If there ever was a town buried in clutter, it’s New Orleans. Neat is not in our DNA. We like distraction and chaos. We revel in those qualities. It’s us, who we are, and what we seem to like.
Tell me it makes any sense to build a new $1+ billion air terminal without an appropriate access road. Also we cannot truly reasonably justify starting a new year with two months of frenzied festivities in celebrations that terminate with the greatest free party on earth, except that is who we are. I don’t know of any formal studies on this, but is there another town anywhere that stages more parades with more music and free stuff for everyone?
This town can be governed (although that is up for discussion) but it cannot be controlled. Bars don’t close. Restaurants won’t ever ask you to give up your seat. Musicians MUST play "The Saints Go Marchin’ In." And a sad, missed call in a football game demanded a mass community response, which did indeed occur.
The chaos that defines us means we are also opening new restaurants and bars like crazy, and there are more new dining and drinking outlets than anyone can reasonably keep track, keeping in mind that New Orleans has not ever been underserved in this category.
Are you familiar with:
Jewel of the South
1026 St. Louis St.
225 Chartres St.
719 Toulouse St.
4413 Banks St.
2051 Metairie Road
1800 Magazine St.
Three B’s Burgers and Wine Bar
911 Harrison Ave.
7724 Maple St.
234 Loyola Ave.
315 Magazine St.
3984 Tchoupitoulas St.
2438 St. Claude Ave.
508 Dumaine St.
Rosalita’s Backyard Tacos
3319 N. Rampart St.
412 Girod St.
2317 Burgundy St.
This is a partial list, and, yet, I am willing to bet that you have not been to more than four of the establishments on the list. Some have been opened about a year. I am further willing to bet that you have not even heard of many of these places. Be truthful now.
Absent from the list are hundreds of "Old Favorites." We have not turned our back on those places. They are still patiently waiting for us to again walk through their doors.
An extension of this New Orleans Chaos Theory applies to festivals.
Here’s what you have coming up locally just within the next 45 days:
March 20 – 23
Louisiana Crawfish Festival, Chalmette
BUKU Music and Art Project
March 22 – 23
Italian American St. Joseph Parade
Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade, Metairie
Tennessee Williams Festival
March 27 – 31
Hogs for The Cause, New Orleans Lakefront
March 29 – 30
Amazing Grapes, Hermann-Grima House
New Orleans Spring Fiesta
March 30 – 31, April 6 – 7
Edible Schoolyard Evening
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience
April 4 – 7
Kenner’s Italian Heritage Festival
April 5 – 7
Deanie’s Seafood 10th Annual Pinch-a-Palooza Crawfish Festival, Bucktown
St. Bernard Irish Italian Islenos Parade
Louisiana Crawfish Boil Championships, Marrero
Asian Pacific American Society Festival, Audubon Zoo
Freret Street Festival
A Night in Ole New Orleans Parade and Gala
French Quarter Festival
April 11 – 14
New Orleans Museum of Art Easter Egg Hunt and Family Festival
Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival
April 12 – 14
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
April 25-28, May 2 -5
Visitation of Our Lady Cajun Festival, Marrero
April 26 – 28
NOLA Crawfish Festival, Central City
April 29 – May 1
That extensive list of events takes us through the end of April, only 45 days from now. And the list is by no means complete as there are likely plenty of neighborhood, small groups and church festivals also staged during this time.
Nor have we included important events staged in neighboring towns, such as the 33rd year of the incredible Festival International de Louisiana, April 26 – 28, in Lafayette, billed as the largest free international music festival in the world.
Bringing us back to the original question: how many festivals and new restaurants can you attend and patronize? How many from these lists did you know were open or celebrating?
And does the word “clutter” even begin to describe the riches with which we are surrounded?
Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.