New Orleans is known for many great things, but definitive seasons is definitely not one of them. Our seasons are all just a slight variation of a soupy hot and humid summer mess. In late September, when pumpkin spice lattes take over instagram, I can maintain a pretty chill almost fall vibe and patiently wait my turn to wear a long sleeve shirt without a heat stroke wish. But when it's approaching October 15th, its still 90 degrees outside AND it's getting dark at 6:30 pm, I lose all chill. I'm here to report that fake fall is in full swing in New Orleans - here are 5 tale tell signs:
1. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO WEAR ANYMORE
Are white shorts ok after labor day?? - asking for a friend. The weather is no different today than it was on August 23rd, so we're all just a little confused about how to adapt. Does wearing darker colors summon the minus 80 temps? Am I doing my part to give off fall vibes? As we get deeper into fake fall, one day it will be 75 degrees and everyone will end up like this:
2. THE WEATHER FORECAST STARTS WITH "NO, IT'S NOT GETTING COLDER YET"
We're still mid-hurricane season, so our local metorologists are all a bit on edge. You can tell that fake fall is starting to ware on them too as the weeks go by. They'll tee up their segment with things like "we'll tell you more about if fall is finally coming this week" but let me tell you now, it never is. They'll keep saying it, and it will get more and more bitter, more and more exasperated. The limit to a Nola summer does not exist.
3. GUMBO WEATHER IS STILL A FAINT MEMORY
Some things just taste better in the fall. Sure, make gumbo when its 80 degrees. I promise you, it will not taste the same. Thinking you'll fill the void by roasting some autumnal veggies? Too bad - it's still to hot to use the oven in your house. Pinterest has nothing to offer you beyond roasted gourds and stuffed acorn squash. Together, we suffer.
4. HALLOWEEN IS ALL WE HAVE LEFT TO LIVE FOR
In New Orleans, fall gives us little hope to cling on to - except for halloween. People hold on tightly and rededicate their lives to halloween decor, costumes and party plans. The level of dedication is easy to see in things like the Ghost Manor on Magazine and the Berger Home on St. Charles. In a town that already uses any excuse it can find to wear a costume and a good party, it's a natural fit.
5. WE'RE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE IMMUNE
It's real cute that Starbucks introduced an iced pumpkin spice latte this year, but fortunately, my instagram has not being swarming with them. It's like together, we have all silently agreed that it's just not right and that it just isn't time yet. We'll wait our turn until the first cold snap, and then they'll all be sorry.
6. EVERYONE IS STILL IN GULF SHORES FOR THE WEEKEND
Because why the hell not? It's still 90 degrees, less crowded and the prices dropped back on Labor Day. A trip without Mobile tunnel traffic? Be still my heart.
Here's to hoping that we start to feel the fall before we have to organize an uprising against sweet, sweet treasure Margret Orr.
Drop us a note in the comments below to share your favorite October Nola traditions (90 degrees or not).
Thanks for reading!
Star New Orleans Advocate food writer Ian McNulty said, "'People don't live in New Orleans because it is easy. They live here because they are incapable of living anywhere else in the just same way." - and ain't it the truth. Living in New Orleans is like giving your soul a little ice cream treat every day, but putting up with the struggles of living in a 300 year old city on top of a swamp does require certain accouterments. I've been asking around, and here's a few New Orleans essentials straight from the mouths of locals:
FRIENDS IN THE RIGHT PLACES
"Friends in the right places in nola is the rule number one - Maybe the only rule." was the direct quote on this recommendation and I believe it. To live a full life in New Orleans you have to know the right people. Need a place to park for Jazzfest, an in to a great house on the Endymion Route or a new job? Call on one of your friends in the city. For centuries, New Orleans has been a who you know kind of place and it's still true as ever in 2018. Get out there and meet some people.
