After postponing a week for weather, it was 80 and sunny for Super Sunday, one of my favorite days of the years. Staggeringly beautiful and steeped in culture and history, the Mardi Gras Indians fill the streets on Super Sunday wearing plumed and beaded suits they spent the year carefully designing and crafting, bead by bead. We wandered past Baby Dolls dancing and families helping their Indians dress before selecting a burger and sausage combo and following the proprietor to a nearby truck making giant adult sno-balls. Continue reading
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After a 2 week rain delay, the Mardi Gras Indians finally celebrated Super Sunday in full regalia. Festivities began in A.L. Davis Park with music, dancing and plenty of food. Our ribs hot-off-the-grill were delicious and the Lady Buckjumpers had gorgeous cupcakes for $1. We had some first-timers with us so we took in the tribes arriving and laying out their suits as well as instruction and storytelling from Spy Boy Dow of the Mohawk Hunters Tribe. I enjoyed sharing some of the history and traditions as well as the legendary story of Chief of Chiefs “Tootie” Montana. Continue reading
The people of Plaquemines Parish and several other surrounding areas continue to suffer the effects of Isaac. In New Orleans, there are still many without power, phone, wifi or cable TV. That said, Isaac was not Katrina and last weekend, the French Quarter was filled with revelers attending Southern Decadence. For them and the many people who found themselves on an unscheduled week off from work, this week could be called a “Hurrication” (got the term from a local). There were repairs to be made and debris to pick up, but the French Quarter, with it’s allure of electricity and satellite TV, beckoned. Continue reading
As more and more people come to our fair city to film, I find myself increasingly anxious to explain New Orleans culture to the people of L.A., my former home of nearly 18 years. First, the name. Most people here don’t call it N’Awlins any more than they eat “blackened” things, but they never, ever call it New Or-LEENS. Except in a song. Let’s face it, nothing rhymes with Orleans. Try New Orlins (rhymes with fins). And if you need to find Tchoupitoulas, a local street, it’s Chop-a-toolis. Oh, and Burgundy is Bur-GUN-dy like Rodeo is Ro-DAY-oh. Continue reading
French Quarter Fest day 2 began with the welcome cry of Mr. Okra driving by, “I’ve got fresh plums. I’ve got fresh oranges.” My mother recently told me that her first words were not mama or dada, but “swimp boy.” Growing up with wagon vendors outside her window, everyday she heard the guy roll by yelling, “Shrimp boy” like an ice cream truck’s bells announcing goodies coming your way. Mr. Okra drives a truck donated by locals after Katrina but his call-outs are part of the soul of New Orleans. We bought 7 over-ripe bananas and 4 plums for $2 and headed out. Continue reading
I can’t get you all of this stuff, Oprah-style, but every item has links to their site. If you’d like to know more about why each is my favorite, use the search window on the lower right to find photos, videos and stories.
I continue to accumulate favorite things about New Orleans, but here’s my first year favorites in a nutshell. Continue reading