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And with the band's new CD Uh Oh now available and fall dates lined up with Cracker and Hootie and the Blowfish, the Mouth shows no sign of quieting down. Snooks Eaglin -- Snooks still cooks. The legendary local guitarist regularly enthralls local audiences with his massive repertoire, dazzling and percussive guitar playing, and irreverent stage banter. Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers -- You won't find a more generous entertainer than Ruffins, whose barbecuing between sets is as sweet and smokin' as his stage presence. His trumpet playing and warm vocals always evoke memories of Louis Armstrong, but Ruffins' brass-band background and diverse tastes make him a singular performer in his own right.

Rockin' Dopsie Jr. ReBirth Brass Band -- ReBirth recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and the band's contemporary brass band sound is still a wailing horn blast that incorporates traditional material with everything from hip-hop to soul. Proof of the band's huge local fanbase can be found at the packed crowds at its standard Tuesday night gig at the Maple Leaf. Mystikal -- New Orleans native Mystikal is known for his rapid-fire delivery and catchy anthems such as his smash hit "Shake Ya Ass. Theresa Andersson -- Andersson first gained notice on the local scene more than a decade ago as a member of Anders Osborne's band, but now the singer and violinist is really starting to turn heads with her blossoming solo career.

Andersson's leadership of her new tight band, and regular gigs at the Red Eye Grill, bode well for her next album, scheduled for a fall release. Bag of Donuts -- Bag of Donuts is one cover band that puts some work into their stage shows. The attendance was down from , but the question remains: if Jazz Fest keeps growing, what will Festival Productions do to keep crowds from becoming unmanageable? Esplanade Ave.

Austin's is an old-fashioned neighborhood restaurant for the new millennium, a place where diners can cure hankerings for trout amandine and turtle soup in smart, suburban surroundings. Owner Eddie McIntyre cut his teeth at his Mr. Ed's Delis and Mr. Ed's Restaurant in Bucktown. Meanwhile, the original LuLu's may have been the bravest restaurant venture of in an Exchange Alley kitchen, located practically at the core of the French Quarter, Chef Corbin Evans dared to fry no fish, to call no soup a gumbo.

Freshness in product and flavor still rule the small cafe and its patch of alleyway dining. Evans opened his second dream restaurant in the Garden District Hotel with an extended menu that offers nearly as many salads as entrees. Was it the monstrous stuffed artichokes? Perhaps it was the fried dill pickles or the fact that the kitchen cuts its own potatoes for French fries? We think it was all of the above, plus the Abita served in frosted bowl mugs. Deanie's Seafood Restaurant Iberville St.

The house signature, barbecue shrimp in a lemon-butter-garlic sauce the orange color of a hot iron poker, can be as luscious and as messy as any in town. Sid-Mar's of Bucktown Orpheum Ave. Acme Oyster House Iberville St. Boston St. Vincent's Hwy. Specialties such as his housemade spinach-stuffed cannelloni, not-too-sweet red sauces and crabmeat-smothered fish have led to additional restaurants in Uptown New Orleans and in Baton Rouge, and the first official Vincent's franchise is enjoying early success in a Mandeville shopping center.

Five Happiness S. You've got a yen but don't know what for? Five Happiness' menu is a catalog of Hunan, Szechuan, Mandarin and made-up dishes. Having a family reunion? The Imperial Room next door can fit all of you. Sake Cafe Veterans Memorial Blvd. The lights are dimmed, the surfaces are hard and the sake selection is worthy of its own Best Of category. The extensive menu of Japanese-styled appetizers, salads and entrees allows even the sushi-phobic to discover Eastern eating.

Many Orleanians slurped their first bowls of pho at the original Pho Tau Bay, which operated quietly in Gretna for more than two decades prior to the current Vietnamese restaurant boom. The clear noodle soups are exhilarating when doctored with fresh herbs, hot chile peppers and hoisin and fish sauces. Basil Leaf S. Chef-owner Siam Titiparwat, a Bangkok native, apprenticed at his mother's restaurant beginning at age 5. Today his cooking looks and tastes as fined-tuned as Basil Leaf itself, a neat white tablecloth restaurant situated along oak-lined Carrollton Avenue.