AN ADMIRABLE TO GO CUP COLLECTION
If you don't have at least 30 Mardi Gras cups in your pantry, do you even live here? Tokens of parades and parties gone by, these things are the utimate in reusable drink traveling devices. If you lose it along the way, there's at least 80 more waiting at home.
ICE CHEST BACKPACK // FANNY PACK
I will be shouting from the mountain tops about this ice chest backpack for the rest of my years. Stick a few ice packs in here and you instantly become a traveling bar. Perfect for poboy fest, jazzfest, anyfest and your weekend get away to Gulf Shores. Don't try and live without this here, it just isn't worth it. A side mention for this one is the true festival underdog: the fanny pack. I don't believe people in other cities has as much use for a fanny pack - I just don't.
NEW ORLEANS T-SHIRTS
When I first moved here, I had no idea that a T-shirt Culture could be a thing. It's like everyone here knows that living here is one big inside joke that only the locals are in on. To celebrate it, they put the best punch lines on t-shirts and wear them like amour in fields of tourists. Growing up, my family always flew on airplanes in LSU gear just in case we ran into other tigers along the way. Now, I do the same with these, just to find my extended Nola family. Dirty Coast always has a way of getting it just right with these shirts.
Photo Credit: Dirty Coast
The best part about New Orleans is that we will use anything as an excuse to celebrate. Two years ago, a giant sink hole opened up on Canal Street and in a total reasonable response, we turned Cinco de Mayo into Sink Hole de Mayo. All of this celebration calls for glitter, glitter and more glitter. It's Sunday afternoon and you want to ride the streetcar to Pat O's - great, put on some glitter. The saints are playing - here comes glitter. Red Dress Run, St. Patricks Day, Mardi Gras? GLITTER. GLITTER. GLITTER. We're so into this that there's local companies built totally on glitter empires - like Electra Cosmetics. These sirens of glitter once hosted an entire glitter tent at a zoo charity event where they styled your glitter to your outfit. I was instantly in love.
Photo Credit: Elektra Cosmetics
A TRAFFIC CONE
In a city where off-street parking is a priceless commodity, few things are as useful as a traffic cone. Need to make sure you have a place to park when you get home on parade day? Call in the traffic cone defense. Giant pot hole open up in front of your house that could eat your entire car? No need to fear, traffic cone is here!
The entire city of New Orleans is honestly around 5 miles in size. It's an especially beautiful fact because it makes the entire thing bike-able. With a bike, gone is the need to stress about parking. It's also an incredible way to see the city. My favorite hobby is pointing out houses I love wherever we are and it's much less dangerous on bike than in my car.
RAIN BOOTS // SHRIMP BOOTS
It rains here all the time. Did it rain for the entire month of August? Maybe. It's unconfirmed and I won't believe if it's wrong when I look it up. Just know that there is a certain point in the year here where it rains every single day. Rain boots help make do in the mess - but more importantly, they make Jazz Fest possible. Even if it rained one single day during fest, the ground will be a mud pit forever. Save yourself and save your feet, wear the boots.
ACCESS TO A CRAWFISH POT AND BURNER
Look, having a place to store this in tiny shotgun house is a struggle that I get more than most. However, life in New Orleans in the spring is not complete without a crawfish boil. At least having someone to call to borrow this from is a huge boost to your Nola points. If you're ready to take the leap to have your own set, this the brand we bought and love.
Whats your essential item for life in New Orleans? Share in the comments!
