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
With over 20 stages of regional music and MANY local food booths throughout the Quarter, French Quarter Fest (FQF) is easily my favorite fest of the year – which in saying something in a city with literally hundreds of annual festivals. This is the Fest’s 35th year and things keep getting bigger and more crowded, but it’s still free and that’s amazing. The weather was perfect – upper 70’s, breezy and sunny. The Irene Sage Band was playing Led Zeppelin when we arrived. I’ve written them into my next Charlotte Reade Mystery so it was a fun way to start the day. Continue reading
After postponing a week for weather, it was 80 and sunny for Super Sunday, one of my favorite days of the years. Staggeringly beautiful and steeped in culture and history, the Mardi Gras Indians fill the streets on Super Sunday wearing plumed and beaded suits they spent the year carefully designing and crafting, bead by bead. We wandered past Baby Dolls dancing and families helping their Indians dress before selecting a burger and sausage combo and following the proprietor to a nearby truck making giant adult sno-balls. Continue reading
With Mardi Gras parades a month behind us, the St. Patrick’s festivities offer a city-wide pick-me-up including several parties and parades. Our favorite event is the Irish Channel Parade put on by the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club since 1947. With floats, throws, dance troupes and walking krewes, the parade includes over 1400 (often drunk) walkers in black suits and green accessories (many in kilts) exchanging silk flowers for kisses from the women and children on the route. Continue reading
The capper of the 4-parade Sunday was the Krewe of Bacchus parade. Their intricately lit floats are familiar but continue to stun. J.K. Simmons (who I loved in Whiplash) made a regal king and seemed to be enjoying himself. Continue reading