Joie d’Eve

Rest After the Fest

I don’t even know where to start in describing Vera, except to say that she is the quintessential New Orleanian and that our friendship is quintessentially New Orleanian: We went to preschool together, met up again in high school and…

Treme-tized

I still can’t eat pound cake. Such an innocuous food, right? Who could object to pound cake? But one day at Sam’s Club, I mindlessly picked up a sample, a little pasty half-frozen morsel of Sara Lee Pound Cake on…

Photographs and Memories of Jazz Fests Past

My high school sweetheart’s mother loved –– and presumably still loves –– Christmas more than anyone I’ve ever known. Starting just after Halloween, she’d set out Santa candles and mangers and ceramic elves and hand towels emblazoned with holly wreaths.…

Free to Be ... You and Me

When you live in a wonderful city such as this, you have certain responsibilities, and the main one is hospitality. As such, friends across the country know that my door is more or less open to them at all times.…

Living My Dream

The Princess and the Frog came out on DVD on Tuesday, and I’ve seen it something like 8 million times since then. “I love Tiana,” my daughter declares repeatedly. “She lives in New Orleans like me.”I fought against Disney princesses…

Cooking Lessons

There are not many moments in my daily life that are sitcom-perfect, but last Sunday was one of them. The weather was finally, blessedly, gorgeous, and my husband and daughter were outside planting sweet olive and jasmine, making my backyard…

Tourist Trap

I didn’t travel all that extensively as a child. There was a trip to visit my grandfather in Milwaukee when I was 4, the only thing about which I now remember is that my step-grandmother made me a snack of…

Ashes to Ashes

As much as I love the frenzied energy and unbridled joy of “Mardi Gras Mambo” and “Carnival Time,” one of my favorite songs of the season is Anders Osborne’s “Ash Wednesday Blues.” The slow, sad, sleepy feeling of the song…

Take Me to the River

Beyond the fact that I’m a Virgo, I don’t know much about astrology, but I know enough to know that Virgo is an earth sign. If I knew more, maybe I’d know whether my intense attraction to water was a…

A Tale of Two Toasts

It was dawn on Oct. 5, 2005. My husband, Jamie, and our friend Nick and I had been driving since 6 p.m. the night before. Knowing that my ’88 Chevy Nova didn’t have a chance of making it from Columbia,…

I Love a Parade!

I’ve been a part of winning teams before. Although they were never my team in the same way the Saints are, the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl in 2000, and it was hard not to be excited, being…

For Who Dats Gone Too Soon

I know this is going to be shocking coming from someone with enough nerd cred to have gotten a semicolon tattoo (right hip, and if I haven’t shown you yet, it’s only a matter of time), but I really wasn’t…

A Happy Homecoming

Jan. 21, 2008, 6 a.m., my in-laws’ driveway, suburban St. Louis: I packed the last few boxes in the trunk of my Honda Civic, loaded the dog in the backseat and got behind the wheel. It was 7 degrees and…

Carnival Collective

My daughter, Ruby, celebrated the big 0-3 a few days before Christmas, and I don’t know if it’s a developmental milestone or what, but ever since, she’s been seemingly compelled to make up some sort of song to accompany nearly…

The Little Things

One day in mid-October, when the temperature was maybe in the 60s, I drove home past City Park and saw a little girl walking through the oak trees all bundled up in a coat and a scarf and a hat…

Our Fairy Tale

Before I had a child, I was annoyed with people who let their children scream in restaurants or took them to age-inappropriate movies where they talked and cried and threw popcorn.“I’m sure that will change when I have a child,”…

Ghosts of New Orleans

You’d think it would be Halloween that would bring out the ghosts in the city, but for me, it was Thanksgiving.I was just putting the turkey in the oven when my phone rang. It was a California number, one I…

Home for the Holiday

I know some people wait all year for Christmas, just dying to pull out the Santa figurines and put some Bing Crosby on the stereo. I’m not one of those people.I like Christmas just fine. I love the spicy smell…

Crown Thy Good with Sisterhood

My daughter, Ruby, is on a patriotic kick lately. Her preschool has taught her “America the Beautiful,” which she can sing almost flawlessly, and the Pledge of Allegiance, which gives her some trouble in the usual spots, particularly on “indivisible.”I…

"... But Keep the Old"

In mid-July the summer before I went away to college, I got a letter in the mail listing the other freshmen who would be in my Freshman Interest Group, which went by the awkward acronym “FIG.” I looked over the…

Truly Scary Things

“I’ve been reading Mark Twain’s autobiography lately,” my dad said to me the other day as we sat drinking Abitas at my kitchen table. “And I have to tell you, it really makes me feel sorry as hell for kids…

Reality Check

When I was in high school, there was a wildly popular book called Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher. I’m way oversimplifying here, but the basic premise of the book is that it’s hard for…

Almost Lost

I did not have an easy pregnancy with my daughter. I became pregnant on the heels of a miscarriage at 14 weeks, and the pregnancy was high-risk from the start. I bled every day for the entire first trimester. I…

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

When my mom, a Wisconsin native, was 10, she memorized the entire roster of the Green Bay Packers. Even now, she’ll give me her bank card and tell me, “The PIN is Bart Starr-Max McGee.” And I’ll look at her blankly until she sighs and clarifies, “1-5-8-5.” I have the same uncanny memory for numbers –– I did my high school sweetheart’s college applications for him, so I still know his social security number, and even though she moved away a decade ago, I will remember my best friend’s old phone number on my deathbed –– but I have no passion for football. I mean, yes, of course I love the Saints. Who Dat, etc.

Vicarious Autumn

When Michael Jackson died, I found out from Facebook. When President Obama gave his health care speech, I was able to gauge the general reaction by everyone’s Facebook statuses. Ditto when Kanye West made an ass out of himself at…

Preschool Blues

I have a picture in my mind’s eye of myself just a few weeks after my daughter was born. I was more exhausted than I’d ever been in my life, my bloodshot eyes ringed in dark circles. My skin was…

Small World

Errol Laborde recently wrote a blog titled “The Incident” in which he discussed being the victim of a scam in the parking lot of a Rouses. A woman claimed that she had been struck by his car while he was…

The making of a New Orleanian

The first time my now-husband took me home to meet his parents, I was a little nervous. That is, I was a little nervous until we pulled off of the interstate and into total suburbia. Then I became uneasy. When…

New Orleans: The Next Generation

When I was about 14 or 15, in the middle of one of those marathon phone conversations that 14- or 15-year-old girls are famous for, my friend Peter asked me, out of the blue, “What do you think is the…