John Kennedy Toole’s novelA Confederacy of Duncesis internationally revered for having captured the essence and eccentricity of New Orleans — and for introducing readers to its larger-than-life protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly. On this week’s show, we take a culinary look between the pages of the book that, 37 years ago, was posthumously awarded thePulitzer Prizefor fiction.We begin withSpud McConnell, well known for his portrayal of Ignatius on stage. The Gonzales-born actor has become so recognized for his embodiment of the role, that the statue of the portly protagonist, which is located on a sidewalk in front of the old D.H. Holmes building on Canal Street, was modeled after him.Then, we speak with Cynthia LeJeune Nobles, who examines food as a character in the novel, compiling recipes for her gastronomical homage to Ignatius,A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook. Cynthia spent 18 months engrossed in the novel, and much like Spud, developed a personal relationship with Ignatius and his world, jelly doughnuts and all.Finally, we wash it all down with Ignatius’s favorite local soft drink: Dr. Nut! Having disappeared from grocery shelves decades ago, Dr. Nut is as enigmatic as Ignatius himself. Designer Phillip Collier, author ofMaking New Orleans, sheds some light on the mysterious Dr. Nut and provides us with an alcoholic version that he believes closely resembles the original recipe.From there, we venture through the streets of the French Quarter to aLucky Doghot dog cart, which served as the setting for one of the most memorable — and gluttonous — moments in the novel. Lucky Dog’s owner, Jerry Strahan, is the author ofManaging Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in the Quarter, and he discusses his iconic business and its legendary employees.
Fortuna’s wheel is spinning upward on this week’sLouisiana Eats!