January 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
October 29, 2013 § 1 Comment
It’s no surprise that Halloween is my favorite time of year. The weather is just right and the city’s cast of characters come to life for a night. Wait. Scratch that. New Orleans is made of a cast of characters, and on any given day of the week you are destined to run into one. A friend and I like to play a game we call, “Costume or Real Outfit.” Nine out of ten times it’s a real outfit. That’s why Halloween in New Orleans is more of a celebration of its lead actors. The biggest celebration is on Frenchmen Street, where locals go to mosey in and out of bars and music halls.
A combustible combination of creativity, ingenuity, and humor. Lots of humor. Dead-pan. Juvenile. Off-color. Satirical. You name it. Frenchmen has it. I’m in London this year (post about that soon), so I hope my friends have taken copious notes and photos of some of this year’s best costumes.
In the meantime, I will wait to wear this handsome headdress again. I bought it for no other reason than, you never know when you might need a headdress. As it turns out, I needed it. Erica Ferrone, a sweet friend I made at BU and incredibly talented photographer came to visit. When she reached out she asked, “Hey, would you and MG feel like playing dress up and taking a few pictures?” Response: “Duh. I’ll bring the headdress.”
Please visit Erica’s website and her blog. Her work speaks for itself, but as a general commentary (this blog is full of that) Erica has an excellent eye for the right shot. I panicked internally a little when she sprawled herself across Bourbon Street for certain shots, but the outcome of these photographs attests to the notion that a little Bourbon Street dirt never hurt anyone.
The sign of an excellent photographer is not only in the skill set behind the lens, but the ability to make the subject feel comfortable in front of it. Erica’s sunny disposition and energy breeds an excitement during the shoot that is infectious. The result is inevitably filtered through the camera lens freezing a moment in time that you will certainly dream to recreate.
How dope are these black and white shots?
Thanks Erica for letting MG and I play around our city with you. Dress up is made for Halloween, yes. But any time of the year is fine by me.
October 8, 2013 § 2 Comments
It’s one thing in the 7th grade to attend a Hanson concert
singing screaming at the top of your lungs from the 14th row of Lakewood Amphitheater and convincing yourself that Taylor Hanson most definitely just waved at you and your BFF. It’s an animal of different stripes, however, when two years later you learn that the key to meeting Tay (his affectionate namesake) is to wake up at the ass crack of dawn and wait with your sisters, BFF, and Johnnie Mae outside Blockbuster Music on Peachtree Street for 3 (plus) hours.
The waiting in line wasn’t so much a problem as how I would make my first impression to win Taylor’s heart. Enter, Bop magazine’s legitimate article on, of all topics, making a great first impression with your celebrity crush. First, I will allow no judging. If you must, keep it at a dull whisper. It’s emergency preparedness though when you are in the 9th grade and 14 years old. In hindsight, Bop’s advice was about as revealing as it comes for those magazines. Smile. Look celebrity in the eye. Recite this phrase, “Hi, insert celebrity name. My name is insert your name. Nice to meet you.” Naturally, after your stellar introduction, you and your celebrity crush take hands and walk into the sunset.
Once we snaked our way through the aisles of CD racks and Blockbuster’s CD slingers set-up Hanson’s grip and grin table, it was a waiting game. I carefully reviewed the Bop article a few times in line, practiced my introduction with my BFF, and then it was time. Fate was at work. We snaked closer to the front of the line and with every inch I was that much closer to my certain fate as Taylor’s “forever.” Shocker, fate’s agenda was a little different from my own at the time.
Despite the handshake I led with that resulted in an awkward hand-holding moment, this brace-face delivered a silver-tongued introduction. What Bop forgot to add to its compelling article was what to do next. Apparently, after the introduction you are on your own. By the time Taylor signed my CD jacket, said, “Nice to meet you,” and we properly shook hands, it was over before it began.
That’s how its suppose to be though. When you are a 14 year old, everything has a heightened importance. Everything is: “I am going to die if insert teenage gripe. Only until life doles you a few more experiences does reality take shape.
Johnnie Mae used to play Red Grammer (fact: Andy Grammer is his son) in the car for my sisters and I when we were little. Red was big on the kid song circuit and we were well-versed in his lyrical work. When we had the opportunity to ride on the same float as Red in Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Day parade, I was thrilled. Sing and hang with Red? Hell, yeah. On a parade float? Stop.
I don’t recall what I said, if anything. At six, I probably just stared up in amazement at him, but I recall what disappointment I felt when he didn’t recognize me. Because I knew who he was, I assumed he would know who I was. I was certain he would spot me on the float, stop talking to the other children and apologetically say, “How could I miss you? You are my biggest fan. You know all my songs, and you sing them in your mom’s car with your sisters all the time.”
Instead, I stared in disbelief indulging my internal dialogue, “Dude. I sing all your songs. I have all your cassette tapes. Quit acting like a stranger. Let’s share the mic and sing for the people.”
I should have taken a note from that Red Grammer experience and realized that Bop’s five sentence article was not going to be a game changer for Taylor and I.
