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Summer Fun in New Orleans – May and June 2014 Festivals

logo for crawfish festival- red crawfish playing a guitar on a pot of water over a flame. New Orleans is heating up in May and June! Despite the warm weather, the city is firmly entrenched in the festival season. We’ve got a list of some of the best festivals available for visitors and denizens of the City That Care Forgot:

The final weekend of Jazzfest is the first weekend in May (May 1-4). As of this writing, we have very limited availability at the inn, please call us if you’d like to check on rooms!

On May 10th, the Crawfish Mambo:Cookoff & Music Festival will take place at the UNO Lakefront Campus – enjoy loads of all-you-can-eat crawfish and live local New Orleans music while you stroll the grounds of the lovely campus. The entrance fee is $25 at the gate and proceeds benefit the students of UNC via the Alumni Association.

The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo – this wonderful free festival on May 16 – 18 features music, an Art Market and food, of course, and is found along the banks of Bayou Saint John. Our guests can walk or take the streetcar to The Boogaloo from 1896 O’Malley House!

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is a festival unique to our City. Taking place over 4 days (May 21 – 24) and venues throughout NOLA, you can try wine dinners, or how about a Pastry competition that features champagne and burlesque? Make sure to get your tickets early!

Text: New Orleans Oyster Festival with an pyster opening into a fleur du lis framed in green and purpleThe final weekend in May gives two opportunities for food and fun. The New Orleans Oyster Fest is May 31 – June 1 at Woldenburg Park. Over 24 restaurants will be showcased, along with an oyster eating and shucking contests and much more. Taste at the Lake will be held May 31st in the evening at the West Lakeshore Center. This is an adult event that has a wonderful benefit: your ticket will provide you with unlimited food, wine, and spirits from every vendor! Tickets range from $45 for Attendee Level to $100 for Patron level.

A lovely event help at the French Market on June 7th and 8th is the Creole Tomato Festival. You can sample all kinds of tomato-based foods and drinks as well as fresh Creole tomatoes. You’ll have the opportunity to listen to bands on two different stages and cool off under misting fans, and of course, Text: Louisiana Cajun Zydeco Festivala tomato-eating contest!

The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival will take place June 14-15, 2014, at Louis Armstrong Park. The fest is an excellent way to sample Cajun music at its finest, including the famous BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. You can also feast on the more extensive food offerings. They are hinting that Shrimp may be a major component this year.

The third weekend in June brings Festigals, an empowering weekend event for women starting on June 19 through the 22, with several events in different venues throughout the city. June 20-22 is Pride Weekend in New Orleans, featuring a kickoff party, All Faiths Worship Service followed by Family Day at Duncan Plaza, with bands and food vendors, with the culmination of the weekend being the big parade starting at Washington Square. There are other events to be announced.

Don’t hesitate to visit us in the summer. The B&B is ready to give you a home base from which to venture forth to the many events in the city, then welcome you to comfy beds and a delicious breakfast with the hospitality you deserve!

Larry Watts
Your Friendly Innkeeper

 

New Orleans JazzFest : April 25-27 & May 1-4, 2014

20147 JazzFest Poster The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a.k.a. JazzFest is one of the premiere music festivals in the United States. We in New Orleans are proud to be the home of Jazzfest, celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana which attracts some of the best Louisiana musicians in the genre, and also a number of the super stars of many other kinds of music.

This year, some of the NOLA Jazz artists included are Aaron Neville, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Irvin Mayfield, Little Freddie King,   rockin-dopsieKermit Ruffins, James Rivers, Dukes of Dixieland, and Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.

The internationally known acts are amazing this year. Among them are Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Cristina Aguilera, Santana, Phish, John Fogarty and Vampire Weekend. This is music for all ages and inclinations! There are twelve different stages within the fairgrounds.

Music is the main thing, but not the vampire-weekendonly thing- you will be able to see the famous Mardi Gras Indians, with their fabulous costumes and headdresses, as well as crafts and other items available at three different areas; Congo Square African Marketplace, Contemporary Crafts, and Louisiana Marketplace.

meat-pieAnd of course, the food. No festival in NOLA would be complete without it. This year there are NINE different places to get sustenance: Food Area I, Food Area II, Congo Square, Cultural Exchange 2013, Heritage Square, Around the Grounds, Folk Area,     Grandstand, and even Kids’ Food. You can get everything from barbecue to Cha Gio (Vietnamese Egg Roll) and Sno Balls, and much, much more. Tempting sweet treats compete for your attention with African specialties, Mexican street food and Japanese grill items.

