Just stop your whining…. PLEASE

Look, Americans, I understand. Some of you are unhappy about our President. I totally get it. Trust me. I get that some of you are unhappy about the local government as well. I live in New Orleans where crime is skyrocketing, and my local government is more concerned about cement statues than living, breathing people. And after this morning’s shooting of Steve Scalise, and the four other victims, I physically cannot take anymore of the anger and bitching that is fueling a divide in this country and perpetuating the violence that has gotten so out of control.

The more I look at the news and social media, the sicker I am of this country and its entitled, selfish attitude. There’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and marshal law. LEARN it. For the most part, peaceful protests no longer exist. I am sorry. Do not argue this point. They should be able to exist, but we are hard pressed to find any group that can protest peacefully these days. It doesn’t matter who is making it violent, the republicans or the democrats; it is not working anymore. People are not able to voice their opinions without getting physical or disrespectful. Why? Why are you so angry? Let me tell you why I am angry.

I am angry because we are STILL talking about race and gender issues. Why? Why do you care if I am black and you are white? Or if I am RED and you are yellow? Why is it your business, and why are you pissed about it? I am angry because we are STILL talking about homosexuality, and I am angry because it does not stop there. Besides who can sleep with whom, we are NOW talking about who is wearing what and who is allowed to dress a certain way. Why do you care if you are sitting next to a man in a dress? Would you care if you were sitting next to a woman in a baseball cap? WHY? I am angry because it has been one thing after another with the bitching and complaining, and what people – especially the media – do not understand is that the more we bitch, the more the fire is fueled.

I am most angry because we never talk about right and wrong. We never give the benefit of the doubt, and we never care when someone is genuinely going against the right thing, the law, and then suffers the consequence. All we do it bitch and play the blame game. Everything is someone else’s fault and everyone has an ulterior motive. We are creating so much hate simply because we’re bored, or dumb, or wrong and can not admit it. But mostly, it could be because we are listening to the media, who, for some reason, cannot get any facts straight, never can stick to the facts in general, and thinks the most insignificant things are significant while the most important things that we should be focusing on fall behind a story about the Kardashians, or whether or not Trump’s wife held his hand that day. STOP!

Not getting your way and then becoming disrespectful and bullying others because they do not see things the same way that you do is not what freedom of speech is all about. As a matter of fact, adults acting like this is, what I believe, the reason for so much hate and bullying in schools and on social media. It may seem like nothing to you when you get on Facebook and call everyone out for not believing what you believe. But calling people names and assuming that you know who they are just because of their stance on one political issue is ridiculous. Cyber bullying by adults is why children are doing that and much worse to each other. Adults are taking the lead from the media and the children are taking a lead from the adults. It’s a vicious cycle.

The suicide rate is out of control in young kids today. When children are getting beaten up at school, why are our children video taping it rather than stopping it? Why are our children telling each other to kill themselves and, when they do, the parents take up for their child and say, “Well he didn’t have to listen to my kid.” STOP. Stop teaching your children that they are above punishment, above the law and above being kind hearted people. Life is not always going to rule in their favor, but when they see adults holding the bloody head of our President in their hands, they tend to get the idea that they can do whatever works for them without consequence.

Teaching your children that they do not need to respect authority if they do not like the particular person in the authoritative position is creating this divide in the country. If your child rapes someone, they deserve to be in jail. No one cares that the backlash is hard on him, Brock Turner’s parents. Your son is a rapist and deserves the punishment that fits that crime. He can be so sorry, and we hope he is, but he has to take his punishment for his actions. And it shouldn’t matter if he is black, white, or grey and it should not matter if the victim is black, white, or grey. The punishment should be the punishment. Get over it and teach your children to live with the consequences of their actions. If your child just took a match to your family pet, get your child the help he/ she needs and stop ignoring the beginning signs of the psychopath that you are raising! Stop letting the media convince you that people are against your child because he or she is a red head. People want your child to get help because he lit an animal on fire. DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE? Right and wrong!

We are turning this country into something it is not; a heartless, selfish, unethical, violent, and unaccepting country with no loyalty to its people, no strength to fight against anyone but each other, and no will to move forward and make a change once and for all. We are weak, we are becoming more ignorant, and we are becoming a target. And this won’t be Trump’s fault, although I know that’s where many people will point the finger. Next election, get him out of office! In the meantime, start looking at yourself on a personal level and in your household.

Start with the people directly in front of you. I bet you have a lot more changes to make in your immediate circle before moving on to judge the rest of the country. Stop being so angry. Accept responsibility and do the best you can to raise good hearted people. Raise children that will say something rather than record something horrible and put it on Facebook. Raise children that do not see the color of skin so we can get over the racial issues, and raise children that could care less if a man is sleeping with a man or a woman so we can get over this homophobic nonsense. Teach them about love, helping others, doing the right thing, hard work and accountability. These are the things we should be worried about and working toward as a country. Start seeing good and start spreading positivity. Stop fueling the hate!