I have grown up since Red Grammer and Hanson (although, some may beg to differ). I still make sure to see Hanson when they roll through NOLA, but I don’t chase their bus when they peel out. I did that one time after the Blockbuster meet and greet, and only because I thought Taylor needed one more opportunity to change his mind about us.
Flash forward ten years and some change and I’m just as content dancing and singing in the back of the House of Blues enjoying the tunage. Those in the know are savvy to the good show Hanson delivers. Like a good mixologist crafting your favorite sipping sauce, its the best combination of everything you’ve always loved with something new to set your tastebuds on fire. And just like that, you remember where you came from but how far you’ve come.
Along the way, should anyone ask you about it, point to your rock tee. Everybody has an anthem, and you gotta represent the one ya love.
October 1, 2013 § 2 Comments
Although an afternoon monsoon in NOLA is more often an exercise in futility, a utility jacket like this one and these boots (c/o MG) make rainy days a little easier. At the sight of an overcast sky, this is my go to jacket. It’s been pelted with beads and beer during Mardi Gras and covered in mud during Dave Matthews’ rain-soaked Jazz Fest performance, but it continues to hold strong. Plus, y’all it has a removable hood. Rain jacket turned windbreaker. I know.
After a stop at The Shed in Gulfport the other weekend, I insisted MG pull the car over for a little “Roadside America.” Behold, this huge ass rocking chair. It’s not the world’s largest–that title belongs to these guys–but Dedeaux’s craftsmanship is pretty big and a challenge to climb.
A few passing big rigs honked their horns, while I struggled to find my way to the top. I gather they weren’t honking at me to be careful, but instead letting me know my unmentionables may have provided some roadside entertainment. Oh well. You win some. You lose some…and you get a few pictures to share.
September 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
All trips to, from, or through Gulfport, Mississippi require a stop at The Shed. The saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” comes alive under this funky tin roof establishment. The treasure, kids, is the ‘cue. The meat is slow roasted to pure perfection and the sweet sauce has five year olds to eighty-five year olds licking their fingers.
Like any treasure trove, there’s always one attraction that marvels. The ribs. I tend to veer away from dishes still on the bone…something about ripping the meat off the bone that’s just a little too caveman for me. But–that’s a big BUT–these ribs fall into the exception. The meat slides clean off the bone. Shedhead tip: You’re gonna need a fork or not be afraid of a little mess. This last trip I nearly ordered them, but in light of my buddy’s desire to eat healthier I decided pouring salt in the wound was cruel. Next time I won’t be so nice.
A BBQ classic in my book, the pull pork sandwich was the dish du jour. It was sweet divinity. The next time you drive past a junk yard and wonder what’s cooking, just know it’s BBQ and it’s called The Shed.
September 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’ve been pretty radio silent when it comes to New Orleans eats, lately. That’s not to say I haven’t made my rounds. I’m on a regular circuit of local eateries that deserve a mention. I fail miserably in one aspect though. The documentation. The plate arrives, and oops. I will work on it. Next time.
This time, a friend and I tried out happy hour at Apolline. Just down from Le Bon Temps on Magazine, Apolline is warm and inviting. The happy hour small plates offer a nice variety and the prices, frankly, can’t get any better.
What’ll ya have? The watermelon salad which was so fresh and the perfect toast to the end of the summer season. The pomme frites are easy to share and hell, it’s french fries. I love them. And, the seared diver scallop was perfectly seared, but the real highlight was the corn maque choux. Yum. Can I get a large plate next time?
I am giddy for the weather to cool down, because the outdoor seating is calling my name. The seating along the side of the restaurant provides some solace from the busy Magazine thoroughfare. But if people watching is your thing, brunch outside on the porch or the bricked off patio in front isn’t shabby either. The butcher block bar in the back of the restaurant is my new favorite (uptown) place to be. Sippin’ on the sauce never felt so good.
September 14, 2013 § 1 Comment
Oh! I don’t know where to begin with this French Quarter jewel. Those that know will tell you the French Quarter has so many secret gems and stumbling upon a new one isn’t hard. When my sister was in town we strolled down Royal Street and were so taken by this lace and fur coat we had no choice but to explore the rest of the boutique. If you desire a trip back in time and fancy a colorful wardrobe to match, Oh! Fine Lingerie is a must.
Racks of sequins and silk dresses line the walls. Each dress certain to make heads turn and ask, “where did you get that?” From a 1950s ball gown nestled next to a 1970s sparkling achievement that would make Cher jealous to the not to be missed corner snuggling delicate lingerie and dainty bedroom robes.
Oh! was such a treat to visit. Marina was so friendly and encouraged us to be girls and play dress up. For a moment, we were young girls again playing in our grandmother’s closet. Our grandmother kept all of our aunt’s prom dresses, and every visit meant another opportunity to slip on a dress and frost ourselves in jewels and pretend we were English royalty. Included in our game of pretend was a royal parade around the neighborhood waiving to the commonwealth. No one but us showed up for the parade, but we didn’t care. It was about the dresses anyways.
The next time you find yourself sauntering through the French Quarter make it a point to pop into this delightful shop. Oh! is your grandmother’s treasure trove collection of vintage couture dresses each telling the story of her life. She dressed for the occasion, and every day was an occasion.