New Orleans, with all of it's own charms, also has the benefit of being perfectly positioned just an hour away from one of the biggest SEC tailgating destinations in the conference. Take a road trip from New Orleans one Saturday this fall and see it for yourself. As a born and raised Baton Rouge girl turned LSU alumna, I've had my fair share of lessons learned for creating the best gameday experience at LSU. Here's the essential info for about my tips for having a successful gameday:
OUTWIT GAMEDAY PARKING
Paying for parking at an LSU game is for the unexperienced tailgater. Finding free parking is easy with these tips - If a special tailgating permit is required, you'll see a sign and usually a guard at the lot or temporary yellow signs. You can ignore any permeant permit required signage, as that isn't enforced on the weekend. This means that parking at dorm lots, the student recreation center and the giant field lots are all free game. If your tailgate is by Burbank, the business school or the stadium - consider the hayfield lot behind the baseball stadium. If your tailgate is by sorority row, the law building or the parade grounds - park by the rec. Just don't park on any historic oak tree roots, as they're endowed for millions of dollars and protected like you wouldn't believe. SEE OFFICIAL PARKING MAP HERE
Photo Credit Greg Rundell
DON'T MISS THE GOOD STUFF
Start with a list of everyone you've ever heard tell you something like "We have a tailgate at LSU, you should come by!" and figure out their exact geographic location. "We're the purple tent on the parade grounds" unfortunately is not going to cut it. Get an idea of the general map in your mind and how far you're willing to walk from place to place across the giant campus. If you don't have a tailgate to stop by, consider one of the bars around campus that have block parties in their parking lots - Walk On's is a huge hit, and Fred's is great if you're ready for a throw back to partying in your early 20s. In addition to locking down a home base, there's a few must sees for newbies around the stadium:
TIGER BAND MARCHING DOWN VICTORY HILL - 1.5 hours before kick off
The players enter the stadium an hour and a half before click off. But to celebrate, thousands of people line up on the along hill by the stadium from the Manship school to the stadium gates. The band, golden girls perform as they run down the hill. It's something you have to see at least once.
MIKE THE TIGER'S HABITAT
Right across the stadium, don't miss the multi-million dollar home of LSU's beloved Mike the Tiger. Cared for 24/7 with a person veterinary staff, this tiger was saved from a tiny tourist stop in Florida and is now living in luxury. He might even be swimmin in his little pool when you stop by.
So if you're like most visitors, you'll have a friend with a tailgate that you're going to stop by. Don't show up empty handed! Contribute a case of beer or a container of potato salad that you threw in the cooler. Tailgate hosts are the real MVPs, so show them the love they've earned by securing a spot at 4 am on game day and cooking for you all day.
LEARN THE INSIDERS GUIDE TO GAME DAY BATHROOMS
It's like Mardi Gras all over again, but there are a few tips to know. Some buildings on campus are open with Bathrooms and the union is always one of them. Ignore the bathrooms on the first floor and even the second - head all the way up to the third floor and take a left. Hidden in a corner is a 4 stall bathroom with usually short lines. The bookstore also always has their bathroom by starbucks open and plays loud music - we've come to call it "club bathroom". Also, Jazzfest trailer potties are available by the visitors center on the parade grounds. If you're braver than me, you'll also be fine with the port-o-potties all over the place. As a side note, these lady pee funnels I got for port-o-potties at Mardi Gras have changed my life and come highly-reccomended.
PICK YOUR POISON WISELY
All day tiger tailgating is not for the faint of heart. When we were in the thick of it, we would get to the tailgate at 5 am and leave at 10 pm. You have to make good choices, especially if you're trying to make it through the game. Yes, that game of flip cup looks awesome, but maybe don't play with your vodka instead of beer. Look, I'm not judging - just a friendly voice from someone who has been there:
KNOW THY LSU CONTRAFLOW ROUTE
If you do make it to game-time, know that all of the traffic lanes will be contraflowed, directing all lanes out of campus. This is great if you're headed back to New Orleans, but not so great if you wanted to take a back route you know or make a stop along the way at a friend's house near campus. The maps of what roads are blocked changes weekly and has no rhyme or reason, so look online for contraflow maps or roll down the window and have your designated driver ask the cops what's up.
What's your go to tailgating spot? Did we I miss any must know tips?
Drop me a line in the comments.