New Orleans’ best friend, Father John – Thank you for being our friend!

Throughout the last few days, we’ve seen countless write-ups and posts about the “Priest’s Priest” Father John Arnone. New Orleans is definitely a small world when it comes to the countless connections that we have to one another. This has been proven once again by the wealth of people that have known, been touched by and now feel the loss of Father John.

You’ve read the beautiful tributes from the Clarion Herald, Nola.com, the Odyssey, etc all listing out the endless number of ways that he touched this city as a priest and a model Catholic. A few of his close friends and family have also shared stories of his personal loves of all things New Orleans, music, food and any type of festival he could find. His family is certainly not at a loss for good stories and great memories shared by thousands of locals grieving this loss and celebrating his life. To know that their child and brother was a devoted servant to the Lord must be something that makes his parents and siblings so proud! But to know that he was loved for so much more than that, can only be something that other parents and families hope for and dream of.

I knew Father John. He was a dear, close friend of my (soon-to-be) husband. He shared birthdays with us, holiday meals, family dinners, etc. He reached out to us to bless our home just 6 months ago when we moved. He went above and beyond to make our house a home and make sure that our new family would be blessed. That is just the kind of person he was. Just a week before his surgery he was at our house for an impromptu dinner that we will be forever grateful he came to. He showed up last minute while my family was over and we sat around and talked about his surgery, and various other things going on. He had just come from an event where he was well fed and told us that, “although he would stop by, he wouldn’t be eating because he was stuffed” from a fundraiser he had just attended. Two hours into the visit, he was eating with us at the table, laughing and cracking jokes about how we knew he was going to eat even though he said he wouldn’t! Two weeks later, we were in the hospital praying over him asking him not to leave us, even though we knew that God might have other plans.

I am shocked that John has been called home so soon, but I am not surprised that God has bigger plans for him. I am not surprised that the day everyone found out about his condition in the hospital that there were hundreds of people flooding East Jefferson. I am not surprised that facebook was covered in posts asking for prayers for Father John and his family and I am not surprised that it went even further into the community with businesses posting signs and prayer requests all of the city. I am also not surprised that social media is now flooded with beautiful memories of this amazing man. This priest that served the Lord selflessly and baptized, married, and buried thousands of children, couples and family members throughout New Orleans. I know that for every 5th person in this city this week, we can find another Father John fan with a wonderful, warm memory that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

What I am surprised about is that beyond the Priest, Father John was a friend. A Best Friend to so many. How many of you have a similar story of sharing time with him just before surgery, or having your home blessed by him? How many of you shared your birthday with him most years? How many shared Mardi Gras with him, or Christmas holidays? What about lunches and family dinners? We did too! How many of you thought you were his close, no great maybe even his BEST friend? So did we! And guess what, we were! We all were!

How did he have time for all of us? He just did and he loved every minute of it. What we should be taking away from John’s life, besides the love of Christ and how to live a Christ-like life, is how to be the best friend and how to make everyone around you feel the best all the time no matter who else is there and how many other friends you visited before. When John was with us for family dinner, he was with us! He was not on his phone talking to other friends that needed him. And when he arrived, it was as if he had been waiting to see us all day! So many of us with jobs, and children and responsibilities, that do not include taking care of an entire congregation of people, make excuses of why we do not have time for our friends or for our extended family. We do have the time, if we choose to make the time!

What I will take away from my friendship with John is how to be a better friend and a better person and how to not only live the life that Christ wants but to be the friend that Christ would be here on earth, just as John was!

Be present, be loving, be understanding, be joyful, be friendly, be open-minded, be Christ-like and be everyone’s best friend just as John was!

 

Jazz Fest 101

You an also check out this article published in Where Y’At magazine or online at http://www.whereyat.com

Although I am a New Orleans native, I did not grow up going to Jazz Fest each year like other locals. It actually wasn’t until just 5 years ago that a great friend of mine convinced me to step outside of my comfort zone, and I’m glad she did. Before then, I was too anxious about the crowds, not much of a live music lover, and I hated the thought of hanging out in the heat while sitting in grass. Thank God Jazz Fest came along to save my sheltered, judgmental little soul!

Now that I know better and have an open mind and heart, I’d like to share my successes with everyone. Enjoying Jazz Fest is very simple. It comes down to what you wear, what you drink, what you bring, and who you go with.

