Category Archives: NOLA

January Photo A Day 2013: Surprise

Day 12. Surprise: I love when I stumble across coins when I’m walking. It’s a lovely surprise. That would be a lucky photo for me. Can you think of a way to capture surprise?

Surprise!!!  There’s a baby in my cake!!!

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In the southern United States, the tradition was brought to the area by colonists from France and Spain and is associated with Carnival (also known as Mardi Gras). Celebrated across the Gulf Coast region from the Florida Panhandle to East Texas, it originated in French Louisiana and King cake parties in New Orleans are documented back to the eighteenth century.

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The king cake of the New Orleans tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple and the most traditional, is a ring of twisted bread similar to that used in brioche topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold (the traditional Mardi Gras colors) with food coloring. In 1972, a small bakery in Picayune, Mississippi, Paul’s Pastry, started adding fillings

DSC00396 Also, some bakers have now taken the liberty to offer king cakes for other holidays that immediately surround Mardi Gras season, such as green and red-icing king cakes for Christmas, red and pink-icing cakes for Valentine’s Day, and green and white-icing cakes for St. Patrick’s Day. Others have gone a step further and produce specialty king cakes from the beginning of football season for Louisiana State University and New Orleans Saints tailgate parties, then for Halloween, then Thanksgiving – and do not cease until after Mardi Gras season with an Easter holiday king cake.  It has become customary in the Southern culture that whoever finds the trinket must provide the next king cake or host the next Mardi Gras party.

Surprise...a history lesson wrapped in a pastry!  Some information gathered from Wikepedia and of course personal first hand knowledge.

What do the prompts mean?

There are no rules when playing along with photo a day, you can be creative as you like! Interpret the prompt as you please. For those that need a little help, some more suggested details about each prompt are below.

13. Circle: Look as you go about today for things shaped in circles. Is it the tyres on a bus? A big sign? Or something else?
14. Something yellow: Find something yellow in your travels today and take a photo.

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Blogging Challenges, Holiday's, NOLA, Photo a Day Challenge

A-Z Archive: N! Challenge…NOLA, New Orleans!

This week’s topic for our “A-Z Archive” photo challenge: the “N” archive: introduce one photo of your archive with a “N” Keyword. – I’m sure you’ll find a picture: tag with “A-Z Archive” and put a link on your page to FrizzText, so we’ll get a trackback-list including your post!

This picture was taken on a weekend trip to NOLA in August of 2011.  We were standing on Royal Street looking East towards the Business District located on Canal Street.  It is a great contrast of the 1800’s Spanish influenced architecture and modern New Orleans

Some of my favorite things about NOLA are the balconies,

the alleyways

and the courtyards…not to mention all of the great live music and delicious food!

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Filed under A-Z Archive Challenge, Blogging Challenges, NOLA, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots, Weekly Photo Challenge

Music Moves Me…Louisiana Christmas Day

Music Moves Me…Louisiana Christmas Day Video is as close as this nolagirlatheart will get to being home for Christmas.  This song is sung by Aaron Neville a native of New Orleans, Louisiana.  I thought the pictures chosen by LaLeroux captured the essence of a New Orleans Christmas; the St.Charles Streetcar, The Balconies, The Horse Drawn Carriage, The River Road Bonfires, The Alligator Santa Clause and Mr. Bingle the Maison Blanche department store icon and the St. Louis Cathedral.   It all reminds me of my beloved NOLA.

Joyeux Noel de Cajun!!!

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Filed under Christmas Traditions, NOLA, postaweek2011

Louisiana Christmas Tradition…Lighting of the Bonfires

I have so many wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood in Louisiana…however, this particular memory is not specific to me or my family alone.  This memory is shared with thousands of South Louisiana Families.  It is the lighting of the Christmas Eve Levee Bonfires

Once few in number, the local bonfires were originally a neighborhood or family oriented activity. Now they line the levee for miles and attract thousands of visitors.  The event has had local and national television coverage and has been featured in metropolitan newspapers and magazinesThrough the years, there has been an intermingling of facts and fantasies concerning the origin of the bonfire tradition.