Make sure to get your lodging reservations booked early. This festival draws over 650,000 people from all over the world. 1896 O’Malley House has the distinction of being very close to the festival. The event is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course, which is less than three miles from the inn. You can leave your car here and take the Canal Streetcar line to the festival. Buy your Jazzy Passes in advance for only $3 and ride all day. Return after a day and night of incredible music and food and enjoy our free beer and wine, available 24 hours a day, rest in the courtyard, and sleep in your comfortable bed before partaking of your breakfast, which is included in your room rate. We’d love to be your host for Jazzfest!

Larry Watts

 

 

March 4, 2014: Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans

We’ve made it to the Big Day, which deserves a blog post all its own!

zuluFour parades take place Uptown, starting at S. Claiborne and Jackson Avenue at 8am with the Krewe of Zulu parade. Krewe of Zulu will be fresh from their 21st annual Lundi Gras Festival, and the parade promises to be fabulous with its many characters such as Zulu Big Shot and Witch Doctor. The Zulu’s “golden nugget”, or coconut, throw is a very highly sought-after and collectible item.

At noon, the most famous and traditional Krewe, Rex, starts at Napoleon Avenue and S. Claiborne Ave. Rex has been around since 1872 and has rolled more parades than any other Mardi Gras Krewe. Their king, called Rex, has as his colors the purple, green and gold, the official colors of Mardi Gras. The floats roll on wooden wagons with wood-spoked wheels, and among the throws are the coveted Dubloons. This year’s theme is “Gods of All Ages”.

Following Rex are Krewe of Elks Orleanians, the oldest and largest of all the truck float krewe, with 4600 riders and over 50 uniquely designed truck floats, and then Krewe of Crescent City, a truck parade which signals “the beginning of the End” of grelacarnival season.

At 10:00 am on the Westbank, the Krewe of Grela (first three letters of Gretna, and the abbreviation for Louisiana, LA) begins at the intersection of Stumpf Blvd. and Whitney Avenue. This Krewe had its first parade back in 1947, and has continued on since then with the only parade on the Westbank on Mardi Gras.

Heading over to Metairie? You are in luck! Starting at 10 am, three parades roll, starting argfuswith Krewe of Argus, following the Veterans Memorial Blvd, with 600 riders, 30 floats and marching bands, including the favorite, “George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog,” which throws stuffed Blue Dogs. The Grand Marshall for 2014 is Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints.

After Argus comes Krewe of Jefferson, with 75 truck floats and over 3000 riders, known for its good throws and very family friendly. After Jefferson comes the sister-krewe to the Krewe of Elks Orleanians, The Krewe of Elks-Jeffersonians. With 4,000 male and female riders and featuring more than 90 trucks, it is the oldest and largest of the all the truck krewes.

Finally, Krewe of Lyra rolls in Covington at 10am. The co-ed krewe, whose mission is “Fun, Friendship and Festivity,” will ride “Fire and Reign.”

And for last minute news, it’s just been announced that New Orleans Saint Roman Harper will join Deuce McAllister and Will Smith as celebrity knights on the Knights of Nemesis parade, February 22. Also on February 22, at 5pm, Krewe of ‘tit Rex (‘tit is short for petite, the French for small), which features tiny, toy-sized floats pulled by krewe members in formal dress handing out miniature throws. The theme is “Wee the People.”

Larry Watts
1896 O’Malley House

 

List of Parades for 2014 Mardi Gras: February 26 – March 3

The parades are growing more numerous the closer we get to the real Fat Tuesday! New Orleans and the surrounding cities are proud to be the real McCoy when it comes to Mardi Gras. Other places do it, but we are the original and most well-known, and we revel in that fact!

Krewe of Druis parade, lady dressed in red fur, man in medieval dressFebruary 26
Starting off Uptown, the Krewe of Druids and their mysterious leader, the Archdruid, begin at 6:30, followed immediately by the all-female Mystic Krewe of Nyx, one of the newer krewes, formed in 2012.

February 27
We stay uptown for the Knights of Babylon parade, at 5:45pm, with it’s mule-drawn king and flambeaux lit floats, telling a story as the traverse the city, followed by the Knights of Chaos, when it’s theme will finally be revealed at 6:30. Also uptown is the Krewe of Muses, another all-female krewe with over 650 riders at 6:30 with their student-designed throw cup.