What to wear to Jazz Fest:

Wearing the correct clothing is by far one of the most important details for a successful Jazz Fest experience. Most of the time, fingers crossed, you’ll have a beautiful, sunny day. Making sure you are not adding to the heat by wearing something too heavy or uncomfortable will make things that much more enjoyable. And preparing for the weather in case it isn’t perfect is another absolute must. Here’s a list of what’s most important:

  1. SUNBLOCK – Even if the sky is a little cloudy, trust me, the sun is still shining on you. You will need sunblock!
  2. Proper clothing – Again, dress comfortably. Wear something lightweight and casual. Shorts are usually the best, but as a hater of shorts, a sundress works just fine! Definitely wear a comfortable, cool top (i.e. a tank top, or a strapless shirt if you are worried about tan lines.) Guys, t-shirts and shorts are perfect. Do not try to get fancy. It’s hot out there.
  3. Shoes – Flip-flops are great and tennis shoes will work as well. Some people will tell you that wearing comfy socks and tennis shoes are best because they are better to walk in. That seems so hot to me. I’d rather risk the walk and wear flip-flops. No matter what, please do not be the girl wearing stilettos to Jazz Fest. If I’m not wearing heels, it’s not a heel-worthy event! The majority of the walking paths are dirt and grass, and heels are not necessary—nor are they cute out there. No one will be impressed! And do not go barefoot. You are at the racetrack—where horses race. Consider what you are walking in – yuck!
  4. Essentials – Sunglasses, hats—anything to help block the sun.
  5. Rain plan – In the event that it is raining OR has rained causing the “Jazz Fest mud pit” rain boots are 100% necessary. If you choose to wear something like flip-flops, they will more than likely be lost in the mud and you will spend the rest of the day bare foot.

What to drink at Jazz Fest:

This is very simple. Stay hydrated! Beer booths are all over the fairgrounds. So if you are a beer drinker, you’re in luck. You may bring in your own sealed bottle of water, but no other outside drinks are allowed. Aside from beer, booths are scattered throughout the fair grounds selling daiquiris, margaritas, wine, water, lemonade, tea, and soft drinks.

What to bring to Jazz Fest:

There are many restricted items on the list for Jazz Fest. Here’s what you can bring in:

  1. A small bag or backpack – The size is 17x12x10. If you bring in a bag, consider bringing the following:
    1. A koozie
    2. Antibacterial hand soap
    3. A roll of toilet paper
    4. SUNBLOCK
  2. A small ice chest – This must be a soft ice chest, and it cannot be bigger than a 12 pack size cooler. Inside you can only have sealed water and ice. No other drinks are allowed from the outside.
  3. A chair – You can only bring in a single, standard collapsible chair.
  4. Blankets or ground tarps – If you are securing a spot for yourself or a group, you will want to bring in a blanket or ground tarp. The size cannot be larger than 6×8. I would also recommend picking a color or pattern that stands out. Finding your spot once you leave it is sometimes difficult!

Who to take to Jazz Fest:

Aside from wearing the proper clothing, choosing the right people to spend the day with is the most important thing. Most people would not think this is a big deal, but I feel like this can either make your day or break your day. Having a large group is always the most fun. But you have to make sure that you do not accidently allow a “Debbie Downer” into the krewe.

You do not want to be with the friend that hates crowds, hates the heat, constantly complains, doesn’t want to sit in grass, can’t use a port-o-let, or generally can not sit still and just enjoy the music, the day, and the food. Based on these things, I would have never invited myself to Jazz Fest! You also do not want to be with a category five clinger.

You do want to be with people that can be on their own while you are grabbing a beer or food. Bring people who are fun, relaxed, down for whatever, and have a similar plan for the day that you do—or people who do not have a plan at all. That’s even better.

No matter who you go with, what you wear, what you bring or drink, have fun! That is most important. And just pay attention to these last tips, and you’ll be just fine:

  1. The only opportunity to potty is a port o let, so please be aware of that.
  2. Feel free to stake out a spot and leave your blankets and chairs to go check out some other stages. For the most part, people are respectful of other peoples’ set ups.
  3. Take a nap, get up and dance, eat a little of everything – feel free to feel free for the day. Don’t worry about the time or anything else!
  4. Cell phones do not typically work very well once you get out to the fair grounds. So make a plan with your friends before you get out there, just in case you have to meet up, and your phone isn’t working.
  5. Come out with a good attitude. No fighting and no complaining. Make friends with the groups around you. Everyone is there to have fun and enjoy the music. So enjoy it!

 

Mardi Gras – The Etiquette – The Alcohol – The Survival Kit

It’s that time of year again!  Parties, parades, friends, family, crawfish, crowds, cocktails, cocktails, oh good Lord all of the cocktails.  It’s Mardi Gras and I know we are all ready for it!

