Category Archives: New Orleans Community

New Orleans Community

Explore the Bywater Neighborhood

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Edwards

The 3200 block of Burgundy St. in the Bywater is looking more and more like Magazine Street uptown.    Now that’s not necessarily a good thing if you’re an artist who moved to the Bywater in the first place because it was affordable, but if you’re in town looking for an unusual and emerging area, it’s a good thing.   First, check out Christopher Porche-West’s photography gallery on the corner, A Studio on Desire, at 3201 Burgundy.  Christopher is best known for his early portraits of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, but his gallery is another thing altogether.   His constructions and assemblages incorporate his photographs celebrating New Orleans life (as well as that found in Africa and Haiti), with architectural found objects.   Shrines, really, some of them are, and extremely moving works.   Porche-West observes cultures and people, and portrays them honestly.   He’s the real deal-he’s been there on that corner from way back when.  Here’s  a piece on NPR describing his work about the Indians.    But today you can walk across the street from his gallery and enter one of the coolest new restaurants in town, Maurepas Foods.   At 3200 Burgundy St., Maurepas Foods has been getting lots of press-The New Orleans Times-Picayune food critic recently gave it a glowing three-bean review.   It’s “New American” food, with vegetables getting the center of attention, but besides a wonderful plate of roasted beets, you can get goat tacos, or grilled shrimp with herbs, all in a former corner store with a hipster vibe.   It’s loud, with all those ancient walls, and it’s buzzing, and it’s very Bywater.   Probably won’t find it uptown on Magazine St., but the food is worthy of anywhere.

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New Orleans Community

Mr. Okra……Fruits and Vegetables!

Everyone’s New Year’s resolution these days seems to include eating better. In New Orleans, the home of fried food and starchy red beans and rice, oil and flour-thickened roux for gumbo, etc. etc., that may seem to be an impossible dream. But think about all the fruit and vegetable vendors in town, and it may not seem so far-fetched.  After all, we have one of the last remaining singing mobile fruit and vegetable vendors in the country, Mr. Okra.  Mr. Okra is famous these days for his newly painted truck, but his musical announcements for his wares dates back to the 19th century in New Orleans.  If you’ve never heard this “I’ve got eatin’ pears, I’ve got apples,” sung in a strange rhythmic cadence, you’re in for a surprise.  Sung in different ways to differentiate themselves from each other, street food songs have been a presence n New Orleans for many years.  A recording made by music historians, The Classic Sounds of New Orleans, on the Smithsonian Folkways label, features Dora Bliggen, another old-time fruit vendor who could have had another career as a jazz singer. Now, there’s just Mr. Okra who cries his wares, using a speaker and Autotune to surreal (and startling) effect, but there are still folks in New Orleans set up all over town in different locations selling fresh vegetables or fruit from their trucks.  Some of it is local produce in season-strawberries from Ponchatoula, or oranges from Plaquemines Parish, or greens from St. Bernard Parish truck farmers.  Wherever you drive in town, you may see one of these trucks.

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New Orleans Community New Orleans Events

Its Carnival Time in New Orleans

It’s that time of the year! The city is taking down Christmas decorations and putting up purple, green and gold. It’s a very magical and fun time. Being a native and taking all that our city has to offer for granted, we sometimes forget how these traditions are viewed from the outside world. Here is a list of questions that I am typically asked about  Mardi Gras in case you are  also curious about the basics of the celebration.

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New Orleans Community New Orleans Dining

Reveillon Dinners

Reveillon is a French word meaning “awakening”. In the Creole days of New Orleans it described a meal, which was served on Christmas Eve following midnight mass. Early settlers of New Orleans were Catholic, and the entire community emerged to participate in the ceremonies. After mass, families would come home to a massive feast, already prepared and laid out. A typical reveillon menu resembled breakfast, several egg dishes, puddings and breads, but also could offer rich dishes like turtle soup, gumbo’s, oysters and grillades of veal. Of course, Creoles accompanied this rich food with wines and cordials. The dinners lasted for hours, and even sometimes until dawn.
New Orleans Community New Orleans Events

New Orleans Christmas Concerts

New Orleans is celebrating Christmas! An endearing tradition is the Christmas concert series at the St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter.

Enjoy jazz, gospel, classical and traditional music performed by some of our finest local talent.

Mon.       Dec. 6th             Ellis Marsalis
Wed.       Dec. 8th             Zion Harmonizers
Sun.        Dec. 12th            Ingrid  Lucia
Mon.       Dec.  13th           Trish Foti Genco
Tues.      Dec.  14th            Danny O’Flaherty
Wed.       Dec. 15th            Tom McDermott
Thurs.     Dec. 16th            Philip Manuel
Sun.        Dec. 19th            St Louis Cathedral Basilica Concert
Mon.       Dec.  20th           Waltler Wolfman Washington
Tues.       Dec.  21st           Irvin Mayfield

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New Orleans Attractions New Orleans Community

New Orleans French Quarter Secret Gardens Tour

 There are treasures behind those French Quarter doors . Pass through the narrow alley and discover  brick patios, sounds of flowing fountains and 100 year old wisteria vines. This is the  living art of a unique part of our New Orleans culture.
 The Secret Gardens Tour takes you behind gates and walls to expose the French Quarters most charming secrets.

The general climate in New Orleans is quite tropical as are its lush gardens. You’ll see sweet olive, birds of paradise, jasmine, wisteria, Japanese plums, several varieties of gingers and bougainvillea. read more »

New Orleans Community

The Evolution of “Who Dat”

In the beginning there was the “WHO DAT”, which grew into a large number of people and became the “WHO DAT NATION”. This nation of people only seem to have black and gold clothing in their closets and don’t seem to mind wearing the same thing over and over. They are also very very loud and make alot of noise.

The year 2009 brought the “BELIEVE DAT”.Everyone was pinching each other because the Saints were actually undefeated and the idea of going all the way…..well maybe we could….so you just had to “BELIEVE DAT!”

OMG we win the Super Bowl! The city is joyous. Everyone is hugging and jumping up and down. People are singing the “Who Dat” chant in Walmart.
And of course, we have a parade. We just couldn’t get enough, our beloved boys went all the way and we wanted more! So then goes the “REPEAT DAT!


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