A Parade, 2 Festivals & Fireworks!

With a parade, 2 festivals, and fireworks – things felt almost back to normal this Independence Day weekend in New Orleans. Our normal is always a bit festive. The Creole Tomato Fest at the French Market featured (limited) food booths, virtual events, and trails of specialty menu items at participating bars and restaurants throughout the French Quarter. I was able to get my annual favorite – the Pontchartrain from George’s Produce ($10) – sliced tomato topped with lump crabmeat and remoulade sauce. 

The first NOLA Zydeco Fest took place next door on the lawn of the U.S. Mint, home to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Continue reading

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New Orleans Reopening

After over a year of hibernation, New Orleans is reopening. The line in front of Cafe du Monde has returned and regularly stretches to the steps facing Jackson Square. Restaurants are serving indoors (and out), live music has returned, and I passed a mother dancing in the street with her toddler the other day. We haven’t been dancing in the streets much so it felt good to see that energy again – the love of family, music and joyous moments all swaying in her hips.  Continue reading

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Easter 2021

Though New Orleans is busier than it’s been in a year, Easter had to go without our fabulous day of parades once again. Like with Yardi Gras’ house floats, some homes and businesses turned their places into festively decorated floats. Restaurants and churches were open for masked and distanced indoor seating. Our plans revolved around me wearing my fabulous new hat. A week or so ago, a package arrived with an Easter-bonnet-worthy hat in the hot pink and vibrant orange colors of my parade dance krewe, the Pussyfooters (about 100 women over-30 who dance in Mardi Gras and other parades and serve in non-profit events year round). Continue reading

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House Floats Wrap-Up

This year’s Carnival season was much quieter this year. No parades with their marching bands and screaming crowds. No music venues packed with dancing patrons. Bourbon Street was closed. In fact, the French Quarter shut down liquor sales in the French Quarter for the final weekend of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. But New Orleans managed to make the best of a bad situation and came up with some fairly marvelous distractions. City Park created a drive-thru parade – Floats in the Oaks – as a safe way to see the floats, maybe catch a dance krewe, and relive some memories. I got to dance twice with my fellow Pussyfooters and it was pretty great being able to make people smile as they drove by.

But is was “Yardi Gras” that really gave the city something to smile about. Another socially distanced version of Mardi Gras, Yardi Gras turned thousands of houses and businesses throughout New Orleans (and as far away as Australia and Abu Dhabi) into parade floats. Continue reading

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House Floats – Algiers

“Yardi Gras,” the 2021 socially distanced version of Mardi Gras, has turned houses and businesses throughout New Orleans into parade floats. The grassroots Krewe of House Floats promoted this safe parade concept, encouraging people to use local businesses and artists to help decorate their places, or go DIY, then register on their map. The Krewe’s founder, Megan Boudreaux, lives in Algiers Point and we found her headquarters, the USS House Float. I can’t imagine she realized thousands of people would create house floats as far away as Australia and Abu Dhabi when she first came up with the Krewe.  

I’ve already covered the Marigny, the French QuarterSt. Charles Ave.,  Magazine Street, the Irish Channel, Mid-City, and the Garden District and Lower Garden District. Continue reading

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House Floats – Marigny

If you read my last post of the fabulous costumes of Fat Tuesday, you’ve already seen a few of the house floats in the Marigny, the neighborhood across Esplanade from the French Quarter. “Yardi Gras,” the 2021 socially distanced version of Mardi Gras, has turned houses and businesses throughout the city (and even the world) into parade floats. The grassroots Krewe of House Floats promoted this safe parade concept, encouraging people to use local businesses and artists to help decorate their places, or go DIY, then register on their map. The spectacular displays by float artists like Kern Studios have turned one St. Charles Ave. yard into a circus and another into a jurassic park – with top hats and masques. Continue reading

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Fat Tuesday 2021 – Costumes!

Usually, Fat Tuesday – Mardi Gras in French – splits the city into parade-goers and costumers. Parade-goers attend the Krewe of Zulu and Krewe of Rex parades, with diehards staying for the long procession of truck parades – all of which were cancelled for COVID. We’re costumers so though alcohol sales were forbidden in the French Quarter, and our day started at 28 degrees, we masked up and masqued up and ventured out. Continue reading

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House Floats – French Quarter

 “Yardi Gras” is the 2021 socially distanced version of Mardi Gras, where instead of crowding around floats throwing toys and beads, we’ve been wandering the city on foot and by car to see house floats – thousands of homes and businesses throughout the city decorated as parade floats. Krewe of House Floats promoted this safe parade concept, encouraging people to use local businesses and artists to help decorate their places, or go DIY, then register on their map. In the search for these fun and fabulous house floats, I’ve already covered St. Charles Ave.,  Magazine Street, the Irish Channel, Mid-City and the Garden District and Lower Garden District.

The historic French Quarter doesn’t have the luxury of large front lawns to take on their Yardi Gars displays, so lots of people chose to decorate their wrought iron balconies. My favorite is probably the Krewe of Sub-Krewe house with it’s life-sized  paper mache 610 Stomper and Pussyfooters dancers. Continue reading

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House Floats – St. Charles Ave.

St. Charles is famous in part for being the grand avenue the Uptown parades roll during Carnival in New Orleans. This time of year, the live-oak-and-manor-home lined avenue is normally crowded with ladder chairs topped with children, ice chests and barbecues, and throngs of festively dressed parade-goers snatching beads, toys and cups from the air as massive, colorful floats roll by carrying dozens of Krewe members scattering throws. Mardi Gras is an act of love and festivity with the members of the various Krewes paying for everything from the throws, floats, bands and dancers to the police and clean-up. But COVID interrupted that act of generosity.

Not to be undone, the city has embraced “Yardi Gras.” Thousands of homes and businesses throughout the city (and even the world) are decorated as parade floats. Continue reading

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House Floats – Garden District

In the search for fabulous and festive house floats, I’ve already covered Magazine Street, the Irish Channel, Mid-City and the Lower Garden District. New Orleans has been celebrating Mardi Gras in a safe, socially distanced way with City Park’s drive-thru Floats in the Oaks stationary parade and “Yardi Gras,” thousands of homes and businesses throughout the city decorated as parade floats. Krewe of House Floats promoted this safe parade concept, encouraging people to use local businesses and artists to help decorate their places as house floats, or go DIY, then register on their map. The effect is the city basically looks like a drive-thru parade. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2021, parade, Uncategorized, walking