Each year, locals pull out the ladders, the ice chests, the NOLA t-shirts, the koozies and bagged chairs and we head on out to Metairie or Uptown (whichever your preference might be) with the hope of catching some unique throws and making more Mardi Gras memories.  We spend the first weekend getting back into the swing of it all and spend the work week in between doing mediocre work while chatting with our co-workers (or anyone who will listen) about where we are standing for Nyx and Muses and where we’ll be dropped off for Endymion and Bacchus.  We head out on Endymion Saturday and barely make it to Lundi Gras before realizing that we have two more days of parties so perhaps a sober day wouldn’t be a bad idea.

It’s a cycle of 2 weeks (give or take a day here and there) where we wake up thinking about when we are going out to the route and we go to bed wondering if you can actually drink another day, deal with the children another day or fight the traffic another day.  We can – always!  So we get back up and head out to the route again.  We love it and why shouldn’t we?

While drinking is a big part of Mardi Gras, every local and tourist alike should know that it is not all about the cocktails.  What it IS all about is having fun with family and friends, and complete strangers that inevitably end up becoming our best friends for life!  So watch yourself and be respectful.  There are children in the area!  As a matter of fact, there are families all over St. Charles Avenue, and Veterans too.  So many sites to see and so many fun people dancing and celebrating waiting for parades to start.

It is suggested that Mardi Gras consists of nothing more than beads and booze, but the only thing you see more than that is FOOD!  Fried chicken, crawfish, sandwiches, BBQ, any snack you could ever want, king cake, donuts…. you name it, someone has it and they will probably share.  And if they don’t, then you know they aren’t from New Orleans!  There are so many ways to spot a tourist.  Do you want to know a few ways to recognize a non-New Orleanian?  Here’s a list of misconceptions so you don’t look so out of place and desperate while visiting our wonderful city!

  1. We DO NOT flash, especially for beads – this is definitely something that someone from out of town started and everyone who ever visited followed suit – locals do not do this.
  2. We Do not show up five minutes before a parade and stand in front of the crowds of people who slept on the route the night before in order to reserve their spot – you will get your ass kicked and if you don’t, you should. Save your own spot or stand in the back.  And if you are a local and you’re doing this – leave the city immediately!!!
  3. We Do not throw beads at the floats as they pass. The idea is for the riders to throw to us and because of that they are not expecting to have something throw at them. You will not look cool or funny, but you will look like an idiot who does not get out much and who’s parents obviously failed!
  4. We Do not follow the float down the street, unless we know someone riding on that float. There will be another float right behind the one that just passed. Wait patiently and get out of the street.
  5. We Do not fight a child for a pair of beads; actually, do not fight anyone. Beads cost nickels and dimes – essentially worth nothing. Although fun to have, catching beads is not a life-or-death situation; there’s plenty for everyone.
  6. If the person standing next to you at a parade is calling out the name of someone on a float, help them to get the person’s attention. And if they are struggling to catch everything that person is throwing to them, help them out and give them the “goods.” In most cases, the person will reward you with something from their throws, but either way, at least you were a good person and helped them out!
  7. Locals are well-versed at drinking.  We had whiskey in our bottles as infants (another rumor that is untrue.)  But still, Do not try to keep up with us.  Pace yourself. The weekend leading up to Mardi Gras day/day of, most are out on the route for hours before the parade even starts. In order to make it through the whole day (and the whole season) WE pace ourselves. Do drink water and eat when you can!
  8. We Do not wear flip flops if you are planning to go to Bourbon Street (this is just a rule no matter when you are here).

Looking for more local tips?  Here is your survival kit – pack a backpack and include the following:

  1. A roll of toilet paper – bathrooms on the parade routes are hard to find, so be prepared;
  2. Antibacterial hand sanitizer or wet wipes
  3. Crackers, a sandwich or some kind of snack if you are not packing a full lunch;
  4. A koozie in case you switch to beer;
  5. A few plastic cups in case you or a friend need to make a drink on the route;
  6. A bottle or two of water – stay hydrated;
  7. A sweatshirt – you never know what the weather will be like, but 9 times out of 10, Mardi Gras weather is warm during the day and cooler as the sun goes down; be prepared;
  8. Extra of whatever alcohol or beer you are drinking. Tip: if you do not want to drag a cooler around all day, wrap your beer cans in foil and then put it in a ziploc bag with some ice. This will keep your beer cold and allow you to put them right into your backpack, rather than having to hassle with an ice chest. Shout out to my father who did this every year for Bacchus Bash! Also, to conserve space, put your alcohol in empty water bottles.

No matter what, when you come to New Orleans, you will have a blast. And, if you stick with some of the local traditions and etiquette, it will be even better! The Saturday prior to Mardi Gras, go to Orleans Avenue and spend the day people watching and cooking out before Endymion. On the Sunday prior, watch Thoth on Magazine Street and then walk up to St. Charles Avenue to catch Bacchus. If live music is your thing, go hear some of the best cover bands New Orleans has to offer at Generations Hall in the Warehouse District before watching Bacchus, which rolls right down the street. Head to Spanish Plaza on Lundi Gras for an outdoor concert and to see Rex arrive, and enjoy a huge crowd of locals and the beautiful city setting. Even in Metairie (right outside of the city), parades are rolling every night; so, if a family atmosphere and smaller crowds are more your speed, then that’s the place for you.