In some serious tiger pride,
Maybe it's the brutal August heat, or maybe its the every day summer rainstorms, but by the time September rolls around in New Orleans I am fully ready for something new. Now don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the Louisiana summer (warts and all), but September down here gives you a big dose of early fall enthusiasm with no need to change your wardrobe out yet. A month from now, i'll hate that and will be crying for a cozy sweater in the street. Today, however, I'm just fine with slowly dipping my toe into the autumnal seasonal waters. Looking to celebrate the fake-fall in New Orleans too? Try something new (or just new to you) in New Orleans! Here are my recommendations to kick the month off right:
VISIT COPPERVINE WINE PUB IN THE CBD
New on the CBD scene (opening September 5th) in the old Happy's location on Poydras Street, this place is the big talk of the town. The downstairs patio covered in lush ferns has caused quite the instagram buzz and it's easy to see why. With over 30 wines on tap and a menu of fancy little snacks, this one is hopefully a hit.
LEARN HOW TO COOK A MIRLITON
Happy mirliton season! These little weird green cuties are just starting to pop up at local grocery stores and will be producing until late December. To be honest, I had never heard of a mirliton before I spent the holidays with my husband's family in New Orleans. Now that I'm here, it's obvious that they are a staple on any New Orleans holiday table. September means that it's only a hot minute before the holiday season, so now is the time to get your mirliton casserole recipe on lock for thanksgiving. If you're looking for a starting place, this Shrimp And Mirliton Casserole from Emeril himself comes very highly recommended.
GO KAYAKING IN CITY PARK
The ever so slightly less oppressive heat makes this finally makes going outside not sound like the worst idea you've ever heard. Celebrate outside being an option again by renting a kayak for an hour at city park. Floating along with the dreamy mossy oaks makes for a peaceful afternoon (and teaches you that your may not actually know how to paddle after all).
GO ON A SAINTS GAME BAR CRAWL
Note: This is really only recommended if the game is going really well (or really badly) and you don't feel the need to see every play. A few weekends ago we went on a journey to find our best neighborhood bar to watch a Saints game at. After one beer, we'd move down a block to the next spot. Now, I know the vibe in the entire neighborhood across the Tchoup Yard, Tracey's, Rendezvous Taven, Balcony Bar and The Bulldog. It was a great time and never got boring. Try this out in out in any area with a high concentration of bars you like.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SOMETHING: HURRICANE MODELS
It's always nice to learn about something low stakes that you may never need to know, but could maybe be useful. Look, no one likes hurricanes, but I do enjoy obsessively tracking them to make sure they aren't coming here. Over the years, this obsession has helped me acquire quite a bit of extremely amateur meteorology knowledge, like which models are the most trustworthy, the growth trends of storms and the best sites to go to for tracking theories. Now, it's just another one of my weird and nerdy hobbies. Sound fun? Learn more about the storm models and which ones to trust on my favorite weather blog: Category 6 | Weather Underground
Excited for anything else this September in New Orleans? Drop us a line in the comments!
PS- Don't forget - It's still snoball season at Hansen's (:
Choosing a favorite food out of the great encyclopedia of New Orleans cuisine can be complicated. However, I find that the big winners always taste best when made at home with a family recipe. For me, Red Beans and Rice has always been an easy choice. It's been a part of my life forever and I've finally figured out how to make it with 100% of the taste I love and 0% of the guilt that comes from the deliciousness of salted pork and a ham hock.
As I've mentioned before, Tonys Chachere's Cajun Cookbook is the guiding light in my kitchen. My guilt-free red beans and rice recipe is closely adapted from his guidelines, as they have never failed me before. Also, they are abundantly simple (a fantastic trait for any recipe, IMHO).
Tony recommends pickled pork, but I swap that out with a little bit of turkey bacon and this glorious new find I came across at the grocery store last week: Richard's Cajun Selects All Natural Chicken Sausage.
At first, I was hesitant about using chicken sausage in the red beans but now I am completely sold. I think I've officially called my entire family to tell them about this sausage - but you know the secret has got to be that it's from a local company that knows it better be good or they're going to have a bunch of ruined red beans on their hands.
