Ed. Note: Baghdad Dispatch is written by two female Marines with local connections; Marine Capt. Mary Noyes, an attorney (right); and Marine Maj. Meredith Brown, an Iraqi Women’s Engagement officer (left). Their respective columns will appear in alternate months. Noyes moved to New Orleans in 2006; Brown is a native of Marrero. As we approached […]
381Days of the Montgomery, Ala. Bus Boycott, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Improvement Association. 352 U.S. 903Supreme Court case of William A. Gayle v. Aurelia S . Browder, 1956, in which the Court ruled segregation on public buses unconstitutional. 2Years after Gayle v. Browder that the Supreme Court ruled segregation […]
The best part was riding down St. Charles Avenue in the limousines right after the Hermes Parade. That was really fun!” Judy Walshe Whann (Mrs. Robert Whann) remembers of her reign over the youthful Krewe of Apollo on the Friday before Mardi Gras. Her ride up the avenue stopped short of Lee Circle. In those […]
The past year gave many Americans the financial shock of their lives. Though the trouble appeared to erupt from the investment banks of Wall Street, the roots of the problems reached deep into the credit practices of lenders across the country, and it didn’t take long before consumers everywhere felt the pain. As citizens worried […]
“In New Orleans, we have our own definition of celebrity.” As New Orleanians, we’re more interested in the Trombone Shortys than we are the Lenny Kravitzes. We define the term celebrity in a different way. This alternate definition creates value for the “traditional celebrity” in that it offers up a sort of privacy they cannot […]
As is the nearly yearly case, New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration will eclipse Valentine’s Day in 2009. Boobs and beads replace birds and bees; “Love Potions” outrank No. 9 by at least 150-proof liquor and romantic endeavors are dropped for excuses such as, “But the Choctaw/Adonis/Pontchartrain/Shangri-La/Caesar/Sparta/Pegasus/Olympia/Mona Lisa and Moon Pie/Gladiators parade is toniiight.” Not to […]
fairest of all Facing page: Sterling Silver “Bleeding Heart” necklace with freshwater pearls and garnets from Mignon Faget; pewter fairy set with real butterfly wings from Sabai Jewelers; 18 K white gold, diamond and south sea pearl earrings and matching brooch, both from Adler’s Jewelers. [Featured Bug: Desert Millipedes] gem-ecological balanceThis page: Sterling silver acid-washed […]
During Carnival, and especially on Mardi Gras day itself, thousands of New Orleanians and playful visitors alike are masked or otherwise adorned in costumes born of fancy and fantasy, history and humor. When it comes time to hit the streets, the effort and creativity put into an individual costume is multiplied many times over by […]
One shop doesn’t transform a recovering metropolis into a chocolate city. But last year a small chocolate paradise arose out of the receded flood waters on Canal Boulevard. A few blocks past the cemeteries, located between a Helm Paint Store and a Deluxe Cleaners, is Bittersweet Confections. A stop there may be just as […]
The recent display of a one-of-a-kind gold coin produced at the Old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter some 165 years ago has sparked the search for its companion piece, and a fat bounty of at least $1 million is on the line. For the last three months, the Louisiana State Museum has displayed a […]
If you happen to be on North Broad Street on a certain weekend in May – the third Sunday to be precise – there’s a good chance that the corner of Orleans Avenue will be bursting with energy: people on the sidewalks and the neutral ground all centered on the black and creamy gold clubhouse […]
4Number of Carnival parade organizations that refer to themselves as Knights rather than Krewe: Babylon, King Arthur, Chaos and Sparta. Top 2Parade triple-header daysSun., Feb. 22: Okeanos, Thoth and Mid-City.Mardi Gras, Feb. 24: Rex, Zulu and truck parades 17Number of significant Carnival-related anniversaries being celebrated this year.Zulu -100thDoubloon -50thAl Johnson’s song "Carnival Time" – 50thKnight […]
“It was the first night parade I saw! It changed my life!” That’s a strong statement from Mardi Gras guru Henri Schindler, but he’s happy to pay that tribute to a longtime Carnival club, the Knights of Babylon. As Schindler explains, “There were no parades during World War II and 1946 was my first Mardi […]
Prominent New Orleans brand names are increasingly remerging in real estate listings as more of the historic buildings and sites affiliated with them are converted into residential developments. The latest locally important commercial name to join the likes of Falstaff, Krauss and Crystal Hot Sauce in the new apartment and condo boom is Blue Plate […]
The Italian Barrel (430 Barracks St.) is less than a year old, and I feel a bit foolish that I’d never heard of it until recently. It is the realization of a dream for owner Samantha Castagnetti, a native of Verona, Italy. While in Italy, she operated a wine bar, but always wanted a more […]
Carnival season in New Orleans is every great celebration, every one of life’s memorable moments and every good thing that happens to us mortals, all wrapped up in one huge bow. It is New Orleans’ gift to the world. The celebration of this season sets the tempo of our area for the rest of the […]
