Author: Errol Laborde

Rose on the Rise

Since 2006, it has been common when referring back to an incident in contemporary time to refer to it as being “pre-Katrina.” Now we, and the world, will be speaking about “pre-Corona.” For “pre-” to have some boundaries there must…

When Zooming Goes Viral

  During our 2005 Hurricane Katrina exile we were in a coffee shop in upstate Alexandra. At a nearby table were two coeds who, we had learned from a brief conversation, were from Sweden and were attending the University of…

Thinking About Italy This Easter Week

  A tour guide at the back of the boat was pointing to some of the sites as the craft raced toward Bellagio (the real village not the hotel in Vegas). Italy’s lake region is one of the most picturesque…

Three Times (At Least) Mardi Gras Helped Save New Orleans

  This Mardi Gras marked 163 year since Comus started what would be the continuing parading tradition. The current Carnival post-season is the first time that a virus has ever been an issue. To the discussion, I submit the following:   1872…

In Search of Pain Perdu

 “Lost Bread” was a common home-cooked breakfast when I was a school kid, though I often stumbled at pronouncing it. My parents, who came from French Louisiana, used the native words, “pain perdu” which translates roughly to “lost bread.” Now…

Filé Jumbo

When your great uncle was known as “Blind Willie,” and when the tools of his trade, which are still in use, are 116 years old, you have to figure there is a story there. And there is. Baton Rouge resident…

Joseph and Patrick: The Lost Feast Days

  Late in the afternoon last Thursday, March 19, I stood at the front door of Angelo Brocato’s. In the world of Italian confections Brocato’s is perhaps the best there is, including the old country. There is significance to the…

When Life Turns Everything Upside Down

  For most of our Katrina exile we stayed at a relative’s home in the central Louisiana town of Marksville. One Sunday evening I needed to get a fill-up at the nearest gas station, which was down the highway at…

Lindy At The Vatican

  This Friday, March 13, will be the birthday of the late Lindy Boggs (1916), who during her career served as a member of congress and then later was Ambassador to what is officially known as “The Holy See.” No…

Speaking Of Tandems

  Usually when people have travel stories, the tale seldom centers on the part when the airplane was taxiing on the runway. For August Perez III, a glimpse through the window would open the way to a major innovation in…

Sentimental Journeys

Some relatives once recalled to me their honeymoon in 1945. They were married in central Louisiana shortly after he returned home from the war. During that time, many purchases were limited. An uncle gave her some of his ration stamps…

Streetcar by Errol Laborde: Lady New Orleans

Imagine that your dad was known as “Jack the Cat.” That would have probably given you a little more standing on the school playgrounds, especially since dad was a radio DJ at a time when record spinners were idolized by…

Lundi Gras - The Making of a New Old Tradition

There are some old traditions in Carnival. There are also some traditions thought to be ancient, but really are not. One of the latter is “Lundi Gras.” While, the practice of Rex arriving…

Making Of A Carnival King

It has happened before – the evolution of a head of state in America was rumored to be linked with a prominent Russian. Legend has it that the first parade of Rex King of Carnival, was created in 1872 as…

Mardi Gras: The Mobile Connection

  You hear it said every year during Carnival time. Someone will tease that Mardi Gras, the celebration for which New Orleans takes so much pride, originated in Mobile, Alabama. At its birth, the argument would imply, Carnival was nourished…

Defining a Super Krewe

During the 1980s, I was working at Gambit newspaper where one of my duties consisted of writing a weekly column during the Carnival season under the nom de plume, Rex Duke. Rex was a rarity, a Carnival parade critic. No…

Streetcar: Stirred In New Orleans

A very gracious lady seated next to the ice chest in the back of the bus made me an offer. She asked, as I understood her, if would I like “an old hen?” My reaction, I am afraid, was less…

Fame of Thrones

Rex’s reign this year will mark the 30th anniversary of John Ochsner, Sr. serving as King of Carnival. By all accounts, Ochsner (1927-2018) served his constituents well and events went smoothly. The day could not, however, have deviated more from…

Carnival's Confusing Anniversaries

  Suppose you started a new job in February of a certain year. When then should you celebrate your first anniversary? A reasonable answer would be February a year later. That is, unless you use Carnival time. In that case…

King Cakes In The Post-Katrina Era

  There was a time when there was no debate about King Cake. There was, for the most part, only one brand, McKenzie's, and only one flavor, Mckenzie’s- style – which had a slight cinnamon coffeeroll taste. The purple green…

How Carnival Got Its Colors

  Ed. Note: This has become an annual obsession with me. Several years ago, I was involved in a project in which we discovered the true origins of Carnival’s colors; purple, green and gold. It was not justice, power and…

2020 Parade Season Preview

Carnival Historian and New Orleans Magazine editor Errol Laborde shows WWLTV's Eye On Carnival what is in store as the city anticipates Carnival season 2020.    

Thoughts for Recovering on the Day After

  So, today we experience a community funk because of what happened in the Superdome yesterday. Fate is good to us, however, because our big disappointment happens to be followed the next day by Twelfth Night and the beginning of…

Streetcar: Meyer the Hatter

Several years ago, my wardrobe for spending an afternoon at the French Quarter Fest included a spiffy new Panama hat. Somewhere along the riverfront a fellow fest-goer stopped me and said, “nice hat.” With local pride I replied, “I got…

Herbsaint Unscrambled

On the night that the new Sazerac House on Canal Street had its grand opening, I happened to be looking at the exhibit for Herbsaint when Bill Goldring, the chairman of the Sazerac company, passed by. He was showing a…

From the Editor: Galloping Through the Decades

Hardly anyone knows it, but this year the Cajun Courir De Mardi Gras approaches the 70th anniversary of its revival. Had it not been for a few men wanting to rescue a lost ritual there would be no customs to…

Christmas '89

  I was at a Christmas week party when someone commented about the weather, which was cold, even for Christmas time and added that a heavy freeze was on the way. She wasn’t wrong. But the next morning an icy…

The Woman In The Song

For Lisa Layne, Sept. 27, 1989 would mean more than just her 27th birthday. She was standing at the microphone at Nashville’s Masterfonics recording studio. Nearby were some of the town’s finest studio musicians…

Daring To Say "Christmas"

While at a party several Christmases ago I was talking to a teacher from a local private school. During the conversation I asked her how they celebrate Christmas at the school. “We don’t,” she answered. “We have many cultures there…