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
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
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
When I moved to New Orleans in 2009, the Saints were on their way to the Super Bowl. It was a magical time to be a Saints fan as the whole Who Dat Nation seemed lifted by team spirit. Though I saw the team in the Victory Parade and Drew Brees rode as the King of Bacchus in their parade, I never actually saw the Saints play in the Dome that season. From the next season on, I’ve attended most home games and in 2014, we became season ticket holders. This year started off on a whole new level – ground level. My husband won 3 of the 4 fantasy football leagues he entered and among the many prizes he won were field passes for the preseason game against the Patriots. Continue reading
With more reasonable crowds and lots of favorite local musicians playing, Jazz Fest’s final Sunday was a balmy-weathered blast. Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows were on the Jazz Fest Heritage Stage and I spotted Alphonse “DooWee” Robair, my favorite Mardi Gras Indian artist, dancing among them. We started the day with a delicious Cochon de Lait ($9) from Love at First Bite and a Nectar Creme from Plum Street Snoballs ($4). When I worried I wasn’t going to get a “local” pour of the sticky, sweet syrup, the woman next to me in line laughed, “If you ordered Nectar Creme, they already know you’re a local.” True Dat. Continue reading