It ain’t easy
September 1, 2005
There is a handsome man in this town who regularly holds court behind the upstairs bar at Michael Goldberg’s Matsuhisa.His name is Pat Ryan and he is the envy of all who meet him. Why? It may because he dances so well. It may be because pretty women of all ages flock to his embrace (none prettier than his wife, however). Or it may be because his gaptoothed smile is always lit to 1000 watts, naturally.But I’ve always believed that Pat Ryan is the envy of his friends because he has a spirit and an attitude that are products of the Crescent City of New Orleans. It is the place he was born and raised, and, unlike any other city in America, it is a place that shapes its sons and daughters for a lifetime of good times. New Orleans must be hell this Friday morning. One can watch the news and empathize with its people, but it is impossible to really feel the heat, the humidity, the stench and the anger that must be permeating every pore of the skin of the folks who are still there. This is a tragedy of epic proportions, and, though it was somewhat inevitable, it is still unimaginable.Yet, life goes on, and come next Fat Tuesday, the Crewes will once again be laying themselves down after parading for a month through the streets in what will forever be remembered as the “Mardi Gras after Katrina.” That’s because New Orleanians have a biological obligation to celebrate all that is good about life.It is no accident that when people think about New Orleans the first things that come to mind are food and music. New Orleans may be the best dining city in the country. From the great, old Creole palaces like Galitoires, Brennan’s and Antoine’s to the newer classics like Bayonna, Herbsaint, and yes, Emeril’s. From the muffalettas at Central Grocery and the chicory coffee and beignets at Café du Monde, to the “Ferdi Special” Po Boys at Mothers, the list of great gastronomic experiences just goes on and on.And the sounds of the city have been legendary since its birth. So many Aspenites migrate annually to Jazz fest that you are more likely to bump into your ski buddies in New Orleans in April than you are here. Just this summer we have blessed with visits from The Radiators and Dr. John, who brought his own special voodoo to the mountains.Yet, as bad as Katrina has been – and it will continue to be hell on earth for a while – the city of New Orleans, its people, its food, its music, its very soul, will rise again. If you want to know why just say hello to Pat Ryan. He’ll be the one dancing to the music in Snowmass this weekend.Laissez le bon temps roulez.