Unfortunately, I don't know a lot about Cajun culture or Mardi Gras, the bayous or the French Quarter.
I can, however, sing you every song of The Princess and the Frog, although that doesn't count for much if you're not babysitting a three year old.
From my limited knowledge of The Big Easy comes this attempt at red beans and rice. I wanted something hot and a little spicy to combat this long, cold month of March.
I can't tell you if this tastes anything like what you could get in New Orleans! I can tell you that it's freakin delicious. This would be equally tasty if you used a tofu option to replace the sausage. It's a pretty versatile meal!
Red Beans and Rice*this makes between 4 and 6 healthy servings*
Prepare brown rice so it yields 3 cups total of cooked rice. That's about 1.5 cups of rice and 3 cups of water.
In a large skillet (and I mean the largest one you own), heat 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add 1 medium onion, diced, 1 stalk of celery, diced, and 2 chopped garlic cloves. Cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened. (Feel free to toss in a carrot or bell pepper if you desire.)
Add 1 pound of your favorite sausage and cooked until browned.
Drain off any excess fat, then add two cans of drained and rinsed red kidney beans. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Add 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. dried sage, and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes.
Bring to a simmer, then cook until beans begin to break down and the mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over rice.