COVID in New Orleans, and 500 Subscribers! 

I’m so excited to announce that LAtoNOLA now has 500 Subscribers! I’ve never really pushed for subscribers so I’m thrilled to reach such a milestone. Thank you to my longtime followers like Danica in L.A., Angela in the UK and Mike M. in New Orleans as well as newer subscribers like Emmanuel in Nigeria, Aditya and Rishika in India and Misty in New Orleans. I’ve only blogged 4 times since Fat Tuesday ended New Orleans’ Carnival season and COVID-19 began reshaping our lifestyle. For over a decade, this blog has been a way to share our city’s deeply-rooted and fascinating culture. Sadly, the virus has shuttered our bars and silenced most of our musicians. Many restaurants are take-out only if they’re open at all. Festivals and concerts are cancelled. There hasn’t been much culture to blog about.

This weekend would have been Southern Decadence – when the LGBTQ community overtakes the French Quarter from Wednesday through the end of Labor Day filling the streets with revelry, costumes and parades. Parts of the Quarter are actually fairly busy this weekend. Masked tourists wander in and out of shops. The long line has returned in front of Cafe du Monde where people eat powdered-sugar-covered beignets at socially distanced tables in the shaded outdoor dining area. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2020, parade

French Quarter Fest, etc. And Coronavirus

As I mentioned in my last post, New Orleans has been staying home since before St. Patrick’s Day and it’s been a huge adjustment for this community-oriented tourist destination. This time of year, there are well-attended festivals and second line parades every week. The constant flow of visitors and convention attendees fill our hotels and flood our streets, restaurants, bars, parks and venues. I’ve accepted the loss of it all fairly well but today would’ve been the first day of my favorite festival of the year, French Quarter Fest. Continue reading

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Filed under Concerts, Culture, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine

New Orleans and Corona Virus

I miss New Orleans. I walk St. Charles and miss parades. The St. Patrick’s parade was cancelled well before the stay-at-home came. Then my favorite day of the year was cancelled, Super Sunday when the Mardi Gras Indians parade Central City in elaborately beaded and feathered suits they spent a year (and thousands) sewing. As the virus spread across the country and ravaged our state, in the city we retreated to our homes and looked for tips on finding toilet paper. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, parade, Uncategorized, walking

#StayHome Movie Recommendations – Movies with Great Soundtracks

Like most of the country, we in New Orleans are staying home to help prevent the spread of the corona virus. My industry is shut down. No cameras are rolling. L.A. has no traffic or smog. Hollywood South is also fairly silent. I already miss hearing live music all over the city. Until the festivals and buskers return and the bars reopen, here are some wonderful movies with great soundtracks.

The first time I ever remember noticing a movie’s soundtrack was when I saw George Lucas’ American Graffitti. Still one of my favorites, the movie follows a bunch of friends on their last night before going off to college or war or becoming an adult. The ensemble cast launched the careers of Richard Dreyfuss, Kathleen Quinlan, Mackenzie Phillips, Harrison Ford, Continue reading

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#StayHome Movie Recommendations – Classic Comedies

New Orleans is silent. There’s not one horn blowing in the French Quarter. Like most of the country, we’re staying home to help prevent the spread of the corona virus. Since there are no festivals happening, no free concerts or Pelicans games, etc., I have no events to blog about. Like many, we hunkered down for a weekend of “Netflix and chill.”

My industry is shut down. There’s no traffic in L.A. But our movies will help get the world through this. I decided to share a list of some of the movies that have shaped me as an actor/filmmaker and as a person – starting with comedies. I’m starting here because these movies were always there for me when I needed a laugh and some relief from my worries. Continue reading

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Fat Tuesday 2020 – Costumes!

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. Diehards stay for the long procession of truck parades – basic floats with no bands or dancers.

We’re costumers. Fat Tuesday ties with the Mardi Gras Indians’ Super Sunday for my favorite day for photos. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2020, parade

Krewes of Thoth & Bacchus Parades

After a weather rescheduling cancelled the bands and dancers from the Krewe of Muses parade, I couldn’t wait to dance with the Pussyfooters in the Krewe of Thoth parade. But Carnival had turned tragic again Saturday night with the second tandem-float-related death. To be honest, it was an odd day. I was grateful to be spending it with my pink-corseted sisters bringing smiles to thick crowds.

Founded in 1947, the Krewe of Thoth has a unique Uptown route designed to pass hospitals and other care facilities people have trouble leaving for a parade. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, history, Mardi Gras 2020, parade, Uncategorized

Krewe of Tucks Parade 2020

Kids love the irreverently fun, toilet-themed Krewe of Tucks parade.  Throws include hand-decorated scrub brushes and plungers as well as other potty-humored beads, toys and poop-shaped lollipops. The rolls of purple, green and gold toilet paper are traditionally tossed over the arching live oak bows that line St. Charles, leaving the route strewn with light-catching streamers rippling in the breeze. Continue reading

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Krewe of Iris 2020

Established in 1917, Krewe of Iris is the oldest all-female krewe and they truly set the standard. The queen wears a traditional  beaded gown, jeweled crown a wide, ostrich-feather-trimmed, lace collar. But it’s the rest of the royal court that sets this krewe apart with their sequined gowns topped with giant, elaborately beaded collars depicting different themes. I especially like the Maid in the Saints collar and her Duke’s matching Pelicans cape.

Their floats are gorgeous. My favorite was back – the woman’s face with long hair flowing, purple irises nested in the locks. Continue reading

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Krewes of Hermes & d’Etat Parades 2020

The Mystic Krewe of Hermes is the oldest of 3 parades that roll Friday night. Because of weather rescheduling, we’d already watched 2 parades – Muses and Babylon – without bands and dancing groups to keep things moving quickly. Though we have 5-parade days on weekends, we don’t normally start have to start them after school lets out. Hermes blanketed the crowd in blinkies, including their popular glowing wing headpieces. My favorite moment was when Saints legend Steve Gleason rolled past covered in glow tubes – but he was too quick for my camera.

The riders of  Le Krewe d’Etat threw a satirical spotlight on everything from Jeffrey Epstein to A.O.C. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2020, parade, Uncategorized