It was a typical New Orleans experience meeting Michael Murphy.
My sister, brother-in-law and I were standing on the sidewalk along Chartres Street looking around, pointing and arguing. An invitation for just about any social-by-nature New Orleans denizen to politely butt in. In this case, we were in the hands of a professional.
Guidebook writer and tour guide extraordinaire Michael Murphy had just stepped out of a nearby bookstore when he untangled our conversation. My sister had thought that Morning Call Coffee Stand , which had abandoned the French Quarter in the 70’s in favor of a strip mall in Metairie, had returned to the area. Nope, Murphy explained. It opened up a great new location at City Park–a satisfying compromise of continuing a century long legacy of serving cafe au lait and beignets to locals while still taking full advantage of the city’s daily onslaught of sightseers.
In Murphy’s case, it was love at first sight, having visited the city in the 80’s on a business trip. He moved down about seven years ago and has made it his calling to acquaint others with the charms of the city. In addition to being a hotel concierge and conducting private tours, he’s the author of four unique guidebooks.
“Eat Dat” is not your typical restaurant guide. While the book provides “best of” lists, it really shines when Murphy focuses on the stories and personalities behind the cuisine. “Hear Dat,” to be released in mid-April, introduces readers to the wide range of New Orleans music and night clubs and the talented professionals who make it happen. It’s a tough assignment. But he does a good job of covering the broad range of live music you will find in New Orleans from Jazz and R&B to Hip Hop and Alternative Rock. .
Having bravely written about food and music in a city that takes both personally and seriously, Murphy throws caution to the wind with another release, “Fear Dat” about New Orleans voodoo and stories of “assorted butchery & mayhem.” He also has written a very practical guidebook called “111 things Not to Miss in New Orleans.”
Murphy and I will rekindle our relationship on the air on Thursday when I hope I can get him to share a few ideas on how visitors to New Orleans can make the most of this year’s festival season.
Podcast of the show, including the interview with Michael Murphy. I apologize for the distortion in the interview. New recorder and not used to using it on live interviews.