The first book of the mysteries-not-murders series begins as the Saints are marching toward their Super Bowl victory during Mardi Gras in 2009-10. As actor/producer Charlotte aids in the search for a birth mother, she comes across a haunted chandelier, and a mystery in her own family’s past. Continue reading →
From Sunday second line and Carnival parades to our many festivals and concerts, New Orleans is a city of celebration. If the city can party over everything from tomatoes to our departed, imagine how fun it can be to celebrate yourself here. For me, a New Orleans birthday has to include great company, incredible food, music whenever possible and the occasional “only in New Orleans” event.
As Saints season ticket holders, we get first dibs on our own seats when the Saints have a playoff game in the Superdome. This season, both our games will be at home in the Dome and the Who Dat Nation couldn’t be happier.
It was a perfect day starting with a walk through the French Quarter past bars filled with black-and-gold-wearing fans. We made a few stops to have drinks with friends we spotted. Spirits were high, the music was loud and it felt a lot like 9 years ago when the team went all the way, winning their first Super Bowl. It was the first time the team had even been to the Super Bowl at all. The victory marked a rebirth for the city. As recently departed Saints owner, Tom Benson, said, “The best thing we can do for New Orleans is WIN. Our city holds its head higher, walks taller and shines brighter when the Saints win.” Continue reading →
In 2013, I did a fairly exhaustive search for the best local songs to replace Atlanta-based Ying Yang Twins Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk) as the Saints’ touchdown song. VIDEO. I offered links to dozens of videos written and performed by local musicians. The ultimate superfans in my estimation, they pour their team spirit into songs and videos that take money and oodles of time to produce. And they do all this with little chance the music will turn a profit.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs. The Saints players have taken over the soundtrack inside the Superdome. In particular, carpool mates Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara along with Michael Thomas have fallen in love with old New Orleans rap and the crowds in the Dome couldn’t be happier. Apparently, Ingram introduced Kamara to the songs and artists while driving. When the three danced to Choppa’s 2003 local hit Choppa Style, the Superdome went bananas.
The moment went viral nationwide.
The Canal Street Home for the Holidays Krewe of Jingle Parade is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season. The 80 degree weather brought out a big crowd for the dance troupes, marching bands, majorettes, stilt-walkers, floats, Santa and local favorite – Mr. Bingle. Continue reading →
There are New Orleans traditions that belong mostly to our visitors (Bourbon Street) and those that belong uniquely to locals, but there are a few traditions we all share. We all eat beignets, we all love Mardi Gras (though often for different reasons) and we all love the Tuesday night tradition of Rebirth Brass Band playing the Maple Leaf. Rebirth is the first brass band to ever win a Grammy. The world has heard them in many soundtracks dating back to Reginald Hudlin’s Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy in 1992. Last years’s hit Girls Trip included the band’s original, Do Watcha Wanna – practically a city anthem.
I’d been to the Maple Leaf in the 90’s during a location scout for a film and not much has changed. The service was fantastic – a winning balance of fast and friendly. Continue reading →
Sure, the Saints lost the playoff game against the Vikings last Sunday, but winning rarely teaches us about the character of a person, a team or a place. Most of us don’t really know who or what we are until we’re faced with failure. As an actor, my life has been nearly defined by rejection. My life credo has long been “Dare To Fail.” Maybe that’s why being a Saints fan has come so easy to me. So, the Saints lost in the last millisecond of the game and, of course, we’re all disappointed. But Saints fans can turn any loss into a win.
Though I have roots reaching back centuries in this city, I didn’t move here until 2009 as the Saints were heading to their amazing Super Bowl victory. That made me more of a “New Dat” than a Who Dat. But I watched every game in bars throughout the city, Continue reading →
My family is safe after Hurricane Irma but it was a long, scary weekend. Luckily, New Orleans always has plenty of distractions. Friday, I performed with the Pussyfooters at 7th annual Gleason Gras. Presented by former Saint, Steve Gleason, and What You Give Will Grow in the Superdome’s Champions Square, the event raises awareness and money for ALS and the Gleason Family Trust. The show included Jon Cleary, Colin Lake and Rebirth Brass Band as well as performances by the 610 Stompers and the Pussyfooters! We danced, ate, took photos with the Lombardi trophy and had a great time for a great cause.
Saturday was a 2 Fest day. First was Downriver Festival, celebrating the cultural and environmental impact of the Mississippi River region. Soul Brass Band played as DancingMan504 and Spidey504 put on a show under a shady tent next to the U.S. Mint. Continue reading →
Occurring just after the Naked Bike Ride and the Creole Tomato Fest, the Gay Pride Parade seems to be growing each year. In addition to the many LGBT groups, there were representatives from rugby, track club and kickball teams, the teachers union, Planned Parenthood and community organizations like churches and a suicide prevention center. And of course there were drag queens and walking groups from Big Easy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Mystic Krewe of the Lords of Leather and the New Orleans Girls of Leather. Continue reading →
If you’ve read any of my books, perhaps you’re already familiar with Charlotte Reade, the L.A. actor who returns to her family home in New Orleans to attend a funeral and ends up helping to find a birth mother in The Secret of the Other Mother: A Charlotte Reade Mystery. Charlotte’s search takes her down a path that starts in a laundromat in the 1950’s and winds through costume experts and a burlesque tour before landing her on the infamous Bourbon Street. Set during the Saints’ 2009 march to Super Bowl victory and the most-amazing-Mardi-Gras-ever, many of the details of those events are based on this blog.
Charlotte’s back in this second installment of the local best-seller Charlotte Reade Mystery series, The Hidden Huntsman. Continue reading →