Take advantage of everything New Orleans and Mardi Gras has to offer, not the limited resources that we are rumored to offer.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint so calm down with the drinking.  And it’s truly a season and celebration of family, so remember that when you and your college buddies think about being punks in the middle of a crowd 20 people deep!  Don’t be THAT GUY – New Orleanians hate THAT GUY!!

Jazz Fest 101

frame 2 - 4x6 - across 2Although I am a New Orleans native, I did not grow up going to Jazz Fest each year like other locals. It actually wasn’t until just 5 years ago that a great friend of mine convinced me to step outside of my comfort zone, and I’m glad she did. Before then, I was too anxious about the crowds, not much of a live music lover, and I hated the thought of hanging out in the heat while sitting in grass. Thank God Jazz Fest came along to save my sheltered, judgmental little soul!

Now that I know better and have an open mind and heart, I’d like to share my successes with everyone. Enjoying Jazz Fest is very simple. It comes down to what you wear, what you drink, what you bring, and who you go with.

What to wear to Jazz Fest:

Wearing the correct clothing is by far one of the most important details for a successful Jazz Fest experience. Most of the time, fingers crossed, you’ll have a beautiful, sunny day. Making sure you are not adding to the heat by wearing something too heavy or uncomfortable will make things that much more enjoyable. And preparing for the weather in case it isn’t perfect is another absolute must. Here’s a list of what’s most important:

  1. SUNBLOCK – Even if the sky is a little cloudy, trust me, the sun is still shining on you. You will need sunblock!
  2. Proper clothing – Again, dress comfortably. Wear something lightweight and casual. Shorts are usually the best, but as a hater of shorts, a sundress works just fine! Definitely wear a comfortable, cool top (i.e. a tank top, or a strapless shirt if you are worried about tan lines.) Guys, t-shirts and shorts are perfect. Do not try to get fancy. It’s hot out there.
  3. Shoes – Flip-flops are great and tennis shoes will work as well. Some people will tell you that wearing comfy socks and tennis shoes are best because they are better to walk in. That seems so hot to me. I’d rather risk the walk and wear flip-flops. No matter what, please do not be the girl wearing stilettos to Jazz Fest. If I’m not wearing heels, it’s not a heel-worthy event! The majority of the walking paths are dirt and grass, and heels are not necessary—nor are they cute out there. No one will be impressed! And do not go barefoot. You are at the racetrack—where horses race. Consider what you are walking in – yuck!
  4. Essentials – Sunglasses, hats—anything to help block the sun.
  5. Rain plan – In the event that it is raining OR has rained causing the “Jazz Fest mud pit” rain boots are 100% necessary. If you choose to wear something like flip-flops, they will more than likely be lost in the mud and you will spend the rest of the day bare foot.

What to drink at Jazz Fest:

This is very simple. Stay hydrated! Beer booths are all over the fairgrounds. So if you are a beer drinker, you’re in luck. You may bring in your own sealed bottle of water, but no other outside drinks are allowed. Aside from beer, booths are scattered throughout the fair grounds selling daiquiris, margaritas, wine, water, lemonade, tea, and soft drinks.

What to bring to Jazz Fest:

There are many restricted items on the list for Jazz Fest. Here’s what you can bring in:

  1. A small bag or backpack – The size is 17x12x10. If you bring in a bag, consider bringing the following:
    1. A koozie
    2. Antibacterial hand soap
    3. A roll of toilet paper
    4. SUNBLOCK
  2. A small ice chest – This must be a soft ice chest, and it cannot be bigger than a 12 pack size cooler. Inside you can only have sealed water and ice. No other drinks are allowed from the outside.
  3. A chair – You can only bring in a single, standard collapsible chair.
  4. Blankets or ground tarps – If you are securing a spot for yourself or a group, you will want to bring in a blanket or ground tarp. The size cannot be larger than 6×8. I would also recommend picking a color or pattern that stands out. Finding your spot once you leave it is sometimes difficult!

Who to take to Jazz Fest:

Aside from wearing the proper clothing, choosing the right people to spend the day with is the most important thing. Most people would not think this is a big deal, but I feel like this can either make your day or break your day. Having a large group is always the most fun. But you have to make sure that you do not accidently allow a “Debbie Downer” into the krewe.

You do not want to be with the friend that hates crowds, hates the heat, constantly complains, doesn’t want to sit in grass, can’t use a port-o-let, or generally can not sit still and just enjoy the music, the day, and the food. Based on these things, I would have never invited myself to Jazz Fest! You also do not want to be with a category five clinger.

