Saturday, March 5, 2011

There's no place like home.

It's Mardi Gras time in Louisiana.  People who don't live in Louisiana don't really understand the magnitude of this holiday.  Schools shut down.  The STATE shuts down for this holiday!  As a kid, I hated going to the parades.  You have to know my mom to understand this.  I'll do my best to explain.  My mom IS New Orleans.  No shame and loves to have fun.  Now put yourself in my shoes, 9 years old, watching my mom scream "THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER" at the top of her lungs, and jumping like her life depended on these plastic beads.  A masked Krewe member throws beads that no one catches, and lands in the road.  Not caring for the safety of herself or others, my determined mother dives to get the beads.  Haha, I laugh now, but I wanted to DIE when I was little.  It took me until my adult years to appreciate Mardi Gras.  It's more than a drunken party.  It's a culture filled celebration, with jazz, dancing, and oh-so many beads.  If you haven't experienced it in person, put it on your Bucket List.

So, in addition to Mardi Gras, I want to share with you what makes New Orleans home, and why I love it so much.
  • Jazz.  So much, I named my dog "Jazz".  I love that you can walk the streets of the French Quarter and enjoy these amazing street bands.  They love what they do, and you can tell.  It's so passionate.  Makes me want to dance.
  • Beignets.  There is nothing sweeter on earth than hot, fresh, sweet, fried dough with a mile high mountain of powdered sugar on top.  Half the fun is eating at Cafe Du Monde, and blowing the powdered sugar when exhaling while taking a bite.  It's pretty much priceless.
  • Charbroiled Oysters.  Is it sad that I'm doing food again?  Well, it deserves it's own category.  And if you want the best, go to Drago's in Fat City.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.. all day.  Dip the bread in the greasy sauce.  You'll thank me.
  • The Saints.  I can't tell you what a simple game of football can do for a whole city.  It's silly to say that a winning season can make grown men cry.  But it did just that and so much more.  We finally won our first superbowl, and I promise, New Orleans will never be the same.
  • Ugly, brown, dirty water.  This may sound funny, coming from someone who now lives in a place called Clearwater, Florida.  I never noticed that I missed the brown water until I went back to visit.  Maybe blame it on homesickness, but I think it's just what I'm used to.  Brown water is where my heart is.
  • Magazine St.  The ultimate place to shop if you like boutiques and funky stores.  I could die of jealousy over my sister who lives just off of Magazine.
If you haven't had the pleasure of going to New Orleans, GO!  And let me know so I can give you a list of my favorite restaurants and places to go.  But no matter where you live, enjoy a little Mardi Gras and celebrate with some Jazz and King Cake.


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