No pot of red beans and rice is complete for me without a Jiffy corn bread muffin and a hit of Tobasco. TBH, if the corn bread is not available, this dish goes down in my favorites ranking. Try the recipe below and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Guilt-Free New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
Easy to make and lightened up with cajun chicken sausage, this guilt-free authentic New Orleans red beans and rice recipe is sure to please.
1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight if possible,
8 oz package of turkey bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch bites,
12 oz package of cajun chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped Tony's Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
1. Combine all ingredients except bacon and sausage in a large pot. Cover with enough water to cover and cook 1.5 hours.
2. While beans are cooking, pan fry turkey bacon and chicken sausage, set aside.
3. Add meat after beans have been cooking for two hours and continue cooking until beans are tender. Add more water from time to time to make a thick, rich gray.
4. Serve with steamed rice. Pairs great with Jiffy corn bread and Tobasco.
There are no weddings quite as good as a southern Louisiana weddings. As with all things in our culture, the plain Jane version just won't do. We'll trade a full seated dinner for a buffet of catfish and etouffee any day and we'll have you second lining around the reception hall right after we cut the cake. Such an occasion deserves a gift with a bit more pizzazz than a toaster, so I often find myself trying to find the perfect New Orleans wedding gift ideas to start a proper Louisiana household. If you're feeling uninspired by a set of bath towels and feel the itch to go off registry, make it something undeniably good. Here's my old faithful list of New Orleans inspired wedding gifts:
MIGNON FAGET GLASSWARE - $45-$55
These things will make you want to put your pinky up. Steal the show with the fanciest gift bag on the gift table. With patterns available in everything from gold foil purple and gold tigers to water meter stars and creole cottages, you can match anyone's personality. (crawfishes, oysters, fleur de lis, and more also available)
PHOTO CREDIT: MIGNON FAGET
BAYOU CLASSIC CRAWFISH POT, BURNER, AND PADDLE - $175+
If you really love someone, give them a gift that will bring joy for years to come. Caveat for this one - make sure your newlyweds have a place to store this stuff. Our crawfish pot had to live at my parents for a hot minute there.
A GOOD GUMBO POT | MAGNALITE CLASSIC 14-QT STOCK POT - $145
When I opened this gift from my Maw-Maw, I cried. She has cooked in the same Magnalite pot for my entire life and it felt so special to have one of my own. I take this thing out every time I make gumbo, etouffee, or red beans - or any other giant soup. It will probably outlive me. If you gift this, make it extra special by throwing in your family recipes
PHOTO CREDIT: BED BATH AND BEYOND
ICE CHEST BACKPACK - $25
Festival season is never the same once you own one of these. Our ice chest backpack comes everywhere with us - Red Dress Run, Jazzfest, Gulf Shores. Bonus if you buy some large ice packs so the newlyweds don't have to deal with the pain that is melting ice.
PHOTO CREDIT: AMAZON.COM
LOCAL ART - $30+
A few years ago in the quarter, we picked up a small George Rodrige print and a poster with a map of the French quarter. They're now some of my favorite decor. I'm currently crushing on these Makin' Groceries signs from Home Malone NOLA.
PHOTO CREDIT: HOME MALONE
SATSUMA TREE / LIME TREE - $30-$50
Help the newlyweds put down literal roots. These things grow like crazy in south Louisiana and are a fun treat when they start to grow. It's good practice for taking care of something if they aren't quite to kid level. Shop your local nursery for the best plants.
PHOTO CREDIT: LOUISIANA NURSERY
THE LOUISIANA COOKING BIBLE - TONY CHACHERE'S CAJUN COUNTRY COOKBOOK - $15
When I was just starting out in the kitchen, Tony was my spirit guide. Today, I still have this thing out on the counter at all times. I love that it starts with the basics - a great roux and the perfect proportions for an onion, celery and bell pepper blend. Confused on the best red beans recipe? consult Tony. Confused on the best mirliton casserole? consult Tony. He leaves no rock unturned.
