On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: The New Orleans Taco Trail


It is reported with firm conviction by New Orleans natives that “there are no good tacos in New Orleans” But how can this be true? There certainly has been an Hispanic diaspora established in the city (primarily Honduran) following Katrina when eager Latin American folks poured into town to work their asses off to breathe life back into New Orleans.

So after a few weeks of intel where we quizzed friends, neighbors and strangers we set out on a recent morning to see if we could establish a bona fide New Orleans taco trail.

Dry run.

We ate bad tacos off Elysian Fields; we ate bad tacos off Bienville; we ate bad tacos off Jefferson Davis; we ate bad tacos off Carrolton.

We ate bad tacos, seemingly, across the entirety of New Orleans.

Las Delicias Near Lowes On Elysian Fields

Las Delicias Near Lowes On Elysian Fields

Bad taco #1: Las Delicias taco truck parks just north of the Lowes off Elysian Fields at the juncture of the turn-around where drivers can head back toward the Mississippi. I’ve been hearing good things about this concern for a few months but their barbaco taco was plainly bad, sent careering off path by multiple globules of unrendered fat.

An Al Pastor Taco And A Barbacoa Taco At Las Delicias

An Al Pastor Taco And A Barbacoa Taco At Las Delicias

The “al pastor” was better, not genuine, nor off the trompo but a fair effort. Corn tortillas at Las Delicias are handmade and of good quality. A green, avocado salsa is available but that treasured capsaicin blast is nowhere to be found.

Bad Taco #2: Norma’s Sweets Bakery is a Latin American grocery store with a small hot line in the rear of the building where you can get Honduran, Cuban and Nicaraguan soul food plates along with tacos, Cubanos and pupusas.

Lovely Taquera At Norma's Sweets Bakery

Lovely Taquera At Norma’s Sweets Bakery

You are not allowed to order single tacos. This is forbidden so I charted two carne guisada tacos along with a refried bean. The wheels came off when I poured the attendant green salsa over the carne tacos unbidden.
The Corn Tortillas Are Handmade At Norma's Sweets Bakery

The Corn Tortillas Are Handmade At Norma’s Sweets Bakery

The salsa was spoiled. Thereby spoiling the meat. The refried bean taquito fared better; it was tiny but decent.

Bad Taco #3: Brown Derby inside the Exxon gas station at Jefferson Davis and Tulane. A bizarre experience where I was accosted by a worker for taking photographs; I explained that I was writing an article on tacos in New Orleans and the gentleman backed off a bit but the whole scene made the team uneasy.

The Worst Taco In New Orleans Is Available At The Brown Derby

The Worst Taco In New Orleans Is Available At The Brown Derby

There are no tacos on the menu but the hot-line deli lady makes good scratch tortillas and will put steam line meats in them.
Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

I ordered a mystery meat that turned out to be mainly silver-skin, it was like eating rubber bands that had been rubbed with charcoal briquets. The salsa was Louisiana Hot Sauce. At least the tortilla was good.

Bad Taco #4: Taqueria Guerrero enjoys a good reputation in New Orleans but I can’t figure out why.

Interior Photo Of Taqueria Guerrero

Interior Photo Of Taqueria Guerrero

I ordered an al pastor taco that was stewed (no trompo) pork with some oddball tasting Moroccan spice as well as a carne azada taco that was similarly stewed. The flour tortillas were handmade but not done by someone who has any business cooking in a restaurant. Salsa was bland. Service quite nice. I won’t be back.

That finished our day of bad tacos. We drove around for three hours trying like hell to approximate a taco trail that we could replicate from time to time when our cravings for Mexican food hit.

New Orleans is the best eating city in the US, that has been an established fact for well over one hundred years. But what we don’t do well is tacos. To confirm this I will gather a crew together and go on another taco sortie in the next few months.

It will take that long to get this awful taste out of my mouth.

Let's Excavate All The Bad Tacos In New Orleans And Haul Them To The City Dump

Let’s Excavate All The Bad Tacos In New Orleans And Haul Them To The City Dump

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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13 Responses to On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: The New Orleans Taco Trail

  1. Tom says:

    For the record: there’s a Brown Derby at Jefferson Davis and Tulane (not Canal), inside what clearly used to be be a gas station, but is not one any more (neither Exxon’s nor anyone else’s).

    Glad there’s someone in New Orleans writing about food who knows how tacos are supposed to taste. And who knows that Central America is not the same place or cuisine as Mexico.

  2. RL Reeves Jr says:

    Thanks Tom, after 2 decades in Texas and countless trips to Mexico I definitely established a good baseline for what a well made taco tastes like. Next time I’m hitting Del Fuego, heard they’re pretty good over there. RL Reeves Jr

  3. Diego says:

    Wow that’s a classic blog article right there! Glad Mike Sutter linked to it on twitter. We miss you in Austin. How are you enjoying New Orleans. My wife doesn’t like the feel of the city – too “sinister” for her. I don’t really know what she means, unless she somehow can just sense the corruption.

  4. RL Reeves Jr says:

    New Orleans, like all cities, has an array of faults, defects and shortcomings. The city is famously corrupt and as a resident I’ve discovered that that reputation is well earned. But I do love it here, the food and the people make the town easy to have a love affair with. https://twitter.com/RLReevesJr

  5. Diego says:

    In my hurry to type, I meant to say, I had suggested moving to New Orleans. It’s time for me to exit Austin. The wife nixed it, which I found just sad. I think I could love living there, too.

  6. RL Reeves Jr says:

    Lots of cool cities in the world, Austin got too crowded for my taste. We considered a bunch of towns: Asheville, Nashville, Atlanta, San Antonio before deciding on NOLA

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