In TripAdvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice Awards, travelers from across the globe have named New Orleans the best destination in the world for nightlife in 2010. Not that we’re surprised or anything:-)
We did all al fresco dining yesterday, taking full advantage of the amazing weather. Brunch was at an old neighborhood favorite, Bywater BBQ, which despite the name has lots of other stuff including poached eggs and crab over panéed eggplant. The confederate jasmine that crawls up the old brick wall of their patio was absolutely spectacular in bloom. And as the sun set that evening we grabbed an outdoor table at Nonna Mia, not far from us, overlooking beautiful Esplanade Avenue. Great weather, great lobster ravioli.
New Orleans was founded on this day in 1718, by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Last weekend we made our own great discovery-Muffaletta Bread Pudding at Desperados, a new neighborhood restaurant. It’s a savory bread pudding with all the stuff you find in a muffaletta and a killer sauce. Great pizzas and sandwiches too. I had an oyster and artichoke poboy with basil mayonnaise. Awesome. And it’s open way late.
HGTV’s Bang for your Buck series just profiled three kitchen renovations in New Orleans, and as it happens two of the three where the kitchens of friends and neighbors: Kevin and Matt live just a few blocks away in the Marigny, and Doug and Mike in in the neighboring Bywater. Find out when the episode airs next here.
Scott Ellis, our buddy and frequent guest at the Sweet Olive, has just had his book Madam Vieux Carre published by University of Mississippi Press and was in town last weekend for his first book signing.
Here’s a nice piece in the New York Times about our downriver neighbors in the adjoining Bywater neighborhood.
So here’s an event happening just down the street this weekend that you won’t find in just any neighborhood!
Righteous Fur Fashion Show: A Nutria-palooza!
Friday, January 8, 2010 at Marigny Theatre/Allways Lounge
Fashionistas put their best fur forward in a nutria design challenge that celebrates the swamp rat in film, poetry, dance & song
What happens when you give two nutria pelts to 15 of New Orleans’ most creative designers? Find out on Friday, January 8, when models take the stage at the Marigny Theatre for the Righteous Fur Design Challenge Fashion Show, where they’ll be sporting styles made from the byproducts of the state’s Coastwide Nutria Control Program.
“There’s all this wonderful fur going to waste,” says Cree McCree, who launched the Righteous Fur project with a mini-grant from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. The goals? To help control a destructive invasive species; to raise public awareness about the need to restore our vanishing coast; and to provide a stylish “guilt-free” alternative to traditional fur products.
Oliver Manhattan designed the original Righteous Fur clothing line, which debuted last September at the Fete d’Ecologie in Thibodaux and will be showcased at the Marigny Theatre show. The January 8 event takes the concept one step further by challenging a cohort of designers to mix and match nutria with other materials to create their own haute couture styles. Audience members will vote for the top designs, which will travel to New York this spring for a guerrilla-style runway show in the country’s fashion capital.
Here in New Orleans, the Mystic Herd of Nutria, a legendary carnival krewe, will resurrect in all their glory for a Nutria-palooza that celebrates the swamp rat as cultural icon as well as fashion statement.
“Nutria may be an invasive species, but they’ve become an integral part of Louisiana culture,” says McCree. “When I sell my Righteous Fur nutria-teeth jewelry at local markets, all kinds of people come up and start telling me stories about nutria from their childhoods. So it only seems fitting to give these swamp rats some love.”
Highlights include screenings of Miss Pussycat’s “North Pole Nutrias”; Ted Gesing’s “Nutria,” which tracks the quixotic movement to make nutria a gourmet meat; and the infamous episode of Comedy Central’s “Insomniac,” in which Dave Attell goes nutria-hunting with Sheriff Harry Lee. The Jurassic Parish Folk Ensemble goes on the hunt with “$5 a Tail” while poets Brett Evans and Joel Daly offer odes to the swamp rat in verse.
The evening culminates when renowned cellist Helen Gillet takes the stage, wearing a nutria fur bikini. Gillet will be joined by the Mystic Herd of Nutria drum corps to play for the parade of models putting their best fur forward to win votes for their designers: Avant Garbe, Bayou Salvage, Calamity, Defend New Orleans, Julie Ebel, Dana Embree, Jennifer Floyd, Carolina Gallop, Darlene Hargreaves, Howlpop, Gail Kiefer, Oliver Manhattan, New Orleans Magpie, Cree McCree, Valerie Massimi and Tatyana Meshcheryakova Jose Luis Rodriguez.
True to the Righteous Fur motto – “Save Our Wetlands - Wear More Nutria” – the evening will also sound the alarm about our vanishing coast. Volunteers will be on hand to get people involved in the fight to save the wetlands, while a portion of proceeds goes to the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation, which is working to restore the coast.
Righteous Fur/Mystic Herd of Nutria Ball immediately follows the show in the Allways Lounge, with Swamp Pop DJ Minor Strachan.
Righteous Fur Fashion Show: A Nutria-palooza!
Friday, January 8, 2010
Marigny Theatre & Allways Lounge * 2240 St. Claude Ave.
Doors open at 8 pm. Showtime 8:30 pm
Righteous Fur/Mystic Herd of Nutria Ball follows in the Allways Lounge
Tickets $10 at the door; $15 for reserved tables and VIP seating
So today is usually the day I start to think that we might eventually see cool weather again. But this year we’ve had a remarkably mild summer. Dave and I sat outside last week at one of our favorite neighborhood cafes and had delightful alfresco meal on a cool evening. A rare treat for August. This week the highs are projected to stay in the 80s. And for New Orleans, that means Fall is here!
Some of you know that my day job is as Managing Editor for Country Roads Magazine. Our weekly eNewsletter had a TERRIFIC piece on the COOLinary Festival going on now in New Orleans: www.countryroadsmagazine.com/milepost/milepost_08_12_09/milepost_cuisine.php