "Great Golf, Among Other Things," and it seems to be working.
In short, Louisiana wants to be known as a golfing destination in addition to its other attractions, which include the great restaurants of New Orleans and other cities.
Food and golf are always a great combination, and the nightlife around here isn't too bad either.
And if you go to the Gumbo Shop (www.gumboshop.com), try everything; it's all good. I had the seafood okra gumbo, crawfish etouffee, turnip greens and whiskey bread pudding. Delicious.
Back to dieting next week, I guess.