You do want to be with people that can be on their own while you are grabbing a beer or food. Bring people who are fun, relaxed, down for whatever, and have a similar plan for the day that you do—or people who do not have a plan at all. That’s even better.

No matter who you go with, what you wear, what you bring or drink, have fun! That is most important. And just pay attention to these last tips, and you’ll be just fine:

  1. The only opportunity to potty is a port o let, so please be aware of that.
  2. Feel free to stake out a spot and leave your blankets and chairs to go check out some other stages. For the most part, people are respectful of other peoples’ set ups.
  3. Take a nap, get up and dance, eat a little of everything – feel free to feel free for the day. Don’t worry about the time or anything else!
  4. Cell phones do not typically work very well once you get out to the fair grounds. So make a plan with your friends before you get out there, just in case you have to meet up, and your phone isn’t working.
  5. Come out with a good attitude. No fighting and no complaining. Make friends with the groups around you. Everyone is there to have fun and enjoy the music. So enjoy it!

Bon Temps Relay Event – March 5th

GetInlineThe Bon Temps Relay is a scavenger hunt/ pub crawl throughout different parts of the downtown New Orleans area.  Last year, I hosted the first one which featured the best bars, restaurants, hotels and businesses on the Decatur side of the French Quarter.  Teams gathered at the House of Blues (which served as our home base) where they registered receiving discounted drinks for the entire day, both before and after the race, and then were handed their clues and set out into the city.

Each clue brought them to a specific business where they either received a free cocktail or food item, or where they had to find something specific within that establishment.  Photographs had to be taken with said item in that business in order to win at the end of their race.  Places such as Brennan’s, Napoleon House, Cigar Factory, Salon by Sucre, The Monteleone, Sobou, etc. were all participating businesses.  Along the way, the teams were also directed to different spots where they had to take specific pictures and they also had to find different items in the city and photograph those in order to win.

Once they returned to the House of Blues, the pictures are checked and uploaded to social media and the team that arrived first, with all of the assigned photos, was the winner!  The teams received discounted drinks for the rest of the day and some even went back to bars within the scavenger hunt to enjoy the cocktails offered during the race.

This year, our home base will be Ernst Cafe and teams will be set out into the warehouse district to explore, photograph and enjoy the best that the warehouse district has to offer.  Teams will gather at Ernst Cafe, but this time, clues will not be given until each team completes a round of flip cup!  Discounted drinks will again be offered and a free drink per team will be given at multiple stops along the way!  So grab your friends and your best costume and sign up today!

** Must be 21 years or older to participate.  Teams must consist of a minimum of 2 players and a maximum of 6 players.  Please bring a photo ID to the event – tickets are available for PRE-SALE only at Event Brite:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bon-temps-relay-tickets-21088658746?aff=eac2

Check out some of my favorite pictures from last year!

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Bon Temps Relay Event – The Great New Orleans Scavenger Hunt

BonTempRelay8_26 3WHAT:  A scavenger hunt exploring different parts of downtown New Orleans. Each “hunt” will take place in different areas of the city featuring the best bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and local businesses in that area.  This hunt will take place on and around Decatur Street – so this is the Decatur Tour.

Teams can consist of 6 player’s maximum, 2 players minimum. (And costumes are encouraged)  At each stop, one person from each team will have to do a task or take a drink and be photographed doing so.  ALL TEAM members must be in the photo in order to qualify to win!  Each bar has chosen a signature drink that they will give to one member of each team for free, in order to complete the tasks that involve drinking.  All other team members are welcome, and encouraged, to purchase drinks at each bar, so have your cash handy!  You will also be required to upload your pictures to the Bon Temps Relay facebook or instagram hash tagging your stops along the way, so have your phones charged up!  (if you are not social media friendly, do not worry.  We’ll get you through it!)

Further rules and guidelines will be explained in depth upon arrival of the event. Transportation is not needed and not encouraged as all stops will be within walking distance.  Prizes will be awarded to the winning team and the team with the best costume!

WHEN/ WHERE:   September 12th, 2015

                               House of Blues

                               2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

                              Registration is at 2pm – the start time of the hunt is 2:30pm

 

WHO:      Adults 21 years and older with a love for great food, boozy fun, and wholesome competition.

Get your friends together, pick a fun costume and get your tickets today for a fun Saturday in the quarter supporting local businesses and NOLA fun!!!

Tickets must be purchased ahead of time at – bontempsrelaynola.eventbrite.com

For more information, contact Kelly Sherlock: (504) 400-1233

kellysherlock@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

New Kids on The Block Concert in New Orleans

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In the 80’s, as a preteen, I went to my very first concert – New Kids on The Block! At the time, it was the biggest deal of my life. Along with thousands of other preteen and teenage girls, I saw the young men of NKOTB sing to me and only me! Didn’t we all believe the concert was just for us? Having Jordan Knight touch my 10 year-old hand was something I could only dream about.

