The rain held off for the first day of the 8th annual New Orleans Oyster Festival in Woldenberg Park. I’ve attended every year for the live music, food booths, local artists (most of whom have oyster-inspired pieces of art, housewares and jewelry) and food demonstrations. Like many of our festivals, the event is meant to give back to the local community – this time through several non-profits aimed at coastal restoration. They provided oyster shell recycling bins to help build coastal reefs – so even throwing away your trash properly helped the coastline. Continue reading
Jazz Fest started last week which means lots of things including packed hotels, music everywhere nearly all night and day and plenty of crawfish boils. Sunday was my annual family reunion crawfish boil and Monday was the 2nd annual BIRNout Boil at the Sandpiper Lounge hosted by Billy Iuso and the Restless Natives (BIRN).
Only in Nola is it perfectly normal to expect people to show up at 3pm on a Monday for a concert and boil and only in Nola would we all do it less than an hour after tornadoes and a mini-hurricane blew through. The storm was so strong, thousands are still without power and perhaps you saw the footage of winds so forceful they blew a long train off a bridge. Continue reading
The Creole Tomato Fest continues to evolve in its 28th year. Now that the Cajun-Zydeco Festival has moved to next weekend, the Tomato Fest has moved almost entirely to the French Market, but this year the layout was a lot easier to manage (thank goodness). With more manageable lines and crowds, we ended up eating far more starting with a beautiful Creole Tomato, Burratta Cheese & Pesto Sauce ($6) from The Three Muses. Continue reading
It’s Jazz Fest and there’s music and crawfish everywhere! Wednesday, we passed on the terrific and free concert of Eric McFadden, Jerry Joseph, Norwood Fisher, Eric Bolivar & Special Guests with Gravy at Wednesday at the Square. Instead we joined Billy Iuso and the Restless Natives (BIRN) behind The Sandpiper Lounge for the “1st Annual BIRNout Boil.” It was an intimate group (50 or so) partying on a lawn in front of some of our city’s finest musicians literally playing as a garage band. Continue reading
I haven’t been to the YLC’s Wednesday at the Square in awhile. With events like Chaz Fest, Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest, I’ve been spoiled silly for live music lately. But I made the effort to catch my pick for Favorite Musical Auteur 2012 Billy Iuso. “NOLABilly” band N’awlins Johnnys were onstage when I arrived. Lead singer Harry Barton, in a yellow tie and button down shirt, looked like he had come straight from one of the nearby law offices to the stage. Like many bands here, their sound was a fusion of genres including jazz, rock, swing, zydeco and funk. Most fun was when they covered a Professor Longhair song mimicking his complicated Calypso piano chords with a guitar. (“Fess” is the father of all modern NOLA jazz and the soundtrack to Mardi Gras). Continue reading
It was certainly the coldest Jazz Fest I’ve ever attended and mud was still a factor on closing Sunday. Turns out that there was not one single pair of of rubber boots left in town. Hotels were calling everywhere but many unprepared out-of-towners were left bootless and muddy. Cold wind whipped at scant tank tops and short skirts. Continue reading
YLC Wednesday at the Square is back!!! Colin Lake got the season off to a great start with his funk-rock flavored show. It’s still odd to see a guy play a seated guitar but the rest of his band keeps the stage hopping. Lake came from Oregon to New Orleans in 2009 – the same year I arrived.
The event continues to make improvements. My favorite new thing is that, thanks to “The Square” and iPads, they accept credit cards for ticket sales. The event is free but food and beverages are purchased with tickets and the ticket proceeds go to the Young Leadership Council, the group responsible for the lights on the Crescent City Connection bridge among other things. They’ve raised more than $25 million for community projects in the New Orleans area since 1986. Continue reading
I must confess that I didn’t get out as much in 2012 because Hollywood South is booming and I worked a lot. Even so, here are my 2012 favorites in a nutshell followed by my Favorite Things in NOLA 2011 and Favorite Things in NOLA 2010. Anything named previously in my Favorite Things in NOLA 2011 is marked with an Asterix*.
I have divided the list into categories this year including: Food & Beverage, Music & Entertainment, Culture, Shopping and Giving & More. Continue reading
Filed under Carnival, Charity, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, history, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2012, parade, shopping, the Saints