PHOTO CREDIT: TONY CHACHERE'S
LOUISIANA ADDRESS STAMP - $25+
Give them the gift of not having to hand address your thank you note. Loving this state outline one from My Splendid Summer on Etsy.
PHOTO CREDIT: MY SPLENDID SUMMER
What's your go to New Orleans wedding gift or Louisiana wedding gift? Share in the comments!
I'm convinced that one of the best way to explore New Orleans is by bike, but there is no arguing that it is especially true in Uptown, New Orleans. On the few weekends per year when nothing else is going on, biking around is my favorite way to spend the day. Over the past few years, I've made a solid list of essential stops to make a great ride. Here's the destinations and routes that are always worth the trip:
LAUREL STREET // CONSTANCE STREET - THE BEST UPTOWN BIKE ROUTE
While it is very tempting to kick back and relax with an easy ride down historic Magazine street, it is usually anything by relaxing. The tiny street has a heavy stream of cars (especially on the weekends) and very little room for freedom on the road. Scoot on down a block or two towards the river, into the neighborhood streets. The one-way streets Laurel and Constance are of my favorites (depending on your route direction). With limited stop signs, one-way slow traffic and classically New Orleans homes to oogle over, it makes a great ride.
I have said it before and I will say it again - Hansen's is the best snoball in New Orleans. That's it. Case is closed. Don't @ me. Nothing gives picturesque New Orleans neighborhood bike ride vibes like a trip out for a snoball and with it's location right in the middle of uptown, it's always on the way. As an added bonus, biking with a snoball in my cupholder is my favorite way to travel.
There is no better way to start a weekend than with a great bagel. Stiens has never disappointed in this department. After biking a mile or so down to them, I always feel very deserving of the generously giant dollop of delicious roasted garlic cream cheese. If the bagel doesn't sound quite right, treat yo self to one of their incredible classic sandwiches. Once, I saw a chef recommend Stien's as the best sandwiches in New Orleans during an interview at his own sandwich place - if that isn't a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is.
THE TCHOUP YARD
This place is like a giant back yard turned neighborhood bar - a great recipe for an ideal biking destination. Park the bike in their giant (read: luxurious) bike rack and stop in for a drink. It can get a little crowded at night, but afternoons are a sweet spot at this place (especially when paired with a little corn hole and a frozen margarita). Ample bike parking is a nice added plus.
OTHER NOTABLE UPTOWN BAR STOP MENTIONS: PORT ORLEANS BREWING COMPANY, NOLA BREWING & URBAN SOUTH BREWERY
THE FLY // AUDUBON PARK
Quaintly positioned at the end of Magazine Street, these two offer a little something for everyone. Want to chill and watch the river go by? The river side of Audubon park behind the zoo, aka "the fly", is for you. Want to bask in the history of one of the oldest parks in the country in a beautiful loop surrounded by hundred year old oak trees, some fancy ducks and an antique fountain? See you at the main Audubon park. Also, it's even got the perfect spot if just you want to hang with some giraffes and a 300 year old live oak known as the Tree of Life.
This is the definition of an Uptown institution and a worthwhile stop for any day out on your bike. It's a tiny little place, open since 1924 and just being there will make you happy to be part of it all. You can't be open for that long and not make a great poboy, that just isn't how New Orleans works. Plus, you get to drop the french bread guilt since you're ~eXerCisINg~.