One of the more recent and increasingly popular explanations is that the bonfires were a “Cajun tradition”, first used to light the way for “Papa Noel”, the Cajun version of Santa Claus. This charming version, although improbable, has been depicted annually in front of a Paulina, LA business establishment where a levee scene shows “Papa Noel” with his pirogue drawn by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, “Te-Boy”, Celeste, Suzette, etc.

The building of the each bonfire takes dozens of individuals and weeks to assemble.  There is an official announcement made around 7pm on Christmas Eve giving the go ahead to light the bonfires which happens simultaneously.  The bonfires light up the Mississippi River and burn for hours and some will burn into the wee hours of Christmas morning.  Friends and family gather together to wait and watch for Papa Noel to make his way along the river making his deliveries to all of the good little children. 

I hope this YouTube video will give you a glimpse into the Louisiana Christmas Tradition…Lighting of the Bonfires!  Joyeux Noel!!!

Information gathered from St James Parish home page.

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Filed under Christmas Traditions, family, NOLA, postaweek2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Here is this weeks WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Here is a glimpse down a path that has existed for 300 years…well certainly not the bricks but the path between the oaks.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

 
 
 Oak Alley
 
The double row of live oaks were planted in the early 18th century.  The canopied path is approximately 800 feet long.  The trees are believed to be 300 years old.  
 
  They were planted long before the current home was built.  But now they grace the front lawn of Oak Alley Plantation.
I have been giving this path a bit of thought and my mind has wandered to the days, years and even centuries past. 
 
 I can imagine at one time this breathtaking entrance was filled with the comings and goings of  horse-drawn carriages.  Handsomely dressed Gentlemen and elegantly dressed Ladies arriving for lawn parties or evening soirees.
 
I can imagine there have been more than a handful of Southern Belles courted by southern gentlemen as they sat and enjoyed a mint julep on the veranda. 
 
I can also imagine the difficult lives of the men and women who worked this plantation.  There were fewer who worked it out of desire than those who were enslaved to it. 
 
I can imagine the armies camped out under the trees and the home housing the officers of the North or the South. 
 
I can imagine the tears that have been shed over the years for lost love and loved ones lost.
 
Oak Alley has stood the test of time and she is a Grande Dame still holding court on the banks of the Mississippi River
 
Until next time! … À la prochaine!  

 
 
 

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Filed under Blogging Challenges, NOLA, postaweek2011, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots, Weekly Photo Challenge

Wordless Wednesday…NOLA Balcony Scene 2

This balcony sits over Santa’s Quarters in the heart of the French Quarter .

Wonderful Wordless Wednesday Wonders:

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Filed under NOLA, postaweek2011, Weekly Photo Challenge

NOLA…

This is a view looking up Royal Street towards the Greater New Orleans Business District.  The contrast of old and new…modern skyscrapers are the back drop to the texture of the 18th century spanish influenced french quarter architecture. 

 New Orleans is the proverbial melting pot of culture.  Originally settled by the French in 1718, the Spanish took control of the city in 1768. In 1800 Spain and France signed a secret treaty and Louisiana was given back to France. In 1803 Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.

NOLA survived two major fires with in 6 years of one another.  The first fire was on Good Friday in 1788 and destroyed 856 of the 1100 existing buildings.  The second fire was on December 8 of 1794 and destroyed an additional 212 buildings.  Therefore almost all of the original french architecture was destroyed with the exception of a handful of buildings, one of which is Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (blog to follow).  After the fires, the city was re-built in the Spanish style with bricks, firewalls, iron balconies and courtyards.  This is the NOLA we all know and love today!

One of the best websites I have come across is http://www.inetours.com/New_Orleans/French_Quarter_History.html.  Here is an excerpt from their site;

“The absolute best way to experience the New Orleans French Quarter is by taking a walking tour. 

Visitors might want to keep in mind that, the French Quarter is a neighborhood with private homes and other residences and the grocery stores, restaurants, banks, police station and other services that support communities.

This community just happens to be one of the most visually interesting in America and of significant historic importance.  Many of the over 35,000 buildings in New Orleans listed on the National Register of Historic Places are in the French Quarter.”

