Category Archives: Mardi Gras 2013

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

Favorite Things in NOLA 2013

The categories are: Food & Beverage, Music & Entertainment, Culture, Shopping and Giving & More. Anything named previously in my Favorite Things in NOLA 2012 is marked with an Asterix*. Most items have links to their site, but if you’d like to know more, use the search window on the right to find photos, videos, history and stories.

This year, I’ve added a gallery of photos. The first photos are of items listed and the last half are of stuff I love in New Orleans from Creole tomatoes to Ashley the Traffic Tranny.

I’m also revealing Your Favorite Posts of 2013.

3 – Saints Soundtrack Vol. 2

2 – Street Musicians – Tanya and Dorise

1 – Endymion Extravaganza – My First Ball! – which is also your favorite post of all time. Continue reading

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The Big Easy to the Big Apple

When I was starting out as an actor nearly 25 years ago, I first went to New York to study. I had almost no experience and absolutely no idea what might lie ahead for me and my new career. The Wednesday after Fat Tuesday, with a global hit movie still in theatres, I returned to the Big Apple to promote Django Unchained and my new book, Know Small Parts: An Actor’s Guide to Turning Minutes into Moments and Moments into a Career. I’ve revisited the city a few times in the intervening years but I continue to be astonished at all the changes. Neighborhoods I avoided as a young woman alone in the city are now cluttered with shops like the Gap, H&M, Coach and my dearly missed Trader Joe’s. It’s as if a giant broom swept the crime and grit, pushing it further and further uptown. Continue reading

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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

Okeanos, Mid-City, Thoth and Bacchus Parades

Saturday was a big parade day. I envy the children and imagine the marathon party of Mardi Gras is so much more fun for kids than the one single day of Christmas. If we adults look forward all year to wearing costumes, playing in the street and catching beads and toys, the kids must go bananas! Continue reading

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Endymion Parade from the Bleachers

Endymion, a super krewe, delivered a new topper to an already dazzling parade – a 9 car float honoring Pontchartrain Beach, a long-gone beach and amusement park where many locals spent their childhoods and even Elvis played a concert. I’ve attended the parade on Canal St. (only for tourists and the truly daring), on St. Charles when rain rescheduled it (which was more mellow), inside the Morial Convention Center when I attended the Endymion Ball (which rocked – catching beads in ball-gowns and tuxedoes!) and this year, for the first time, we watched from the bleachers near City Hall. Continue reading

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Greasing of the Poles

For over 3 years, this blog has mostly been a long love letter to New Orleans as I move from longtime visitor to citizen of the Who Dat Nation and part of the gumbo of this city. I’ve attended concerts, parades, festivals and more and shared the events with you readers. But when I participated in the Royal Sonesta‘s 43rd annual Greasing of the Poles, like Alice Through the Looking Glass, I stepped into the story.  In order to keep revelers off the balcony during Mardi Gras, the Sonesta greases the poles on Bourbon Street with a celebrity-studded event and contest with fans spanning from locals on balconies dressed in wigs and costumes to the Greasing of the Poles Fan Club from Germany. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, history, Mardi Gras 2013, parade, the Saints