Category Archives: Mardi Gras 2011

Living in New Orleans – the first 5 years

My family is from Louisiana for generations on both sides but my path home was winding. After living in Maryland, Washington D.C., Japan, Alabama, New York and Los Angeles, I finally moved to New Orleans in late 2009. And I’ve never been happier. When I got here, the Saints were on their way to winning the Superbowl and the city was vibrating with optimism. Most of the people who would come home after the Storm were back. Katrina money was being spent on street repairs and schools were getting instruments from places like Tipitina’s Foundation. Buildings, homes, t-shirts and more exclaimed, “Believe” and “Renew, Rebuild, Rebirth.” It was intoxicating. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Charity, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2010, Mardi Gras 2011, Mardi Gras 2012, Mardi Gras 2013, Mardi Gras 2014, moving, oil spill catastrophe, parade, Super Bowl 2010, the Saints

Mardi Gras Day

My first year living in NOLA, I was fairly new to Carnival. I hadn’t expected all the tents and barbecue grills and grandparents and the fun adult dance troupes like the Pussyfooters and the 610 Stompers. Now I know people in both groups and get hugs and waves when they pass. I went to nearly 30 parades that first year, mostly alone. But, in a city this friendly, I was never alone for long. Families brought me into their fold, groups of friends and couples too. I learned early to “protect the head,” to try to make eye contact with a thrower to get beads and that kids and industrious adults will find whatever you miss. I also learned to admire someone’s Zulu coconut and started hanging Krewe medallions on my Mardi Gras tree. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2010, Mardi Gras 2011, Mardi Gras 2012, Mardi Gras 2013, moving, parade, walking

Southern Decadence (someone left their gay out in the rain)

While my phone rang repeatedly with calls from loved ones fearing for my safety from tropical storm Lee due to overzealous and tourism-damaging reporting, I enjoyed a Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter during the largest gay event in New Orleans,Southern Decadence. Just like you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy our St. Patricks celebrations, you don’t have to be part of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community to enjoy the parades, outdoor concerts and shear spectacle of Decadence. Continue reading

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Filed under Concerts, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mama says, Mardi Gras 2011, parade

So You’re Filming in New Orleans… (a local primer)

As more and more people come to our fair city to film, I find myself increasingly anxious to explain New Orleans culture to the people of L.A., my former home of nearly 18 years. First, the name. Most people here don’t call it N’Awlins any more than they eat “blackened” things, but they never, ever call it New Or-LEENS. Except in a song. Let’s face it, nothing rhymes with Orleans. Try New Orlins (rhymes with fins). And if you need to find Tchoupitoulas, a local street, it’s Chop-a-toolis. Oh, and Burgundy is Bur-GUN-dy like Rodeo is Ro-DAY-oh. Continue reading

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Filed under Concerts, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2011, moving, Super Bowl 2010, the Saints

Recycling Mardi Gras Beads at Arc

When I was 5, I became friends with Sarah, a tot with Down’s Syndrome. She couldn’t speak and her tongue was always dry from keeping her mouth perpetually open (mostly from smiling) but she was as kind as they come and I loved her. Throughout my life, I’ve involved myself in the Intellectual Disabilities (ID) community in various ways, from working with the Special Olympics to getting a Best Buddy in L.A., so when it became clear that the best way to have lunch with my friend, singer Margie Perez ,was to volunteer for Arc of Greater New Orleans, I was thrilled. Continue reading

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Filed under decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2011, parade

Treme Lightens Up

I’m behind on Treme blogging but not on Treme watching. As I’d hoped, HBO’s Tremehas given us a break on the gloom and doom, finally  – “It’s Carnival Time!” Surviving the near-relentless darkness of the season made it crystal clear why parades are so important. If it was hard to watch post-Katrina New Orleans once a week for an hour, it must have been nearly unbearable to survive in reality. I get to hear people’s Katrina stories here and recently met someone who’d been in the Dome. As the pieces of the puzzle come together in my head through all the stories, it becomes undeniable that the experience hit every sense and is truly a you-had-to-be-there thing. But Treme tries and I continue to enjoy it. Continue reading

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Filed under Concerts, decorations and costumes, Mardi Gras 2011, parade