THE FRENCH QUARTER
Look, I get it, this is not an uptown destination. However, one of the best parts about biking uptown is that it is so close to downtown! The French Quarter is a cool little 30 minute ride and half of the way the city treats you to dedicated bike lanes! Also, it adds to the adventure of it all. I'm not headed there every day, but if I'm going all the way to the quarter, I might as well make an event out of it. Also notable is getting to skip uber surge pricing for festivals and events (read: basically every weekend). Here's our usual route: take Constance Street towards downtown. Take a left on Jackson Ave. Take a right on Camp. Head straight under the interstate into downtown, keep going straight across poydras and canal - and bam, you're there.
Looking for more? See all the bike routes in New Orleans here.
Did I miss your favorite stop? Share in the comments!
Safe travels, y'all!
Seriously, wear a helmet and make good choices. (:
There is no contest - Pat O'Brien's is, hands down, my all time favorite bar in New Orleans. With a dominance as one of the most popular bars in the city since it's opening in 1933, it's obvious that I'm not the only one that feels this way. Despite it's appeal to tourists, multiple chain locations and Bourbon Street entrance, the central truth to the New Orleans location of this bar is that is also powered by the deep love of a dedicated local crowd. In a city and culture that is designed around celebrating every day, it is the perfect pair.
The history of the 1791 building at 718 St. Peter's street is palpable, especially in the dark piano bar. Originally home to the first French Theater Company in New Orleans, it feels like you're part of one of the longest running parties in the country. Dying to be a part of the tradition, I was waiting at the gate with ID in hand at 12:00 am on my 21st birthday and It's been a whirlwind romance ever since.
The dueling piano bar is one of the most popular draws of Pat O'Briens (as it has been since it's start as a new idea in the 1940's). Spending so much time in the piano bar has taught me a lot about what makes a great song request. Here's my advice - when you put your dollars inside a napkin and pass it to the pianist, make it worthwhile.
Here's my hints for the best, high-quality requests you can make -
Average Requests you can make that someone else is probably already requesting:
(Note: You can do better.)
Do us all a favor and don't request any of this:
In the immortal guiding words of this establishment: HAVE FUN!
Also, don't forget to celebrate Mr. Alvin like the national treasure he is.
Did I miss your top request? Share in the Comments below.
Red Dress Run is one of the most Nola events in Nola. Only in this beautiful city do thousands of people wake up on what is guaranteed to be the hottest afternoons of the year, put on red dresses and spend the day celebrating life on Bourbon street. Organized by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, Red Dress Run is officially a charity run benefiting small non-profits. Unofficially, it's a great excuse to just spend the day in the quarter with mostly locals. However, a great afternoon is quickly ruined by realizing that you've chosen the wrong dress.
Throughout the years of dressing Daniel for this occasion, I've learned a lot of essential lessons for choosing the perfect men's dress for Red Dress Run. Here's my tips for optimal dress selection:
1. COMMIT TO THE DRESS - THE TACKIER THE BETTER
You have already committed to wearing a dress, you might as well make it a good one. A simple dress is a boring dress. Look for something with a little pizzaz - some sequins, a good fringe, a pearl broach. Be your best self - the flamingo in a crowd full of pigeons.
2. FOCUS ON THE FABRIC
The best dress is a dress that breathes. 100% cotton is ideal, but the most stylish dresses will rarely have this asset so you will have to compromise. Be smart - as perfect as a silky red number will seem in the store, I guarantee that it will not stand up to the test of 90+ degree weather and excruciating humidity. Silk acts an insulator and will trap all of that delicious August Nola glisten on your skin. If your dress comes with a lining, cut it out.
3. SHOW SOME SKIN
So, your dress doesn't exactly zip. Have no fear, it doesn't matter. Look for dresses that show some skin, the less fabric, the better. Make sure you're flashing just enough spice to keep everything nice - A side cut out is a beautiful thing when it's 95 degrees out.
4. TUTUS ARE CHEATING
I'm a firm believer in this one. Tutus are for quitters, especially if you are wearing them with shorts. If that guy over there can have a great time in a prom dress, so can you. The fun of this event lies in the IDGAF attitude it is known for. The tutu is a sad in-between that comes off as a lack of reverence for the holiday. Even if you wait until the last minute to find a dress, there will still be a sad red number hanging at the platos closet/goodwill/forever21 that everyone else was too scared to commit to. Embrace it.