February 28
Again in Uptown, we have three parades in a row, starting with Krewe of Hermes at 6pm, a krewe started in 1937, whose captain leads the parade in full regalia upon a white horse. Then at 6:30 is the Krewe d’Etat, rolling with 415 male riders, revealing it’s secret theme and throwing blinking beads. Finally at 7pm, Krewe of Morpheus comes through with its 500 male and female riders and “old-time” traditional parade experience.

March 1large mardi gras float with clown face and revelers
At 10:45AM in the Westbank is the parade of the Krewe of Nomtoc, (New Orleans Most Talked Of Club), with its famous throws and 400 all African American male and female riders. 11AM in Uptown is the historic Krewe of Iris, formed in 1917, all female, and following strict traditions such as full masks and white gloves. At Noon, Krewe of Tucks, a humorous group with an “Animal House” flair. Mid-City at 4:15pm, super-krewe Endymion rolls with 2,700 masked riders, throwing millions of beads and Endymion 2014 collectible throws, and Grand Marshall Carrie Underwood. At 6:30PM in Metairie, Krewe of Isis brings the Egypt to Louisiana with 250 riders and 21 floats.

Mardi Gras parade float with enormous green alligatorMarch 2
Sunday is a big day for Uptown with 4 parades, starting at 11am with Krewe of Okeanos with 250 riders of both sexes, then at 11:45, the Krewe of Mid-City, formed in 1933 and considered “The best day parade in Mardi Gras”. At Noon, the Krewe of Thoth rolls with its wonderful throws, and making sure to parade past health care facilities for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to see a parade. Later, at 5:15 pm, Krewe of Bacchus rolls with it’s grand marshall, House himself, Hugh Laurie. If you find yourself in Metairie at 5:30PM, you can see Krewe of Napoleon and its French theme, with the Emperor and Jospehine and the Arc De Triumph pulled by white horses.

March 3
Krewe of Proteus rolls Uptown at 5:15pm with its giant seashell protecting the mysterious king and historical parade chassis from 1882. 6pm will find Krewe of Orpheus, another super-krewe with grand marshall Fats Domino and king Quentin Tarantino. Moving on to Metarie at 6:15PM with Krewe of Hera, one of only two female Krewes in the parish, followed by Krewe of Zeus, a Greek themed parade with a mule-drawn king’s float and calliope.

The next post in our series will be all about the Big Day itself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans Parade List for Mardi Gras 2014 – February 15th – February 23rd

The carnival season officially started on January 6th with the Joan d’Arc parade, but the Mardi Gras parade float- laughing jester head with green, yellow and purple costumeaction really heats up in New Orleans on February 15th. Here is a list of the parades for 2014:

February 15th:
Krewe du Vieux rolls its naughty self through the French Quarter starting at 6pm, followed by Krewe Delusion, a satirical parade with a secret theme.

February 16:
Krewe of Perseus will roll through Slidell at 1pm with it’s 2014 theme, “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere!”

February 21st:
Starts at 3pm in the French Quarter with Krewe of Cork, celebrating wine, food and fun. At 6pm, head uptown for the Krewe of Oshun parade, which is family-friendly, followed by the Krewe of Cleopatra, the first all-female organization on the Uptown.

February 22nd: Krewe of Adonis logo, handsome blonde man with big muscles
The West Bank will come alive at 11:45am with the Mystic Knights of Adonis, 200 male and female riders, 16 floats and family-oriented. Move to Chalmette  by 1:00pm to catch the Knights of Nemesis, a businessman’s group, or go Uptown for a series of parades all in a row, starting with the Krewe of Pontchartrain, then the Krewe Delusion, followed by  the Krewe of Freret. Stay uptown til 6pm, when here come the Knights of Sparta, followed by Krewe of Pygmalion. Also at 6pm is the Krewe of Caesar in Metairie and the Krewe of Olympia in Covington. At 6:30 in Slidell, see the Mystic Krewe of Titans, an all-male krewe whose throws include cups with the Mystic Krewe of Titans logo, medallion beads, footballs, t-shirts, lighted tambourines, foam batons and necklaces. Finally, The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus rolls through Marigney at 8pm, with its elaborate hand-made throws and sci-fi theme.