Just a bit of advice from a nola girl at heart is when in NOLA avoid the obvious…avoid the bus tour and take the horse-drawn carriage ride its much more personal.   Stop in one of the many locally owned antique stores or art galleries and ask the owner where she prefers to have lunch.  Take a chance on a small cafe that uses traditional ingredients with a new interesting spin.  Take the time to talk to the Locals and you will get a feel for the real NOLA and maybe even make a friend or two.  New Orleanians are gregarious by nature and are never in too big a hurry to stop and speak to somone passin’ by.

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Filed under NOLA, postaweek2011

Wordless Wednesday… A NOLA Balcony Scene

Located at the corner of Rue Royal and Rue St. Philip

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Keeping it real….good!!!

For the past 75+ years a little restaurant located about 40 miles NW of New Orleans has been serving Creole, Cajun and Southern food to locals and travelers alike.  Middendorf’s is as much a part of Louisiana family tradition as is Red Beans and Rice for lunch on Monday, tailgating on Saturday before the LSU Football game, beignets and cafe au lait on Sundays at the Morning Call or even the Christmas Eve bonfires. Mention Middendorf’s and someone will share their personal family story about the place. 

The Restaurant originally opened in 1934 during the great depression.  It was passed down through two generations of family.   After Hurricane Katrina the restaurant was sold to Chef Horst Pfeifer who lost his 5 star New Orleans restaurant to the winds of the hurricane and the subsequent looting.  He and his wife have preserved the traditional menu.  The food is as good today as it has ever been! 

Middendorf’s Restaurant is best known for it’s “thin fried catfish”.  Southern Living magazine has declared, “Possibly the best fried fish in the world”.   I would have to agree!!  The catfish is clean and fresh not muddy.  The extra fine cornmeal breading is light and crispy.  The taste is slightly sweet with the perfect blend of spices.  The flavor is out of this world…Ca c’est bon!

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Filed under family, Life..such as it is, NOLA, postaweek2011

A Rose-Colored Memory…

Have you ever taken a trip down memory lane?  I don’t know about you but my trips are far more romantic in nature than the reality ever was.  Everything is remembered through rose-colored glasses.  The house was bigger, the trees were taller, the colors were brighter and of course the people were younger.   However, when I have had the opportunity to actually stop by the place remembered, it turns out that memories are usually a far cry from reality.

My Memory!

My Dad grew up on the bayou with his Parents and three brothers and five sisters.  He and my Mom met in highschool, married and moved to the city.  I grew up a city girl, but I spent plenty of time on the bayou. 

One of my Uncles and his family lived on the bayou when I was growing up.  It was a wide meandering slow-moving bayou surrounded by swampy marshland, two lakes and a river.   I spent plenty of  time with my cousins along the banks of that bayou;  fishing, crabbing and playing. 

The old house was sandwiched between the bayou and the railroad tracks.   The house had a screened in porch and was tall enough for someone to walk under.  During the summer months we slept with the windows open and I would lay awake listening to the lonesome sound of the train whistle and the  splash of the fish on the water. 

At night the swamp would come alive with the sounds of nocturnal critters moving around and the glowing red eyes of the gators as they searched for their evening meal.  And sometimes I would scare myself thinking about what else might be lurking out there in the swamp.

Reality!

Recently, I was in NOLA for an extended weekend.  My husband and I decided to take a little detour from our route just to see what we might see.  I could hardly believe that it had been 20 years since my last visit to this place where I spent a wonderful part of my childhood.

My cousins still own the house but now it is referred to as “The Camp”.  The house is much smaller than I remember.   The only person that might be able to walk under it would be a two-year old and the screened porch has been enclosed. 

The bayou seems much more narrow and not nearly as mysterious as I remember it.  There are twice as many homes or camps on the bayou these days.  I noticed that the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has taken up residence in the area.  And I couldn’t help but also notice that there were several homes and camps that were destroyed by the most recent hurricanes.   But life on the bayou continues today much as it did all those years ago when I was a little girl living, laughing and loving my time spent on the bayou.

It was quite, not too much happening on this particularly hot August afternoon.  The place was incredibly peaceful not a soul in sight.  There wasn’t a breeze to be had and the water on the bayou was as smooth as glass. And although it doesn’t look very much like I remember it…it sure was a sight to see!

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Filed under family, Life..such as it is, NOLA, postaweek2011