Byblos Metairie Road. The Old Metairie restaurant is a comfortable bastion of clean, carefully prepared dishes, and the newest Byblos Uptown plays to an urban crowd with its always-buzzing bar and al fresco dining along Magazine Street. The Middle Eastern market and deli in Metairie, where the chicken shawarma is unbeatable, is a supplement to them both. Mona's Frenchmen St. Taqueria Corona Fulton St.

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Readers return again and again for Taqueria Corona's soft-shell tacos try the tongue , fresh pico de gallo salsa and salty grill-charred green onions. Juan's Flying Burrito Magazine St. Chevy's Fresh Mex Manhattan Blvd. The second restaurant in a Louisiana mini-chain, this Serrano's brings uncommon dishes such as posole and sweet sopaipillas into the local mainstream.

The menu represents several Latin American countries, though Mexican dishes in the taco-burrito-enchilada realm get the most plate time. The Praline Connection Frenchmen St. Generous portions of red beans, white beans, lima beans and crowder peas offer the biggest bang for the buck. For dessert, there's bread pudding with praline sauce, or one of the fabulous namesake candies, prepared in a variety of flavors.

Ruth's Chris Steak House N. Broad St. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse Iberville St. Camellia Grill S. Day and night, diners hunch elbow-to-elbow over impossibly light omelettes and slices of chocolate pecan pie toasted on the griddle. Bluebird Cafe Prytania St. Some customers bring umbrellas for relief, others icy Frappuccinos -- whatever it takes to hold out for Bluebird's huevos rancheros with salsa and black beans, or hearty banana-pecan-blueberry pancakes. Piccadilly Cafeteria Citywide; www. Few restaurants more swiftly accommodate a carload of tastes. The menu is a collection of Southern favorites, from fried okra to red velvet cake.

Kids eat cupcakes, Jell-O and macaroni and cheese, sometimes in that order. Thursday nights, kids eat even cheaper and there's entertainment, to boot. Shoney's Citywide; www. Bella Luna Restaurant N. Two floors up, smartly dressed employees immediately set to work at making each moment feel like a special occasion. Fresh flowers, fine Champagne, cozy booths and a view of the Mississippi -- no wonder so many engagements have been brokered here. Feelings Cafe Chartres St. Dot's Diner Jefferson Hwy.

Dot's menu includes a variety of hamburgers, omelettes and daily specials -- and coffee refills are free no matter how long you linger. Burgers are made with brown rice, millet, lentils and sunflower seeds, and bagels are served with organic cream cheese in this bright, neon-lit Frenchmen Street space. Whole Foods Market Esplanade Ave. Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro St.

As the name suggests, this is ground zero for sweet, creamy cheesecakes served with innumerable toppings in portions the extended family can enjoy. Palace Cafe Canal St. It traditionally begins with a cocktail, extends through several courses and doesn't fizzle out until the last drip of coffee and chicory. The menu is serious in size and content, offering seasonal specials and standards such as turtle soup and the famous bread pudding souffle. Court of Two Sisters Royal St. Bacco Chartres St. King Buffet Veterans Memorial Blvd. Sauteed blue crabs, spicy shrimp, frog legs and oysters on the half-shell are some of the restaurant's crown jewels.

The Buffet at Harrah's S. Antoine's St. Louis St. Emeril Lagasse -- In addition to being deservedly recognized as an innovative chef, Emeril merits a nod for being New Orleans' Best PR Man, as his cookbooks, Food Network programs and cheeky mug have brought inestimable cachet to the city and its food scene over the past decade. Just try to sit two minutes with an empty water glass. Let a linen napkin slide from your lap -- we bet staff members will respond before it hits the floor. Emeril's Tchoupitoulas St.

