Mardi Gras Marches On: The Gravitational Center of the NOLA Calendar


Me, Aimee, Reid, & Mark at the Morpheus Captain's Crawl

Me, Aimee, Reid, & Mark at the Morpheus Captain’s Crawl

I have written many time about how Mardi Gras is a year round event. Even though 2014’s Carnival Season ended with Ash Wednesday on March 5th, minds immediately turned to 2015’s festivities. In fact, only a handful of days into Lent my ever enthusiastic float mate, Don, posted the first of his now regular countdown updates on Morpheus’s Facebook wall: Only 342 days until we ride! Mardi Gras—not New Years or Christmas—is the epicenter of the New Orleans calendar, drawing all other days and events into its orbit.

In the opening pages of this blog I asserted:

Mardi Gras isn’t a few weeks of planning followed by a big blowout.  It’s a year of preparation and perspiration that unfolds over several weeks like a military campaign hell-bent on spreading heaven throughout the darkest months of the year.

This thesis was confirmed last summer during my visit to Mardi Gras World—a tourist attraction that provides the public a behind-the-scenes view of how Mardi Gras is built. During my tour I learned most krewes hand the facility’s conceptual artists their theme for next year’s parade on Ash Wednesday—or sometimes before. Even in the more informal and DIY Chewbacchus my sub-krewe of K.R.A.P. was bouncing around plans for a Jabba the Hut’s Barge float next year before the final parades had rolled. (Since I’d yet to embark on My Low Carb Lent to shed my ‘transplant twenty-five,’ I offered to play Jabba but co-leader Rachel Unger shot back that [Read more…]

My Low Carb Lent, Part 2: From St. Patrick’s Day Temptation To Nerd Croquet Elation


Greg Cartwright Gathers The Nerds While Doing a Nerd's Literal Interpretation of a Keg Stand

Greg Cartwright Gathers The Nerds While Doing a Nerd’s Literal Interpretation of a Keg Stand

Last weekend I attended The All Chewbachus Spring Croquet Invitational and B-B Chew, a Chewbacchusrelated’ (though not ‘officially sanctioned’ as even sci-fi walking parades in the Marigny have gone legit with insurance disclaimers) ‘Gathering of the Nerds.’ Held on the banks of the Mississippi River at a park below Audubon Zoo called ‘The Fly’ (for reasons unknown to me), this picnic and croquet free-for-all included many of the same attendees that were at the St. Patrick’s Day party I attended two months ago just as I was starting My Low Carb Lent. Happily, fifteen to twenty pounds less of me showed up this past Sunday, for that party two months ago had been the first major test I would face.

nerds gather 2Now that Jazz Fest is over, the event this weekend provided a nice gateway through which to return to the early days of my quest to correct the dietary sins of My Year of Mardi Gras. Eschewing New Orleans living may seem an odd direction for this blog, but most transplants I talk to have had a similar experience; it’s like gaining your ‘freshmen fifteen’ in college, only your ‘transplant twenty-five’ tends to come at a time in your life when your metabolism has slowed and you can’t simply lose weight by exercising a bit and skipping the desert line for a few weeks!


What do Star Wars Nerds Do At A Picnic....

What do Star Wars Nerds Do At A Picnic….

Observing Lent in New Orleans is no easy matter, despite the heavily ritualistic Catholic culture. After the mass consumption of Mardi Gras the city may aspire to forty-seven days of fasting (if you count the Sundays, which is apparently a debatable point), but there are just too many good reasons to party here. Forty-seven days quickly gives way to four-to-seven days, and broken Lents come especially quickly in a year [Read more…]

French Quarter Festival 2014 In Pictures


2014-04-10 18.52.00In 2013 I posted detailed daily reviews of French Quarter Festival, the second largest New Orleans music festival after Jazz Fest (though Voodoo Fest may beg to differ) and one of the largest free music festivals in the nation. This year, however, I am around for only the first of this four-day event. I am loath to leave when so much wonderful free music is filling up the city’s tourist core, but I was granted a reviewer pass to cover Wanee Fest in Florida, The Allman Brothers‘ annual festival and campout on the Suwanee River. The Allman Brothers are one of my top five all-time favorite bands and they announced in January that they were calling it quits after this year; thus, iI can’t pass up the opportunity to say farewell to an old musical friend.

Fortuitous Timing

Fortuitous Timing

As consolation, I made it out to the river front today to enjoy some wonderful music on a sublime afternoon. The crowd was as quirky and engaging as always, so I thought I’d let the pictures do the talking and give you a glimpse of the wonderful time you’re missing if you’re not in New Orleans this weekend!




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Selfie With the Crowd [Read more…]

New Orleans Attractions: The National World War II Museum


WWII Me at Ticket CounterAs a history buff that has read a good deal about World War II including several books by local legend Stephen Ambrose (you’ve probably heard of Band of Brothers), I have been anticipating a trip to The National World War II Museum since moving to New Orleans. July 4th weekend had me feeling patriotic so the following Monday a friend and I wandered over to the Central Business District (or ‘American Sector’ as it was known when Canal was a sharp diving line between Creoles and Americans) to visit what was recently recognized as the top New Orleans Tourist Attraction.

WWII Aimee TankTrip Advisor ranks The National World War II Museum as the #1 New Orleans Tourist Attraction and the #7 museum in the U.S. I’d have a tough time taking exception. The compound stretches over several building between Magazine and St. Charles just before the overpass at Calliope and plans are underway for it to continue to grow. Be sure to allow yourself a day if not two. I could easily spend a week in there and considering the American Sector Restaurant is run by legendary chef John Besh and boasts ‘The Best Happy Hour In New Orleans’ I would be well and affordably fed. I would also be well entertained—The Stage Door Canteen is a dinner theater that features thematic performances and every Sunday the museum hosts swing dances with free lesson.

WWII Museum SurrenderAdmission is [Read more…]