There are New Orleans traditions that belong mostly to our visitors (Bourbon Street) and those that belong uniquely to locals, but there are a few traditions we all share. We all eat beignets, we all love Mardi Gras (though often for different reasons) and we all love the Tuesday night tradition of Rebirth Brass Band playing the Maple Leaf. Rebirth is the first brass band to ever win a Grammy. The world has heard them in many soundtracks dating back to Reginald Hudlin’s Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy in 1992. Last years’s hit Girls Trip included the band’s original, Do Watcha Wanna – practically a city anthem.
I’d been to the Maple Leaf in the 90’s during a location scout for a film and not much has changed. The service was fantastic – a winning balance of fast and friendly. Continue reading
After ending food and music at the Creole Tomato Fest and the fun spectacle of the Naked Bike Parade, we were primed for the Gay Pride Parade. Bigger and longer every year, the parade includes LGBTQ groups, community organizations, churches and more. Dance and walking krewes included Roux La La, Sirens, High Quality, Krewe des Fleur, Krewe of Goddesses, Crescent City Fae, AUX, NOLA Cherry Bombs, Disco Amigos and the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi. I worked up a sweat dancing when One Shot Brass Band got stuck on from of us for a while. I also spotted singing, fiddling spitfire, Amanda Shaw, and the always moving Dancing Man 504.
There were over 20 parade floats as well as drag queens and walking groups Continue reading
I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Williamsburg, VA as a “celebrity” at a signing convention. Fighting the “REAL MONSTERS” of childhood illness, breast cancer and more, Scares That Care! selects 3 families a year with financial burdens brought on by these issues. For the price of admission, participants are offered everything from classes and workshops to a Kids Zone with movies, books, board games, coloring books, costumes, crafts and a selfie station. The staff of the DoubleTree were all in the spirit, wearing costumes of favorite horror characters. As we all arrived, there was a screening of Piranha at the inviting indoor/outdoor pool and “Scaryoke” started up in the bar. Continue reading
My birthday celebrating started early this year with a dinner at John Besh’s Domenica with old friend Richard Dreyfuss and his lovely and amazing wife, Svetlana. Over the 25 years we’ve known each other, Richard and I have worked on 3 movies together, collaborated on a Katrina relief project and he even wrote the foreword to my book, Know Small Parts: An Actor’s Guide to Turning Minutes into Moments and Moments into a Career. The menu from Executive Chef Alon Shaya, 2015’s James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award winner, provided a delicious take on some traditional Italian dishes as well as offering show-stoppers like the Squid Ink Tagliolini with blue crab & herbs. We finished the meal with 3 beautiful and decadent desserts selected by our charming server, Cristina. Each dessert was decorated with a chocolate birthday banner. We were there for hours enjoying fabulous food and great company with perfect service. I’m definitely going back for that squid ink pasta dish. Continue reading