Galatoire's Restaurant Bourbon St. The most coveted seating is along a wall of windows overlooking the Mississippi River, though readers also enjoy a more intimate dining room adjacent to the entrance and the cushy-backed seats at the bar. The Terrace Room, surrounded by glass and thus the riverfront's twinkle of lights, is available for private parties and receptions. Jacques-Imo's Cafe Oak St. Cafe Degas Esplanade Ave. If plastic walls can keep out the rain?

If it's enjoyable to eat classic French onion soup there -- in August? Semantics notwithstanding, Cafe Degas' temperature-controlled, practically wall-free dining room allows diners to both experience and appreciate the weather during any month of the year. It may not technically be outdoors -- and we think that might be why readers voted for Degas in our summertime poll.

The Grill Room Gravier St. This vote indicates that new Chef Jonathan Wright's cuisine may be added to the luxury list. The Rib Room St. Cobalt St. By moonglow, Bella Luna's unhindered panorama of the Mississippi River is a spectacle of twinkling lights, glistening water and ships passing in the night. The Brennan Family, several members of which took over Commander's Palace in , is unmatched in its ability to merge Southern hospitality, consistency and devotion to fine cooking in one restaurant.

Foodies Kitchen St. Suddenly Commander's Palace turtle soup was being eaten with plastic spoons during primetime all over the city. Bob and Karyn Champagne, who purchased Foodies Kitchen last winter, have maintained the general construct, including the turtle soup. The roughly 40 sandwich options range from a bagel with cream cheese to the Mouthbuster: pastrami and French fries on toasted rye bread with all the dressings.

The daily specials can get pretty elaborate, such as duck l'orange and oysters Rockefeller soup. Kosher Cajun N. Deli and Grocery Severn Ave. Houston's Veterans Memorial Blvd. Central Grocery Decatur St. The discus-size sandwiches are made with salami, ham, mortadella, Emmentaler cheese, housemade olive salad and round sesame bread. Yet all three center around the oyster bar, and many customers never make it to a table. Acme has also fusionized the oyster by serving it with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger and calling it Cajun Sushi.

Arnoult Road, Metairie, ; www. Cooter Brown's Tavern S. Voodoo BBQ St. All of Voodoo's meats -- beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs -- are smoked over a mix of pecan, oak and hickory woods. For sauces, there's a spicy southwest Texas version, a vinegary sauce like Carolina folks adore; and a hot and fruity number made with mango and Crystal hot sauce.

Luther's Severn Ave. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, ; www. Pizzas range from the simple Margarita roma tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese to the meaty Salciccia Marinara Italian, alligator and andouille sausages with mozzarella cheese. At Rocky's, pizza crusts are capable of standing up to any topping, be it spinach, artichoke hearts and feta cheese or a bayou's worth of seafood in Cajun seasonings. The ambiance is knock-about casual and fun, with two-for-one pizza specials on Monday nights. Reginelli's Pizzeria State St. Popeye's Citywide; www. When it comes straight from the fryer, spiced to kill, we admit it can be wickedly good.

On weekends after midnight, the all-white meat chicken strips are causing traffic jams at the new Claiborne Avenue location. The Gumbo Shop St. It not only offers one of the most extensive gumbo selections in the city but also serves gumbo in staggering amounts. During a panel discussion at this year's Jazz Fest, chef-owner Richard Stewart reported that his restaurant sells to gallons per week! Spinach, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and the very necessary splash of sherry also find their rightful place in this local classic. Locals travel out to the Bucktown location by the droves, and the French Quarter restaurant is likewise rarely empty.

Pascal's Manale Restaurant Napoleon Ave. It'll stain your favorite silk blouse faster than you can order another Sazerac, so let the servers tie that paper bib around your neck and dig in. B's Bistro Royal St. The Lakeshore Drive and Northshore restaurants also serve the New Orleans Oyster Loaf, which spans 12 inches and includes two dozen fried oysters. Casamento's Magazine St. Mother's Poydras St. The roast beef po-boy is a classic: slow-cooked roast beef and debris gravy piled with cabbage and pickles on French bread that's crusty outside and fleecy inside.

