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The Start of the Season

Theresa Cassagne Photograph

I am a rare breed of New Orleanian: I love the summers here. Most people who live here live here in spite of the summers –– they put up with the 95 degree days and the 100 percent humidity because they love the food or the music or the mild winters or all of the above. Well, I love all of that, and I love the summers. I’m sure there are people in Alaska or Minnesota who adore the winters there, and my sunhat’s off to them. But I will gladly take sweltering summer days and thick, wet air with a side order of sour watermelon snowballs and a heaping helping of sunscreen.

To ease the rest of you –– the sensible ones who shy away from air so thick you can chew it –– into summer, we’re showcasing three outstanding swimming pools that will help you see the bright side of the season. 

And even as the temperatures climb outside, designer Neetsy Walker will stay cool in her Hammond home. Using skills honed through years of professional design work, Neetsy selected a soothing neutral color scheme that is perfectly suited to any time of the year.

In addition to setting the stage for summer, May is a month full of festivals and holidays, many of which we’re honoring in this month’s issue.

As Jazz Fest winds down on May 3, it’s time to start planning for Mother’s Day on May 10. As a new mom, I diligently recorded my daughter’s first steps (a shaky few across our old dining room on Dec. 10, 2007) and her first word (“Oke” for our dog, “Loki,” on Oct. 21, 2007), but I had nowhere to put such milestones as her first streetcar ride or her first Mardi Gras. I’m probably too lazy to go back and do it now –– though I do have a great picture of her at 2 months old dressed in a bunny suit and screaming her head off as Rex rolled by –– but at least I won’t have the same problem with my next child. Kimberly Brignac Burgau and Renee Radelat Hemel, two local moms, have created a line of scrapbooks, NOLA BABY and NOLA FAMILY, to record unique New Orleans experiences for Big Easy babies. We profile these two creative women in our Masters of Their Craft section.

A special book to record baby’s first crawfish boil may not appeal to moms who have raised their babies, but a good meal is always appreciated. If the mom in your life likes to try things that are a little unconventional, you should follow the recipes in Gatherings to whip up a batch of Brennan’s famed Filet Stanley. Featuring bananas, beef and horseradish, it almost sounds like a creation off of the Food Network’s Chopped, but those who are brave or curious enough to try it know that it’s a taste sensation.

Closing out the month and officially ringing in summer is the 18th Annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, or NOWFE, over Memorial Day weekend. We’re toasting it this month with the ultimate Last Indulgence, good old vino.

No matter how much you hate summer, there’s no point in fighting it. You don’t have to love it the way I do, of course, but instead of grumbling, you should slip into some seersucker, dig out your white bucks or sandals and go raise a glass of wine or two in New Orleans’ honor down at NOWFE’s Royal Street Stroll. Even in the thick of summer, we all know this is the best place to sweat it out.

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