Category Archives: Local Cuisine

French Quarter Fest 2022 – Sun.

The 4 days of French Quarter Fest came to a close on Sunday. Employing over 1,700 local musicians, the fest features genres from funk, R&B and jazz to rock, gospel and Zydeco. Over 1,500 volunteers and a variety of local companies handling sanitation, security, stages, sound, etc. insure that all of the money spent producing the festival remains within the local economy.

We started the day with Shrimp Ragivote over Fried Green Tomato ($9) from Tujague’s Restaurant. Continue reading

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

French Quarter Fest 2022 – Fri.

Friday, more of the eventual 20 stages of indigenous music and over-50 local food booths opened for French Quarter Fest. My favorite festival of the year, it’s also one of the city’s most profitable – generating an economic impact of $190 million in 2019.

We walked past the dance lessons in full swing at the French Market before starting our day near the Aquarium with Valerie Sassyfras of America’s Got Talent fame. Her memorable original, Girl’s Night Out, may not have gotten her past the second week of competition, but it made her a cult celeb.

Miss Sassyfras put on quite a show. Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Thurs.

I missed many things during the pandemic, but most of them are available at French Quarter Fest, my favorite festival of the year. The 20 stages of indigenous music and 60 local food booths provide the best of our city’s offerings and it was great running into friends after so long – and seeing so many people wearing Pelicans basketball gear!

We started our day by the Aquarium with Margie Perez serenading a brunch-time crowd of visitors and locals from tiny tots to great-grandparents. Continue reading

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

St. Patrick’s Irish Channel Parade

In 2020, the COVID pandemic shut New Orleans down on March 14th – just as local St. Patrick’s (Week) festivities were starting. The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club‘s Irish Channel Parade was cancelled when the riders and walking krewes had already purchased thousands of silk flowers, beads, toys, and fresh cabbages, potatoes, carrots and Ramen Noodles – ingredients for stew. My family filled a closet with Irish Spring soap. Other had to deal with crates of Moon Pies and single-portions of Lucky Charms.

The 2022 parade may have included some recycled throws (and possibly stale cereal), but I was glad to see they also included the 2020 Grand Marshall & Colleen who never got a chance to roll and greet the city. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, history, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2022, parade

Hurricane Ida Update

It’s been 2 weeks since Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana shoreline. The Category 4 storm left chunks of Louisiana, including New Orleans, without power before climbing the country spewing tornadoes and mass flooding. Some continue to wait for power but most of the state has been restored. The French Quarter and some other neighborhoods have internet, cable and landline access. The city is slowly coming back but problems persist.

Trash collection has resumed but is spotty at best. Same with the mail. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Local Cuisine, Uncategorized

Satchmo Summerfest 2021 – Day 2

We started the second day of Satchmo Summerfest – a celebration of Louis Armstrong’s birthday – with the Treme Brass Band. The traditional jazz band has always evolved to accommodate additions, departures and passings. I was happy to see that this iteration included Corey Henry, who I’ve loved since his Rebirth Brass Band years. 

It was another steamy day in the 90’s with a heat index over 110, so people seemed glad for the tented stages on either side of the Old U.S. Mint – home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet. We found shade at an umbrella-topped table and feasted of food booth yummies from local vendors. We started with Red Beans & Rice (w/ Fried Fish) ($10) from Krab Grab Seafood. Having enjoyed their Jerk Chicken on Saturday, we stopped at 14 Parishes for Jerk Pork – but they were already out. Must’ve been good. We got the Rice and Peas ($5) instead and rounded the meal off with a refreshing Tropicalia Salad (w/ Red Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, Celery, Corn, Pepper & Almond) ($6) from Carmo’s.

Midday, it sprinkled for a time, then full-out stormed for a bit but the 2 stages of music never stopped. We returned to find Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns transporting the crowd to a sultrier world, free of the slick grass and trails of thick mud left after the recent drenching.

We’d really enjoyed Theaudric’s Real Clever Cuisine’s Vegan Fried Sprout of Brussels and Potatoes (with Truffle Fig Glaze) ($10) on Saturday so we returned for another serving as well as an inventive Shrimp Poboy Fatoosh (w/ Creamy Creole Remoulade) ($13) and Creme Bru Leches Bread Pudding ($7). Again, all plating and utensils were 100% compostable and bins were provided. 

Rounding the back of the Mint, I could see right away that Hot 8 Brass Band was hosting a full-on party from their stage. The band played a supremely funky version of Atomic Dog as the crowd gyrated in a soup of grass and mud. Dancing along to the beats ranging from funk and traditional brass to reggae and hip hop, I could feel my soul’s battery recharging. It has definitely been too long since New Orleanians have gotten to to be joyful together. 

Within the ranks of these brass band heavyweights, I was thrilled to see the young trombonist I’d first photographed playing with TBC Brass Band at Satchmo Fest 2018. Before the pandemic, I’d seen him learning his craft and getting stage experience with various bands so it was wonderful to him back – a bit taller and older – still working with our best. 

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers closed out their stage to another delighted, but decidedly less rowdy, crowd. It’s hard to know if COVID will continue to interrupt our celebratory way of life, but it was nice to gather for a  festival and enjoy days of local food and music. 

(For some reason – WordPress won’t allow my post to be in an abbreviated preview mode. Apologies for the entire post appearing in the feed.)

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Filed under Concerts, Culture, festival, Local Cuisine

Satchmo Summerfest 2021

Cancelled last year for the pandemic, Satchmo Summerfest made an abbreviated return with 2 days of music and food celebrating New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong’s birthday. The heat was extraordinary, dangerous even, as The Roots Of Music started things off with a concert outside the Old U.S. Mint, home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet. Continue reading

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Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, festival, Local Cuisine

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

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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Filed under Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2021, parade

Mardi Gras 2021

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mardi Gras will be unrecognizable this year. Most parades have been cancelled. A few have regrouped, creating drive-thru parades. The dancers, bands, and krewe members throwing beads and masks “parade” on either side of a road as parade-goers in cars pass. With no parades, people are taking their house-blinging to the next level this year. Krewe of House Floats, a grassroots effort to give neighbors a safe, socially distanced parade experience, encourages people to use local businesses and artists to help decorate their homes as house floats. I’ve already seen 3 homes done as floats and they totally brightened my days (PHOTOS below).

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Filed under Carnival, Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2010, Mardi Gras 2021, parade