The Famous Ferdi, essentially a roast beef po-boy with added baked ham, may have helped this vote. Randazzo's Goodchildren Bakery E. Judge Perez Drive, Violet, ; E. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, ; E. Randazzo's Goodchildren Bakery shops also sell them year-round. Paved with cinnamon, these king cakes may be filled with just about any combination of fruit, cream cheese and nuts.

Gambino's Bakeries Inc. Citywide; www. Haydel's Jefferson Hwy. Cooks bake a straightforward bread pudding made with cinnamon, raisins and day-old French bread; then they break the bread pudding up, combine it with stiffly beaten egg whites and then bake it again, creating a lofty souffle. At the table, servers fracture the oven-hot souffles with spoons and then drown them in whisky sauce. What's the big deal? The expanded surface area allows for more burnt sugary crunch -- creme brulee's raison d'etre -- with every bite.

A crisp tuille basket filled with diced seasonal fruit comes as a lagniappe on the side. During the hottest months the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Bordeaux streets is a wonderland of ice shaved to snowflake consistency and saturated with a variety of one-of-a-kind, all-homemade syrups. We asked Ashley earlier this summer for the season's hottest flavor, and she said grapeade: a customer-concocted combination of grape and super-tart lemon syrups.

Rue de la Course Magazine St.

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The Big Rue's greatest attribute is that it manages to feel bohemian, new-millennium hip and intellectual all at once. Maurice's French Pastries A S. Customers at the newer cafe may sit for a spell with a cup of coffee and their bakery loot. Maurice's popularity is also bolstered by its king cakes, made both in the traditional French and traditional New Orleans styles.

La Madeleine Citywide; www.

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Angelo Brocato N. Brocato flavors exist nowhere else in town: zuppe inglese, panna cotta, nocciolata, fiore di latte and seasonal ices such as peach and watermelon. Spumoni, baked Alaska, freshly filled cannoli and a variety of cookies and biscotti fare are best eaten in house with an Italian espresso. Crawfish bread -- John Ed Laborde used to bake crawfish bread in his apartment to sell to friends.

Now, our readers show their gratitude. The key principle, says Laborde, is the dough, which is always prepared and rolled out by hand. Seasoned crawfish and mozzarella, cheddar, Romano and Parmesan cheeses also contribute to the finished product, which is browned on the Jazz Fest grounds and served warm. Tabasco -- While chefs and civilians debate the virtues of the state's three most popular hot sauces, readers decide that Tabasco reigns supreme. Tabasco's hot red peppers are harvested on Avery Island, a salt-dome island about miles from New Orleans. A variety of pepper sauces include chipotle pepper sauce, habanero pepper sauce, garlic pepper sauce and green pepper sauce.

David Vitter -- U. David Vitter, who won this category last year, repeats in ' A Rhodes scholar in economics and a conservative Republican iconoclast, he was first elected to represent Metairie at the Louisiana Legislature in Vitter has been re-elected twice since then. Jackie Clarkson -- Clarkson, the first woman elected to represent District C on the City Council, finished third last year.

This year she is No. Clarkson's controversial campaign to "clean up" the French Quarter apparently registered with our readers -- and her nearly all-red wardrobe always makes her stand out. Aaron Broussard -- A Napoleonic history buff and lead singer of his own rock-and-roll band "Me and the Other Guys" , Broussard, 54, finished third in this category last year. Broussard has been a force in parish politics since he was elected to a district seat on the parish school board in He is a candidate for parish president this fall.

Bobby Jindal -- In , Gov. By 27, Jindal was in charge of the state's eight universities and had chaired a bipartisan congressional panel of the future of Medicare. Jindal, now 31, wants to be governor. Our readers say it can happen. Trash collector -- Readers recommend a little manual labor before the outgoing guv retires to Oak Lawn plantation. Or maybe readers upset with his environmental policies think it's time for a little karma. Nagin's pro-business, anti-corruption platform obviously resonates -- our readers just want him to keep on keepin' on.

