Category Archives: Charity

Rebirth at Maple Leaf

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

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Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, history, Local Cuisine, the Saints

Festigals Parade

Festigals is a weekend gathering of women for networking, education, fundraising and New Orleanian fun. Their STEP UP to stop domestic violence parade (formerly the Stiletto Stroll) is the city’s largest women’s second-line parade. Festigals was my first parade as a Pussyfooter Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, festival, free events and lagniappe, parade

Gay Pride Parade 2018

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

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Filed under Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, parade

The Who Dat Nation Wins

Sure, the Saints lost the playoff game against the Vikings last Sunday, but winning rarely teaches us about the character of a person, a team or a place. Most of us don’t really know who or what we are until we’re faced with failure. As an actor, my life has been nearly defined by rejection. My life credo has long been “Dare To Fail.” Maybe that’s why being a Saints fan has come so easy to me. So, the Saints lost in the last millisecond of the game and, of course, we’re all disappointed. But Saints fans can turn any loss into a win.

Though I have roots reaching back centuries in this city, I didn’t move here until 2009 as the Saints were heading to their amazing Super Bowl victory. That made me more of a “New Dat” than a Who Dat. But I watched every game in bars throughout the city, Continue reading

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Filed under Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, parade, Super Bowl 2010, the Saints

Gleason Gras, Downriver Festival & Burger Fest

My family is safe after Hurricane Irma but it was a long, scary weekend. Luckily, New Orleans always has plenty of distractions. Friday, I performed with the Pussyfooters at 7th annual Gleason Gras. Presented by former Saint, Steve Gleason, and What You Give Will Grow in the Superdome’s Champions Square, the event raises awareness and money for ALS and the Gleason Family Trust. The show included Jon Cleary, Colin Lake and Rebirth Brass Band as well as performances by the 610 Stompers and the Pussyfooters! We danced, ate, took photos with the Lombardi trophy and had a great time for a great cause.

Saturday was a 2 Fest day. First was Downriver Festival, celebrating the cultural and environmental impact of the Mississippi River region. Soul Brass Band played as DancingMan504 and Spidey504 put on a show under a shady tent next to the U.S. Mint. Continue reading

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Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, festival, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, the Saints

Scares That Care! Weekend

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

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Filed under Charity, decorations and costumes, festival, parade

Random Acts of Kindness and 3 Birthday Meals

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

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