French Quarter Fest ended with a cool and breezy day perfect for picnicking and dancing to local favorites. We started early at Jackson Square with a refreshing Crab & Artichoke Citrus Salad ($8) from Jaques-Imo’s Cafe then beat the lines for Muriel’s Crawfish & Goat Cheese Crepe ($7). Keyboardist Kashonda Bailey of the all-female Pinettes Brass Band had let us know she’d be playing with MainLine so we made our way toward the stage near the Aquarium to check them out. Continue reading
The recently revived Krewe of Freret is a highlight in the middle of a 5 parade Saturday. Part regal and traditional – part whimsical and funky, the parade began with a shout-out to the Who Dat Nation’s recent no-call loss from some of the Saints superfans. Dancing Man 504 and Spidey504 showed off fancy footwork followed by the Bearded Oysters swinging diaphanous pearlized wing-capes. Dancers from NOLA Chorus Girls, Ritmeaux Krewe and Alter Egos brought everything from an ocean of silver-clad women with vintage hair to purple-afro-wearing women putting the fun in funky. Continue reading
We missed the early parade to have the all-you-can-eat Easter brunch at Red Fish Grill. Ike the Peep, a bad-ass version of Sammy Davis, Jr. in a bright yellow chick outfit, was there again to brighten everyone’s day from behind Joe-Cool sunglasses.
The weather was outstanding for the Chris Owens Parade – sunny and upper 70’s with a gentle breeze coming off the river. The burlesque queen’s parade features retired dancers, friends and sponsors throwing beads, toys and candy while wearing festive Easter bonnets. Not to be outdone, the Gay Easter Parade takes bonnets to a whole new level. Continue reading
Krewe of Proteus, the oldest night parade, was established in 1882 and features seahorse throws. I love the romantic nostalgia of seeing some version of earlier parades. Flambeau light the way as they did before the invention of streetlights. Last I heard, the mythologically inspired floats still sit atop the original wooden chassis.
The superkrewe Orpheus parade takes the spectacle to another level. The street fills with legions of flambeau leading star-studded royalty. First up was Keegan-Michael Key who I stopped photographing when I realized he was pointing at me to catch his beads. Co-founder Harry Connick Jr. rode as king in the same float we got to ride in with Quentin Tarantino in 2014. Continue reading
My birthday celebrating started early this year with a dinner at John Besh’s Domenica with old friend Richard Dreyfuss and his lovely and amazing wife, Svetlana. Over the 25 years we’ve known each other, Richard and I have worked on 3 movies together, collaborated on a Katrina relief project and he even wrote the foreword to my book, Know Small Parts: An Actor’s Guide to Turning Minutes into Moments and Moments into a Career. The menu from Executive Chef Alon Shaya, 2015’s James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award winner, provided a delicious take on some traditional Italian dishes as well as offering show-stoppers like the Squid Ink Tagliolini with blue crab & herbs. We finished the meal with 3 beautiful and decadent desserts selected by our charming server, Cristina. Each dessert was decorated with a chocolate birthday banner. We were there for hours enjoying fabulous food and great company with perfect service. I’m definitely going back for that squid ink pasta dish. Continue reading