Tag Archives: Raintree Children and Family Services

Random Acts of Kindness and 3 Birthday Meals

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

4 Comments

Filed under Charity, Culture, Local Cuisine, Mama says, shopping

Favorite Things 2015

Better late than never, I’m finally updating my favorite Things list. First, I’d like to thank everyone who reads this blog (in over 100 countries!). Here are Your Favorite Posts of 2015:

5 – French Quarter Fest – Sunday

4 – Southern Decadence 2015

3 – Big Easy Birthday

2 – Endymion Extravaganza – My First Ball!  (your favorite post of all time)

1 – Street Musicians – Tanya and Dorise

Now to the list! The categories are: Food & Beverage, Music & Entertainment, Culture, Shopping and Giving & More.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Carnival, Charity, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, history, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2014, Mardi Gras 2015, parade, Pelicans, shopping, the Saints

Jazz Fest 2014

I only went to the 45th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for one day this year and I spent most of that time volunteering in a beer booth – but I still managed to see 11 bands. I didn’t even get to half of the grounds, yet I managed to see artwork by Terrance Osborne and Woodrow Nash, check out Mr. Okra’s truck, hit 2 food booths and visit the WWOZ Brass Pass Tent. I arrived about noon with only 2 hours to spare before work so I headed straight for the Acura Stage to catch some of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. They delivered their signature funky rock jazz sound along with guests like keyboardist John Gros debuting his French horn skills. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, festival, Local Cuisine

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

5 Comments

Filed under Carnival, Charity, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, festival, free events and lagniappe, history, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2013, parade, shopping, the Saints

Oyster Fest 2013

After a week in Los Angeles, it was good to get back in time for the 4th New Orleans Oyster Festival. I feel a special connection to this fest because I’ve attended every year since its inception. Having made the move to the riverside Woldenberg Park last year (from a ridiculously scorching blacktop parking lot), the fest continues to expand and evolve. The stage was moved to the downtown side of the park and Drago’s super-long line for chargrilled oysters was given its own space away from the other crowded food booths.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

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

LA Film & Video Magazine and Raintree Services Galas

This weekend, I attended 2 galas, one for “Hollywood South” networking and the other a fundraiser for foster children. The first event was hosted by Louisiana Film & Video Magazine in the old Mardi Gras World across the river. We met up with Jeff “The Dude” Dowd (the inspiration for the Jeff Bridges character in The Big Lebowski) and took the ferry over to Algiers. It’s always beautiful to see the city from a distance, lights reflecting on the Mississippi’s surface. The Dude is in town to gear up for the first Louisiana International Film Festival in less than two weeks where I will be hosting 2 workshops so we were ready to do some serious networking. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Charity, Culture, entertainment industry, Local Cuisine

Wednesday with Col. Bruce Hampton and Andrew Duhon

One of my favorite things about spring in New Orleans is all the festivals. Every “hump day” is Wednesday at the Square with free music as well as restaurant booths providing wonderful fest food with proceeds benefitting the Young Leadership Council (YLC).  Oh – and plenty of Abita beer and cocktails. The YLC seeks to build leadership while taking on projects that strive to improve the quality of life in NOLA. This week’s show opened with Andrew Duhon. Continue reading

1 Comment

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

Super Bowl – NOLA Style

As the lights went out in the Superdome and our city’s slip was showing, I had a moment to think of the last time the Dome lost power and how far this city has come from the devastation it faced over 7 years ago. New Orleans is a small city with a big heart. Sometimes traffic is held up for a parade or our cell towers go down from overuse (not anymore – thank you NFL) or our power goes out. I can’t help but think if it had been the Who Dat nation in the Dome tonight, we would have used the time to do some rounds of “Who Dats!” or sing When the Saints Go Marching In. After all, we’re only taking a short break from the marathon party of Mardi Gras to hold this extraordinary event, our 10th time hosting the Super Bowl – not bad for a small city with a big heart. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, festival, free events and lagniappe, history, Local Cuisine, Mardi Gras 2013, Super Bowl 2010, the Saints

Galas – Raintree and Make it Right

The day started with a slice of the 340 ft. oyster po-boy at the 6th annual Oyster Jubilee on Bourbon Street. It takes about 2 hours to set up the block-long sandwich and only a minute or so for it to disappear. We stood in front of the Drago’s section and were treated to a remoulade sauced fried oyster po-boy dressed with lettuce. Yum.

So many events in New Orleans are designed to give back to the community but galas tend to be fancier affairs designed to raise a lot of money quickly. Our first event of the evening was the Paint the Town Green gala benefitting Raintree Children and Family Services and held at Harrah’s Casino. Continue reading

2 Comments

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

Second Line 101 with Treme Sidewalk Steppers and Rebirth

If you grew up in New Orleans, a second line is second nature, a near-weekly event. The “first line” of any parade consists of a brass band and the primary paraders (in a funeral procession this would include the family). The “second line” is anyone who follows the parade along its route. The bopping strut dance that paraders employ is also called the “second line.” The parades are generally not connected to any particular event. It’s parading for parading’s sake.

Many second lines are sponsored by Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs (S & P’s). S & P’s began in the 1800’s when the end of slavery necessitated banding together to create a version of insurance. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Charity, Concerts, Culture, decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, history, Local Cuisine, parade, the Saints, walking