Flash forward about 25 years to Friday, May 16th at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. I didn’t think there could be anything more obnoxious than 15,000 little girls screaming out to a boy band. Now I know that 15,000 middle-aged women, hyped up on margaritas and beer, screaming out to the “next father of their children” trumps the teenage crowd any day!

Let me set the scene. I was dropped off downtown with some of my girlfriends at 5pm (safety first – no drinking and driving.) As we turned on to Poydras Street, it was an all out female fest. Every restaurant and bar within a three – block radius was filled with women, many of them dressed in florescent accents, New Kids on The Block shirts and old school 80’s garb. With full bellies and pre game cocktails in hand, we all headed into the Smoothie King Center for a 7pm “kick off!”

We’ve all been to Pelicans games, Saints games and other concerts, but none of those events had anything on the lines at the bar and the woman’s restroom that night. Just after 7pm, Nelly took the stage and he was the perfect opening act! As a matter of fact, if something would have happened and we all had to leave, I would have felt fulfilled just by having seen Him. As someone that had no expectation one way or the other, I was blown away and shall now start stalking him to see every show he’s involved in!

Next up was TLC, another success for sure. They wore what I consider to be the 90’s uniform, a one shoulder over all assemble, and their choreography was the same as it was 20 years ago. For that, I am grateful. They played all the classics and made sure we heard all the things they knew we were there to hear!

Finally, at about 9pm, Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Donny and Danny took the stage and the ladies went crazy. They looked amazing and I will admit that I did find myself googling Jordan Knight in the middle of the show to find out his age (and to find out if he’s single.) He is 44 and married in case you were wondering. When Joey brought out his 7 year old son, I believe that threw the estrogen into overdrive and suddenly the ticking of 15,000 biological clocks was overwhelming. And I’m speaking of myself as well even though it is my personal belief that I was born without batteries in my clock.

At any rate, the night was amazing! Although an unlikely trio of entertainers, it was perfect! The night was filled with nostalgic feelings, dance moves that have withstood the test of time and lyrics that are still imbedded in our brains for some reason (although I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night, I can still sing every word to TLC’s Red Light Special.)

We had a chance to let loose and relive our youth and we were given that hope once again that an ordinary New Orleans gal could maybe catch the eye of a now 44 year-old New Kid on The Block. As a matter of fact, some of our New Orleans locals even made it on to Joey McIntyre’s Instagram. If that’s not a dream come true, I don’t know what is!

photo courtesy of Joey McIntyre - shout out Kellie Bode and Katie Walsh

photo courtesy of Joey McIntyre – shout out Kellie Bode and Katie Copeland

Sippin’ In Seersucker Event

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Photo from Girl’s Guide to New Orleans

Last Friday, I joined over 500 other guests decked out in our best seersucker outfits to attend the 11th annual Ogden Museum’s Sippin’ in Seersucker event. Kicking off the summer social season, the event was held on the first and second floors of Canal Place with cocktails and food from over 15 local venues. Entertainment was provided by the beautiful vocals of Robin Barnes and the upbeat jazz sounds of the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys.

Throughout the night, the sharpest of dressers were chosen to participate in a Seersucker Contest hosted by Charles Divins and judged by Tracee Dundas and L. Kasimu Harris. Select stores offered shopping specials and a photo booth provided by GoGo Photo Booth was on hand to provide some fun photos to commemorate the amazing night! Raffles were also awarded throughout the night for shopping, wine, entertainment and much more.

Mark your calendars for this event next year and start planning your seersucker outfit early. The competition is steep and the seersucker look is definitely a summer must!

If you missed this event, make sure to come out to celebrate the Ogden Museum at “Ogden After Hours” – more information is listed on their website – http://www.ogdenmuseum.org/calendar/index.html

** Vendors providing food and cocktails at Sippin’ In Seersucker included:

– Acme Oyster House

– Redemption

– Tivoli & Lee

– Highly Seasoned Catering

– Chappy’s

– Baker Maid

– Southern Candymakers

– Pralines by Jean

– Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse

– Banana Blosson, Mizado Cocina

– The Grill Room at Windsor Court

– The Roosevelt Hotel

– Nirvana Indian Cuisine

– Catering d’Orleans

– Fulton Alley

– Food Drunk

– The Munch Factory

Jazz Fest 101

Although I am a New Orleans native, I did not grow up going to Jazz Fest each year like other locals. It actually wasn’t until just 5 years ago that a great friend of mine convinced me to step outside of my comfort zone, and I’m glad she did. Before then, I was too anxious about the crowds, not much of a live music lover, and I hated the thought of hanging out in the heat while sitting in grass. Thank God Jazz Fest came along to save my sheltered, judgmental little soul!

