Cruisin’ the Crescent

January 2013

So we made it through the holidays, and in New Orleans we all know what that means – it’s time to get ready for Carnival! It is hard to believe that we are one of the few cultures that still upholds the traditions of Twelfth Night. This topic came up while I was at dinner with some British colleagues in London. One of my dining companions commented on the chaos of the holidays and how he was looking forward to January 6 so he and his family could get back to normal. I replied, “January 6th? You mean Twelfth Night?” Suddenly I had a table of Brits staring at me puzzled. They knew exactly what Twelfth Night was, but it had been centuries since it had been celebrated in the UK.

This goes for several other countries as well; for most of the modern world the celebrations end on January 6. For New Orleans, the celebrations not only end, but begin again! It is the day we take down the trees, wreaths and ornaments, and put up the Boeuf Gras, crowns and flambeaux figurines. As we compared our different society’s Twelfth Night festivities, I realized we once had much in common – in fact, many of our traditions sounded to be derived from theirs. Their “Lord of Misrule” held a feast,with a cake that contained a bean. Whoever found the bean ruled the feast. Then several masked men would rush into the streets with bells to drive away the evil spirits. Sound familiar?

Now I’m sure back then their hilarity wouldn’t have been put on pause for the Super Bowl, but then again they aren’t New Orleanians. Many of our traditions may have stemmed from other cultures, but we’ve certainly made them unique. Many of these customs have since faded away in other communities, but here in New Orleans we’re definitely going to keep the party going.

Academy of the Sacred Heart class
of 1972 celebrating their 40th reunion


Tom Diano and Tommy Westfeldt on November 10 during an afternoon of croquet celebrating Shelby Westfeldt’s 31st birthday


The Magnolia School is a private, non-profit organization that provides support to adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Every year the school hosts  “Moonlight on the River Gala” on the campus grounds to raise funds for the organization. This year the gala was quite the soirée with more than 520 guests attending. The evening was so nice that they broke down the walls of the tents before the party so that attendees could feel the breeze from the Mississippi River close by. Several local companies were very generous in donating their services for the event. Ralph Brennan Catering and Events, Portobello Catering and Louisiana Pizza Kitchen were among many restaurants that provided a delectable menu. The Groovy 7 kept the dance floor hopping during both silent and live auctions. With more than 150 auction items up for grabs, there was plenty on which to bid. One of the most coveted was the Mardi Gras Bead Dog Sculpture, which was painted by the Dream Factory Art Studio. The Sculpture was part of the raffle that was sponsored by Haydel’s Bakery of the Paws on Parade public art project. It was a beautiful evening for a great cause to support adults with developmental disabilities.

 Courtney Guste with Magnolia Client Albert McVille


Magnolia Foundation board members Cindy Paulin and Hunter Wagner


Mary Margaret Wogan, Mahlon Sanford, Jessica Marceaux and Taylor Morgan


Magnolia’s director of operations, Jennifer Hebert with Magnolia client Kinta Arbour


Heard something interesting for “Cruisin’ the Crescent?”
If so, please send it to:
St. Charles Avenue
110 Veterans Blvd., Ste. 123
Metairie, La. 70005 or

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