I didn’t know it then, but I was introduced to the New Orleans concept of lagniappe on my first night there. I wasn’t hungry enough for dinner, but I felt like I needed something small. I stopped into one of the many cash-only dining establishments around town, this one on St. Peter, and got an order of mozzarella sticks. The man behind the counter had a batch ready to go, and he served them to me with a side of lovely marinara.
A few minutes later, he was at my table with a steaming-hot mozzarella stick that he’d just made. No extra charge, just a fresh piece of cheese to enjoy.
That’s lagniappe: a little something extra, almost always unexpected and never asked for. Think of it as the 13th donut in a baker’s dozen.
In Bayou Fire, restaurant owner Amos Boudreaux gives travel writer Diana Corbett a cup of hot cocoa as lagniappe early on in the story. He then explains the concept to her. Diana is in New Orleans on assignment … but there’s more to her story, and Amos, than she realizes.
I’m having so much fun working on this new book, and am returning to New Orleans in a month and a half to do more research. I look forward to sharing stories and photos with all of you.
(Photo is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.)