Now that I know better and have an open mind and heart, I’d like to share my successes with everyone. Enjoying Jazz Fest is very simple. It comes down to what you wear, what you drink, what you bring, and who you go with.

What to wear to Jazz Fest:

Wearing the correct clothing is by far one of the most important details for a successful Jazz Fest experience. Most of the time, fingers crossed, you’ll have a beautiful, sunny day. Making sure you are not adding to the heat by wearing something too heavy or uncomfortable will make things that much more enjoyable. And preparing for the weather in case it isn’t perfect is another absolute must. Here’s a list of what’s most important:

  1. SUNBLOCK – Even if the sky is a little cloudy, trust me, the sun is still shining on you. You will need sunblock!
  2. Proper clothing – Again, dress comfortably. Wear something lightweight and casual. Shorts are usually the best, but as a hater of shorts, a sundress works just fine! Definitely wear a comfortable, cool top (i.e. a tank top, or a strapless shirt if you are worried about tan lines.) Guys, t-shirts and shorts are perfect. Do not try to get fancy. It’s hot out there.
  3. Shoes – Flip-flops are great and tennis shoes will work as well. Some people will tell you that wearing comfy socks and tennis shoes are best because they are better to walk in. That seems so hot to me. I’d rather risk the walk and wear flip-flops. No matter what, please do not be the girl wearing stilettos to Jazz Fest. If I’m not wearing heels, it’s not a heel-worthy event! The majority of the walking paths are dirt and grass, and heels are not necessary—nor are they cute out there. No one will be impressed! And do not go barefoot. You are at the racetrack—where horses race. Consider what you are walking in – yuck!
  4. Essentials – Sunglasses, hats—anything to help block the sun.
  5. Rain plan – In the event that it is raining OR has rained causing the “Jazz Fest mud pit” rain boots are 100% necessary. If you choose to wear something like flip-flops, they will more than likely be lost in the mud and you will spend the rest of the day bare foot.

What to drink at Jazz Fest:

This is very simple. Stay hydrated! Beer booths are all over the fairgrounds. So if you are a beer drinker, you’re in luck. You may bring in your own sealed bottle of water, but no other outside drinks are allowed. Aside from beer, booths are scattered throughout the fair grounds selling daiquiris, margaritas, wine, water, lemonade, tea, and soft drinks.

What to bring to Jazz Fest:

There are many restricted items on the list for Jazz Fest. Here’s what you can bring in:

  1. A small bag or backpack – The size is 17x12x10. If you bring in a bag, consider bringing the following:
    1. A koozie
    2. Antibacterial hand soap
    3. A roll of toilet paper
    4. SUNBLOCK
  2. A small ice chest – This must be a soft ice chest, and it cannot be bigger than a 12 pack size cooler. Inside you can only have sealed water and ice. No other drinks are allowed from the outside.
  3. A chair – You can only bring in a single, standard collapsible chair.
  4. Blankets or ground tarps – If you are securing a spot for yourself or a group, you will want to bring in a blanket or ground tarp. The size cannot be larger than 6×8. I would also recommend picking a color or pattern that stands out. Finding your spot once you leave it is sometimes difficult!

Who to take to Jazz Fest:

Aside from wearing the proper clothing, choosing the right people to spend the day with is the most important thing. Most people would not think this is a big deal, but I feel like this can either make your day or break your day. Having a large group is always the most fun. But you have to make sure that you do not accidently allow a “Debbie Downer” into the krewe.

You do not want to be with the friend that hates crowds, hates the heat, constantly complains, doesn’t want to sit in grass, can’t use a port-o-let, or generally can not sit still and just enjoy the music, the day, and the food. Based on these things, I would have never invited myself to Jazz Fest! You also do not want to be with a category five clinger.

You do want to be with people that can be on their own while you are grabbing a beer or food. Bring people who are fun, relaxed, down for whatever, and have a similar plan for the day that you do—or people who do not have a plan at all. That’s even better.

No matter who you go with, what you wear, what you bring or drink, have fun! That is most important. And just pay attention to these last tips, and you’ll be fine:

  1. The only opportunity to potty is a port o let, so please be aware of that.
  2. Feel free to stake out a spot and leave your blankets and chairs to go check out some other stages. For the most part, people are respectful of other peoples’ set ups.
  3. Take a nap, get up and dance, eat a little of everything – feel free to feel free for the day. Don’t worry about the time or anything else!
  4. Cell phones do not typically work very well once you get out to the fair grounds. So make a plan with your friends before you get out there, just in case you have to meet up, and your phone isn’t working.
  5. Come out with a good attitude. No fighting and no complaining. Make friends with the groups around you. Everyone is there to have fun and enjoy the music. So enjoy it!