5. ACCESSORIZE - COMPLETE THE ENSEMBLE
Nothing brings an outfit to its peek potential like a great headpiece. Find yourself a sequin headband, hair bow or Sunday hat. I'll warn you now that a wig is a lot to commit to in August, but I'll celebrate the effort all the same. It's also a good idea to consider how you'll carry your belongings without the pockets that you are accustomed to.
Here is a sneak peak at the dress that Daniel will be debuting this year:
May the red dress shopping odds ever be in your favor.
Found a killer dress for this year's RDR? Share in the comments!
There's a certain point in the summertime in New Orleans when regular ice just won't cut it in a cocktail - I need the entire cocktail to be ice. My affection for frozen cocktails has taken me far and wide in Nola to the point of seeing a well put together frozen drink on Instagram and following it all the way to its home (multiple times).
Since arriving here, I've been on the hunt for the best of the best in frozen drinks. Here are my top contenders:
5. THE MINT JULEP SNOBALL | BARELPROOF pictured above
I first saw this drink on The New Orleans Scout Guide's instagram and instantly had to have it. When I ordered it, I asked for the "mint julep snoball that I saw on instagram" but apparently they just consider this a plain mint julep. I crave about two of these a year, one for the Kentucky Derby and one when the real heat of summer begins. I won't call myself a MJ aficionado because beyond that, I don't know if I actually like eating little pieces of mint from a straw. This one was special because it was served in the signature silver julep cup, with a St. Germain straw that had a spoon on the end and a whole mint bush on top. I'd go back to this just for the ice and the fun of drinking it with the accessories.
4. FROZEN VODKA LEMONADE | NOLA DISTILLING
When the Nola Distillery opened around the corner from my house, I was delighted. When they posted that their frozen vodka lemonade was the five dollar cocktail of the day, I became a believer for life. These people have hit the perfect frozen cocktail trifecta - a delicate balance of perfect of tart, sweet and kick.
3. FREEZLING | THE DELACHAISE
Froze, or frozen rose wine, is an unmistakable phenomenon in this city. I've watched it jump from bar to bar, leaving nothing but destruction in its path as it took the place of much better and more beloved frozen cocktails. I will always thank the Delachaise on St. Charles for getting the memo that if we are going to freeze wine, we might as well make it good. Their riesling version of a froze is sweeter and more balanced than it's rose counterpart. It's also white, which is just an added uniqueness.
And while we're here, other notable frozen wine mention: FROZE | THE VINTAGE - These little cuties add a sliced strawberry to the top of your Froze and let me tell you - it makes all the difference.
2. FROZEN MIMOSA | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD
The mimosa is a universally loved drink, a perfect pair of bubbles and tart. Want to make it 80 times better? FREEZE IT. This cocktail forever changed my relationship with frozen drinks. It became the end all be all, the must have, the pièce de résistance of my life in the world of frozen cocktails. In it's hayday, this drink was available all day every day at Superior Seafood - but suddenly, it wasn't. Replaced instead by the delightfully uninspired trend of frozen rose, it was pushed to a brunch only offering. As I have mentioned to the poor bartenders there multiple times and in my yelp review, I will not rest until this injustice is resolved.
1. FROZEN FRENCH 75 | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD
Despite their aforementioned wrongdoing with the frozen mimosa offering, this place just understands what it takes to make a great frozen drink. The frozen french 75 is no exception. I don't even like gin and I'm still super into this drink. It also doesn't hurt that this place offers a 10 pm happy hour as a great streetcar stop at the end of the night - including large frozen drinks for the price of a small.
Honorable mention while still here: POMEGRANATE MOJITO | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD (pictured above)
Whats your go to frozen drink in Nola? Share in the comments!