Tag Archives: John “Papa” Gros

French Quarter Fest, etc. And Coronavirus

As I mentioned in my last post, New Orleans has been staying home since before St. Patrick’s Day and it’s been a huge adjustment for this community-oriented tourist destination. This time of year, there are well-attended festivals and second line parades every week. The constant flow of visitors and convention attendees fill our hotels and flood our streets, restaurants, bars, parks and venues. I’ve accepted the loss of it all fairly well but today would’ve been the first day of my favorite festival of the year, French Quarter Fest. Continue reading

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

French Quarter Fest Friday 2019

French Quarter Fest is easily my favorite festival of the year, which is saying something since we have hundreds of them. With over 20 stages playing indigenous music and 60 local food booths, the festival employs over 1,700 local musicians playing genres from funk, R&B and jazz to rock, gospel and Zydeco. The over 1,500 volunteers and various local companies handling sanitation, security, stages, sound, etc. and more insure that all of the money spent producing the festival remains within the local economy.

I was working on a TV show Thursday so I missed the first day of festivities – which really hurt when I saw the tailor-made-for-me music line up. We started Friday with the Soul Rebels. The fun and funky brass band Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest – Day 1

French Quarter Fest is my favorite festival of the year. In it’s 34th year, the 4-day free festival features local food booths and music on 23 stages throughout the Quarter. Thursday’s weather was beautiful, 72 and sunny with a breeze coming off the river. We arrived in time to see Cha Wa, a Mardi Gras Indian band in the tradition of The Wild Magnolias. They played many favorite “Indian” songs including Let’s Go Get ‘Em, Shoo Fly and  Indian Red. During the break, we filled up on a chicken plate from Mona’s and my favorite fest food – a Cochon de Lait Po-Boy from Walker’s Southern Style BBQ (AKA Love at First Bite). Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest – Sunday

The last day of French Quarter Fest was just as gorgeous as the first 3. Sadly, for locals, the day started with the sad news that former Saint, Will Smith, had been shot 7 times leaving 3 children and a wife (who sustained 2 shots) behind. He had posted on Instagram, “Having a blast at the #fqf2016” earlier. Many of us wore Saints gear and checked for updates as the story evolved from one of random violence to something more thought-out and personal.

As for festing, we started the day with a Softshell Crab Po-Boy ($10) from Jack Dempsey’s then tried Love at First Bite’s Crawfish Pasta ($8) and my favorite, the Cochon de Lait Po-Boy ($8) from their partner, Walker’s Southern Style BBQ. We hit the Abita stage in time for party-band, the Bucktown All-Stars. Their playful covers included “Rubber Band Man” complete with a dance of silly, stretchy  poses. 85 year old Joyce La Nasa joined on tambourine wearing her signature white gloves.  Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest – Thursday

French Quarter Fest is my favorite festival of the year. The 4-day free festival features local food booths and music on 23 stages throughout the Quarter. The weather was glorious, 77 and sunny with a breeze coming off the river. If the Thursday crowd was any indication of attendance, this year will be a record breaker. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit missing the days when many of the attendees were as  local as the festival itself. Seems the secret is out. I was no help – live Tweeting all day to share my wonderful time with the world. Continue reading

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Game Day as Season Ticket Holders

Football has returned to the Superdome with the Saints preseason game against the Titans. But this year is different. After 8 years on the waiting list, my newlywed-husband’s season tickets finally came through and we have a new address – a seat, row and section in the Dome. It got me thinking again about why football matters. As they unfurled the giant American flag, I was proud that football is a uniquely American sport. The whole world agrees that “football” is soccer and that soccer is a way better game, but every time I see those helmeted gladiators take the field, I swell with pride and excitement.  Continue reading

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Filed under Charity, Culture, history, Super Bowl 2010, the Saints

Riding with Quentin Tarantino in Orpheus Vol. 2

As promised, I’m elaborating on my too-short post about the experience of riding in the Krewe of Orpheus Mardi Gras parade with Quentin Tarantino (Vol. 1). After dancing with the Pussyfooters in the Krewe of Muses parade last Thursday, I had an epiphany that Mardi Gras is ultimately about love and smiles. Krewe members pay dues and buy thousands of beads and toys to throw to the city at the biggest party in the world. Bands, dance troupes, stilt walkers and more buy costumes and practice tirelessly. Then we all gather as a city and invite the world to join us at this huge, free 2-week celebration. And we all do it to express our love for this city, its culture and those who paraded before us – and for the smiles. Riding on the float with Quentin gave me the catbird seat to see the smiles and love reflected back. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2014, moving, parade

Muses Parade as a Pussyfooter!

This is my 5th full Carnival season in New Orleans but this year’s Krewe of Muses parade was my first time ever dancing in a Mardi Gras parade. It was amazing, like walking through the “Looking Glass” and becoming part of a wonky world full of mystical creatures – where it’s perfectly normal to see Elvis on a motor scooter or a unicorn/bicycle.  It’s a place where I fit right in wearing a pink corset and white combat boots because now I’m a Pussyfooter! We had to line up very early and the last parade always rolls late so we spent a couple hours staying warm by dancing or huddling in swarms of pink ruffles and lace. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2014, parade, walking

Preparing for Mardi Gras

Carnival season is days away and the city is bustling in preparation. Bunting, wreaths and decorations in purple, green and gold are going up on homes and stores. The potholes on St. Charles are being filled to make ready for floats to roll. Krewes are meeting to discuss upcoming parades and balls. Bands and dance troupes are practicing in parks and fields. Bleachers are being constructed and barricades are piling up on corners along the route.

Every year, I’ve used this time to redecorate my Christmas tree and wreath and bead my fence. This year, I have a much longer list because this year – I’m in 3 of the parades! Continue reading

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Wednesday at the Square with Anders Osborne

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

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Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine, moving