Krewe of Barkus official poster- Dogzilla licking the city of New OrleansFebruary 23rd (Family Sunday):
Head Uptown at noon for Krewe of Carrollton, followed by Krewe of King Arthur and Merlin, AKA “New Orleans’ Friendliest Mardi Gras Krewe” and then Krewe of Alla, whose throws are generous and of a good variety. Back in Slidell at 1pm, the Krewe of Dionysis rolls with 18 floats, including 11 double-deckers. At 2pm, choose between the dog-centered Krewe of Barkus in the French Quarter with its theme “DOGZILLA – Barkus Licks the Crescent City”, or the very unique Krewe of Tchefuncte BOAT parade in Madisonville.

We’ll continue the fun on the next post with the parades from February 26 – March 3, culminating this series with the parade list for THE BIG DAY itself! Don’t forget 1896 O’Malley House when looking for Mardi Gras lodging!

Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras King Cake, white frosting with purple, green, and gold sugarMardi Gras is a celebration with ancient roots. Some say that it’s associated with the Roman Saturnalia celebration, and was adopted by the early church fathers to entice the new converts. From there, the practices spread to Europe, where some other pieces of the Mardi Gras puzzle entered the picture, such as King Cakes. These are thought to be descendants of cakes that we handed out to the peasantry by the landed gentry upon horseback. Along with the cakes were coins and other trinkets- reminiscent of today’s parade throws.

The actual words “Mardi Gras” translate to “Fat Tuesday” and represent that last day for  excess before Lent begins. Mardi Gras or Carnival season itself starts every year on January 6th, also known as Twelfth Night or Epiphany- the 12th day of Christmas and the beginning of the days of frivolity that conclude on the eve of Ash Wednesday.

How Mardi Gras came to the new world remains a mystery, with several iterations of the story- one tale has the celebration brought to America in 1699 by Sieur d’Iberville, a French explorer who landed in what is modern Mobile, and named the area “Pointe du Mardi Gras”, as it was the eve of the holiday. Some hold that students home from studying in France dressed in costumes and paraded the streets of New Orleans in the early 1700s, which was embraced by the people of the city and became an annual ritual. Others say it simply came with the French settlers in what is now known as Louisiana.

mardi gras parade with float at night However it got here, it has never left! The celebration has evolved over the years, becoming a riotous frolic that lasts for two months or more, depending on the date of Easter each year. It’s even an official state holiday in Louisiana! Parades started really taking off in the early 1800′s. Krewes came along, with the introduction of floats (also know as “tableaux cars”- I think we should bring that back!), Krewes starting throwing trinkets from the floats, and the modern Mardi Gras parade was born. The floats have become more elaborate, as have the “throws”- and ladies, you do not have to flash your “assets” to get beads- just catch them! There are now over 70 krewes bringing the fun to the city with parades almost every day from February 15th until the Big Day.

The colorsclose up of purple, gold and green Mardi Gras beads of Mardi Gras are everywhere! They are Purple (justice), Green (faith), and Gold (power). They were adopted after the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff suggested them, based upon his family’s heraldic colors. The story goes that when LSU was picking colors for the university, the shops were full of Mardi Gras colors. LSU decided to use purple and gold, which left Tulane only the green!

We love our Mardi Gras guests and they appreciate our 24/7 free soft drinks, beer and wine as well as the delicious breakfast that soaks it all up, enabling them to party another day!

Larry Watts
Innkeeper, 1896 O’Malley House

The Louisiana Marathon – January 17th -19th, 2014 – Geaux Run!

Louisiana Marathon logo - green and brown sneaker footprint The third annual Louisiana Marathon will be held in Baton Rouge on January 19th, 2014, but you don’t have to wait until then to get into the fun of the “Running Festival”! The festivities start on Friday the 17th at the Baton Rouge River Center, where the Expo will be taking place from 1-6pm. The Expo is open to and free to the public, and is the place to pick up your registration packets for all of the races, as there will be no packet pick-up on the race day. Over 35 exhibitors will be on the Expo floor to present all the latest trends and updates in running. See the latest gear and get information about about the world of running, health & fitness. The Expo continues on Saturday from 11am-5pm.

Also on Saturday, tons of fun continue with the 5K race and the Advocate Kids Marathon, which is a 1.2 mile race. The 5K is for sprinters, joggers and walkers. Make sure to register in advance for these two races. A special treat is in store for runners who choose to participate in the 5K AND the marathon or half-marathon – the Deja Va Crawfish Platter. Deja Vu award - black seafood tray with Louisiana Marathon on blue printThese favored runners will always remember their time in Baton Rouge every time they serve seafood! Along with the races, Saturday will be a great time at AZ Young Park for the kids with the Family Fest, which will feature lots of music, inflatables, face painting, food, and much more. Also on the 18th, there will be speakers on running, as well as the highly anticipated Pastalya Dinner, a chance to carb-load before the big race!