Raise teachers' pay -- A simple equation that could be on the LEAP test: higher pay equals a better workforce. However, Louisiana teachers are still below the Southern regional average. None -- Our state lawmakers always try to be on their best behavior in an election year. Alas, to no avail. They can buy their own bouquets. Foster took office in , but it's not enough for our readers. Mary Landrieu -- U. First elected in , she survived a tough re-election fight last year with help from last year's winner in this category, U. John Breaux. Al Copeland vs. Luan Hunter -- Restaurateur Al Copeland is famous for both fried chicken and big beefs.

Recall the uproar from residential neighbors over his famous Christmas light display and his public feud with vampire novelist Anne Rice over his restaurant frontage. But Copeland's child custody dispute with ex-wife Luan Hunter has devolved into a federal corruption probe of the Jefferson Parish courthouse, easily beating out his feud with former riverboat casino owner Robert Guidry. TIE Jackie Clarkson vs.

Suzanne Haik Terrell. Canal Street brothel -- A juicy sex scandal that finished second last year climaxed this year. The brothel, hub of a nationwide prostitution network based here in New Orleans, was shuttered by the feds. Canal Street brothel madam Jeannette Maier and other hookers were sentenced to probation -- great deals.

But almost all of the cat-house clientele escaped prosecution. And according to the Madam, their customers were among the creme of society. Marc Morial: "I was not aware of patronage or corruption when I was mayor. Morial has since assumed the presidency of he National Urban League.


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Meanwhile, local U. Attorney Jim Letten continues to probe for evidence of misconduct during the Morial years -- and no one is calling the federal probes a wild goose chase. Landrieu spent a lot of time and campaign money trying to convince voters she has moderated to the political center. Yet, she is still our readers' favorite liberal.

The selection of Landrieu might suggest that "local liberal" is itself an oxymoron. Look below at the second and third places for further support for this notion. Earthsea Cycle. Leckie, Ann. Lee, Tanith. Lee, Yoon Ha. Leiber, Fritz. Lem, Stanislaw. Lethem, Jonathan. Lindsay, David. Link, Kelly. Liu, Cixin. Liu, Ken. Loeff, David. Longyear, Barry. Lovecraft, H. Lowry, Lois. Lynch, Scott. Macleod, Ian R. Aether stories. Macleod, Ken. Fall Revolution series. Malzberg, Barry. Margulies, Leo ed. Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. Martel, Yann. Martin, George R. A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Marusek, David. Masson, Da v id L. Matheson, Richard. McAuley, Paul. McCaffrey, Anne. McDevitt, Jack. McDonald, Ian. Chaga series. McHugh, Maureen. McIntyre, Vonda. McMaster Bujold, Lois. Mieville, China. Bas-Lag series. Miller, Walter M. Mirrlees, Hope. Mitchell, David.


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    Sladek, John. Slonczewski, Joan. Smith, Cordwainer. Smith, L. Smythe, James. It was flat, and tasted like ass. Donkey, to be specific. He poured some more past His jawbones, and gulped it down. He doused His toes with the remainder, enjoying the sensation of the tiny bubbles in the wine tickling His toenails.

    He sat there, eyes closed, just breathing in, and out, slowly, for a few minutes, letting the stress of the day float away from Him. He always enjoyed this; it reminded Him of that day with Peter, sans the stormy winds. He walked around the ship, His first Mai Tai in hand, just observing the play of light between the ship, the sea and the sky. He stood on the surface, occasionally dipping His toes into the water, scaring a random fish. He briefly thought about dividing it into a couple thousand more, and tossing a few million loaves of bread into the water, just to stir things up a bit, but realized that would be against the rules of The Wager.

    He stomped on the water, and the fish swam off. His stigmata were bothering Him this fine morning. He scratched at one, slightly. It was irksome that, after all these thousands of years, He still felt them when the weather was dry, or if He really thought about it. Sometimes, while He slept, they wept blood. He would take His Own name in vain, then, grabbing the red-stained sheets into handfuls of silky vestments, and shove them into the washing machines.

    They never were totally clean; He could detect the faint traces of His blood, even after using OxyClean.