ENTERTAINING: Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long, by author, Garden & Gun and Elle Décor contributing editor and James Beard Foundation nominee Julia Reed, is a gorgeously packaged, 224-page tome, with 150 envy- and hunger-inducing photos by photographer Paul Costello. Reed and Costello, both based in New Orleans, take readers from a sandbar picnic in Mississippi and citrus-laden Christmas “cocktail supper” (a term Reed credits to her mother) in New Orleans to a formal dinner for a “Visiting Dignitary” (or those who are “Very Dear,” she writes) and a lovely spring luncheon al fresco. The stories are keenly knitted with a journalist’s attention to color, detail, history, fact and conciseness and center on parties for 11 different seasonal occasions. “It’s more entertaining to me as a writer to add in things that are interesting,” says Reed. “I wanted to show a little more about what the places mean. I wanted to show a sense of place. It’s not just about me. It’s more about a generosity of spirit and having fun. We basically went on an extended road trip.” Reed sets the scene, offers up the menu, recipes, cocktail and wine pairings, as well as notes on everything from table settings to playlists. The recipe list is comprehensive and includes appetizers and desserts, simple Southern staples, as well as Creole favorites such as shrimp rémoulade and more elevated cuisine, including a delectable roasted boneless leg of lamb with herbs. The stellar source list at the end will become your go-to for finding everything from stationery and linens to tableware and food items in New Orleans and beyond.
JAZZ: A fixture at the Spotted Cat on Frenchman and on the heels of a hot set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Panorama Jazz Band released its Best of the Good in May. The album’s 14 tracks are select songs from the band’s innovative “Good Music For You” club, available on its website, PanoramaJazzBand.com. For $3 a month, subscribers receive a new Panorama track at the first of each month.