Sunday is the big day! The marathon and half both start at 7am. Continuing through the day will be music all through the race course, and the “best marathon post-party”, the Finish Festival at AZ Young Park.

We would love to be your host for the Marathon weekend, see our website for availability! Don’t wait til it’s to late to register for any of the races. Visit the registration page here for more information today!

Rock ‘N’ Bowl: a New Orleans Favorite – 2013

Rock_n_bowl-actualsizelogo

Are you looking for some great music and a good time?  You should definitely check out New Orleans’ own Mid-City Lanes Rock ‘N’ Bowl!  This place has it all!  What began as a local bowling alley featuring once a week Zydeco music has exploded into dancing destination for locals.

Bowling is available for $24 per lane, per hour – and you can have up to 6 people on each lane.  You can rent shoes for $1 a person, unless you’re a Buddhist monk and don’t wear shoes.  That’s one of the many interesting stories about this place, six monks wanted to experience what it was like to bowl and did so at Rock ‘n’ Bowl many years ago.  There are many more interesting stories…

Johnny Blancher’s Front Porch Grill offers a variety of delicious things to eat including typical pub faire like Pizza to New Orleans favorites such as Beignets.

A variety of packages are available to book parties for all types of events, and can be customized to meet your needs.

The best part, though, is the music!  Check out their calendar to see who is playing and plan your visit based on who you want to hear and what makes you want to dance.  That’s right – you don’t have to bowl to enjoy Rock ‘N’ Bowl.  Once the music starts, everyone starts dancing!  Check out everything from Swing and Southern Rock to Zydeco.

The Rock ‘N’ Bowl is just 1.5 miles away from our inn at 3016 S. Carrollton Ave, and you could probably walk there in under 15 minutes.  When you’re visiting 1896 O’Malley House Bed and Breakfast, make sure a dinner there is on your itinerary.  It’s a cool place that you’ll never forget!

Creole PubCrawl through New Orleans – 2014

Looking for a new way to explore the delightful food and drinks available in New Orleans?  Check out the New Orleans PubCrawl!  For visitors to 1896 O’Malley House Bed & Breakfast, may we recommend the Historic Sightseeing Crawl?

This crawl takes you to three stops at local bars and restaurants, and treats you to signature cocktails.  You’ll learn the stories of New Orleans’ past and explore historic sites, giving you more knowledge and appreciation about the Crescent City.  Cost for the Historic Sightseeing Crawl is 49.95 and includes 3 classic cocktails, gratuity, and several other amenities.  You’ll stop at Ernst Cafe, Lucy’s NOLA (which we’ve told you a little bit about in a blog a couple of months ago), The Rusty Nail and Desi Vegas and historic locations in the Arts & Warehouse District.

Looking for a different type of crawl?  Foodies will love the Culinary Crawl, build relationships with the Team Building Crawl, or celebrate big with the Celebratory Crawl.  If you have  larger crowd, you can rent the Big Easy Bikes, available for 12 passengers for a variety of journeys, at $300 per hour.

There are a variety of reasons to PubCrawl, and we know that during your stay with us you’ll enjoy one of the many provided by Creole PubCrawl.  For more information check their website, or call them at (504) 812-8226.

Count down to 2014 in New Orleans Style

fireworks This is no small celebration, as the Crescent City Countdown Club has created a night to remember.

For your enjoyment – begin your evening with one of the delicious, traditional Reveillon dinners served by local restaurants.

For your entertainment – check out the Decatur Street celebration (in front of Jacson Square) with live performances up to the countdown.  Move and groove with Brassaholics from 9-9:40, Mia Borders from 10-10:40, and Bonerama from 11-11:40.

Join the excitement – an 8′ tall fleur de lis ornament that has been lit with LED lights and decorated with aluminum ribbons, will descend down a 25 foot pole.  This spectacle is followed by an amazing fireworks display over the Mississippi River, called “Symphony in the Sky.”

float with baby wear New Orleans Saints Helmet to celebrate New Years

There is just no better way to kick off a New Year!  2014 will begin just right with your stay at 1896 O’Malley House Bed & Breakfast, where you’ll find restful accommodations and a delicious breakfast in the morning.

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