Eating Vegetarian In New Orleans Is Not Obvious
The number of vegetarians increases every day. New Orleans is a better town for eaters of that persuasion than it once was, but one fact remains true: few restaurants have that diet as a main theme, and they are not often ambitious in their cooking. Not enough that the presence of a vegetarian in your midst should force you to go there.
A better strategy is to dine in a mainstream restaurant whose kitchen buys good fresh local greengroceries and knows how to cook. That includes most of the better restaurants hereabouts. The restaurants to avoid are the chains (whose recipes are locked, and sometimes completely prepared in advance), the older restaurants with long-established menus they're reluctant to change, and some neighborhood restaurants (they don't have the staff or the space to improvise dishes).
But in most white-tablecloth restaurants, ordering vegetarian is a matter of shopping the menu for ingredients. If you ask such a place to make a risotto with the mushrooms from the pork tenderloin dish, the asparagus from the veal Oscar, and the romano cheese flakes from the grilled oysters, you will find them not only willing but adept. More restaurants have excellent vegetarian dishes actually on the menu, but I still think it's a better idea to ask them to make something specific. But the vegetarian should come up with his or her own ideas, based on the menu.
Finally, Asian restaurants are good sources of vegetarian meals. All vegetarians know this. The great increase in the number of local Thai restaurants has been especially helpful, since so many Thai dishes can be made vegetarian without even a small loss of culinary interest.