Gulf Coast Chefs and Seafood

by A. V. Crofts Travel and portrait photographer Nisha Sondhe came to New Orleans to document the city's oyster chefs and fishermen. Read more about her trip in Requiem for an Oyster. Upperline Restaurant
Owner JoAnn Clevenger and Chef Ken Smith dine in front of Upperline Restaurant. At the time of the photo, their local oyster supply had been suspended.
Nisha Sondhe
Pascal's Manale
Chef Mark DeFelice of Pascal's Manale and his frutta del mare, made with fresh oysters that had been delivered that morning. He served it with Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2007.
Nisha Sondhe
Pascal's Manale
A close-up of the frutta del mare at Pascal's Manale. "It had just arrived from the kitchen and we were waiting for Mark to join us for the photo. I couldn't resist," says photographer Nisha Sondhe.
Nisha Sondhe
Mother's Restaurant
Mother's chef Gerard C. Amato presents his favorite oyster dish--gumbo, made with local seafood.
Nisha Sondhe
Mother's Restaurant
The seafood platter at Mother's Restaurant: local fish, shrimp, and oysters.
Nisha Sondhe
An oyster po'boy from Kjean Seafood, a tiny take-out place with a reputation for serving the best po'boys in town.Nisha Sondhe
Cooter Brown's Tavern
Raw oysters from Cooter Brown's Tavern, also known for its broad beer selection.
Nisha Sondhe
Matt & Naddie's
Chef Steve Schwartz of Matt & Naddie's has left his favorite oyster dishes on the menu so diners can see the dishes they're missing.
Nisha Sondhe
Matt & Naddie's
Chef-owner Steve Schwartz of Matt & Naddie's Restaurant enjoying his favorite dish on the menu (of those he can still serve): grilled Gulf-caught mahimahi escabeche.
Nisha Sondhe
Bourbon House
Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House features one of New Orleans's liveliest oyster bars.
Nisha Sondhe
Bourbon House
Chef de cuisine J. N. Zink displays the restaurant's signature redfish on the half shell, topped with fried oysters.
Nisha Sondhe
Bourbon House
Gulf oysters are still served at the oyster bar.
Nisha Sondhe
Lake Salvador
A shrimp boat stays overnight to catch shrimp in Lake Salvador.
Nisha Sondhe
Jean Lafitte
Shrimp boats lie docked outside fishermen's homes near Jean Lafitte.
Nisha Sondhe
Jean Lafitte
Capt. E. J. Plaisance Jr. of Jean Lafitte Fishing Charters. "Captain Plaisance was the one who took us around for the sunrise shots and helped us plan our trip," says Sondhe. "He told us he'd been out of work all summer. In July he used to take his boat out on tours and trips every day, maybe twice a day. This July he had one booking. I think it was ours."
Nisha Sondhe
Jean Lafitte
"This little fishing camp in Lake Salvador withstood both Betsy and Katrina," Captain Plaisance says. "It should survive this mess, too."
Nisha Sondhe
Jean Lafitte
Louisiana cypress trees at sunrise. "The trees and the bayou are in danger," says Captain Plaisance. "Everyone is worried about a hurricane."
Nisha Sondhe
Bayou Perot
Bayou Perot by Lafitte, Louisiana, at sunrise, facing west.
Nisha Sondhe
Bayou Perot
Bayou Perot by Lafitte, Louisiana, at sunrise, facing east.
Nisha Sondhe