Monthly Archives: June 2012

New Orleans Events

Celebrating 2012 Fourth of July in New Orleans

It’s about to be the Fourth of July.  Again.  Our town was here before the American independence from Britain, but we’re not counting that, because we weren’t in the country then anyway.  Heck, some people think we’re still not really American!  And we had our own war, in a way, here—the War of 1812, featuring the famous Battle of New Orleans.  That war in many ways made America a unified country, and we’re celebrating the bicentennial of that this year.

Nonetheless, we love the Fourth of July.  With the Mississippi River as the launching pad, we set off fireworks from dueling barges (we used to have duels here, too, under the famous Dueling Oaks in Audubon Park).  We call that one Go Fourth on the River, and you can get a terrific view from ACROSS the river in Algiers Point. But the official location is Woldenberg Park, and it’s free.  The fireworks show this year is Sunday at 9PM.

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New Orleans Events

Celebrating Juneteenth at Congo Square, New Orleans

The 19th of June is “Nineteenth,” a holiday begun in Texas and originating from President Lincoln’s proclamation that slaves were emancipated.   He made the announcement New Year’s Day, 1863, but in Galveston, Texas, the slaves didn’t get the word until June 19, 1865, when 2000 Union troops came to town to enforce the Proclamation.    Two years late is a long time for news to spread, even in the 19th century across Texas, and rumor has it that slaveholders didn’t let them know until then.     The slaves there began celebrations with barbecues and picnics at churches, and the tradition spread.

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New Orleans Dining

Bar Food That Will Surprise you!


It used to be in New Orleans that a bar was a bar, and it served alcoholic beverages.   Maybe potatoe chips were available at the counter.  Not anymore. Neighborhood “dive” bars or even more upscale operations, are serving all kinds of interesting food now.    They’re breaking ground in ethnic fare not previously found in New Orleans.  Take Marie’s Bar in the Marigny, at  2483 Burgundy St. at the corner of St. Roch. On Sundays now, there’s a pop-up Filipino restaurant, Milkfish.    Marie’s is a quintessential “dive” bar, with locals mixing in with afterhours Bywater bohemian and hipster types.    And now they can all chow down happily on a menu including Filipino classics like lumpia and chicken adobo.  The chef, Christina Quackenbush, has been in the food business for a while, including bartending at the High Hat Café’ and serving at Rio Mar Restaurant in the Warehouse District.  A contingent of Filipinos moved to New Orleans after Katrina, joining the 2000 or so already here (according to the 2000 census), and their cuisine is diverse, spicy, and fits right in here.  You can read an interview with Quackenbush here for a description of the food and her new business.

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New Orleans Festivals

New Orleans Creole Tomatoe Festival

Big juicy ripe red creole tomatoes

Locally Harvested, Juicy Creole Tomatoes


It seem that all we do in New Orleans is eat, and listen to music, and go to festivals to eat and listen to music.  So what’s wrong with that?   This weekend’s Annual Creole Tomato Festival, together with the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, at the French Market combines two of our favorite things-cajun/zydeco music and the aphrodisiac Creole tomato.

The Louisiana state legislature designated the Creole tomato the official vegetable plant of Louisiana in 2003.   (Okay, we know it’s technically a fruit, but that’s irrelevant for this discussion.  We honor the Creole tomato, no matter what its horticultural designation).   We locals look forward to their arrival the way folks in the Midwest do to the first sweet corn.   The Creole tomato usually means any tomato grown in southeast Louisiana, typically in St. Bernard and Placquemines Parish in that famous alluvial river soil.   They’re “open-pollinated,” and they have a crown at the root!   There’s no specific breed as such, although they were originally developed by LSU.  (Some sources say it was developed in the West Indies, but who knows?)  It just has to do with the soil, and the sultry Louisiana humidity.   You can grow your own—if you’re in the right place, with the right soil and climate—from varieties like Celebrity, Better Boy, Fantastic, Monte Carlo, Bingo, Big Beer, and Sunleaper. Slap a slice or two on some white bread, add bacon and mayonnaise, and you’re in summer mode for real.  Your host at Southern Comfort Bed and Breakfast loves this sandwich!

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