The “new suit” of Big Chief Theodore “Bo” Dollis of The Wild Magnolias ain’t so new any more. Still, the rumpled but magnificent creation of feathers and beads and satins painstakingly created for Mardi Gras 2008 is carefully laid out on a landing near the door to Dollis’ apartment and calls to him every morning; […]
Dear Julia,While driving through lower Mid-City, I happened to notice a large stucco home at 219 South Miro St. It is both distinctive and gigantic, quite unlike the rest of this Victorian neighborhood. Can you tell me if anybody well-known was associated with this magnificent home?Arnold JekinsMid-City This villa-like 1920s residence was once home to […]
Like my mother-in-law Ms. Larda always says, God don’t open a window without shutting the door. Easy for her to say, being as her insurance paid off and she is back in a nice renovated house right where her old one was. My house is an oily spot in the Chalmette swamp. But to give […]
A new chef at The Grill RoomDrew Dzejak has been introduced as the new executive chef of the Windsor Court Hotel’s Grill Room. Dzejak most recently worked at the Charleston Place (a property of the Orient-Express chain) in South Carolina, where he was critically acclaimed. The Grill Room, notes publicist Cary Alden, is popular for […]
Newsweek reports some ‘Katrina kids’ are amongst the sickest children in the U.S. In Newsweek, Children’s Health Fund president and Columbia University professor Irwin Redlener described children who spent extended periods of time in Baton Rouge FEMA trailer parks as “the sickest I have ever seen in the U.S.” The Columbia/CHR study of 261 of […]
The beats are “dirty-dirty” New Orleans, with lyrics to match, on Troubled the Water, the debut album from Blackkoldmadina (aka Kim Rivers Roberts). Roberts’ Katrina footage was recently turned into a film, Trouble the Water, which won a grand jury prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. (And “Trouble the Water,” in Dec. ’08, was […]
The song comes at you like a smiling freight train, bravura saxophones and the lyrics a sweet roar by the “Carnival Time” man himself, Al Johnson: The Green Room is smokingAnd the Plaza’s burning downThrow my baby out the windowLet those joints burn downAll because – It’s Carnival time! This month marks the 50th anniversary […]
Scott Boswell gilds the lily in the same way that Fabergé did with his jeweled eggs: with panâche and an over-the-top style. The dishes at his flagship restaurant Stella! typically feature ornate arrangements of luxurious and unusual ingredients, many seldom seen elsewhere in the city, making a visit a special occasion. And now that his […]
Fleurs for FebruaryIt is no secret that New Orleans is an inspiration for the artistic. Fleur D’Orléans owners Thomas Laird and Jann Fenner have been consistently awed by the art, architecture and heritage of the city. Monthly, the pair introduces new products, based on treasures they’ve spotted on the streets and inside a variety of […]
Carnival season usually begins with festive Twelfth Night celebrations. This year there was also something else: a raid by police, initiated by the archdiocese, of people praying in their church. What happened on Twelfth Night as the archdiocese moved to squelch attempts to save two churches – Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Henry […]
During the bad days shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin went to Atlanta where he met with a group of black displaced New Orleanians. The crowd had the concerns that might be expected with their lives uprooted and the city’s future uncertain. Nagin tried to answer as best as he could. But what the […]
Your guide to the dining, entertainment, lifestyle, culture and people of New Orleans from the trusted editors of New Orleans Magazine, New Orleans Home, New Orleans Bride, and St. Charles Avenue.
Ed. Note: Baghdad Dispatch is written by two female Marines with local connections; Marine Capt. Mary Noyes, an attorney (right); and Marine Maj. Meredith Brown, an Iraqi Women’s Engagement officer (left). Their respective columns will appear in alternate months. Noyes moved to New Orleans in 2006; Brown is a native of Marrero.
As we approached Christmas in Ramadi, my thoughts turned to the holiday and culinary traditions that I was missing. My husband and young son are home baking cookies, butter tarts and mincemeat tarts. They have put up the Christmas tree and hung the wreath on the door and the stockings by the fireplace. Gifts have been purchased, wrapped and placed under the tree. My son has written his first letter to Santa Claus and placed it in the mailbox for the mail lady to pick up and carry to Santa. Don’t you love the imagination of a 4-year-old?
In Camp Ramadi, Al-Anbar we’re hoping that our own Christmas feast will come together without a rogue Iraqi trying to lob a mortar round into the camp. Every now and then this happens, especially on days of significance. None of us worry about it too much because his aim is terrible and he doesn’t have the proper weapons systems to effectively launch a mortar. The real concern we have about Christmas dinner is that we might run out of food. You see, we’re not going to eat Christmas dinner at the messhall this year. We did that at Thanksgiving and found it lacking, bless their hearts. We are going to make our own Christmas dinner. A bit of a challenge when you consider the fact that we don’t have a local grocery store to purchase the ingredients or a kitchen in which to cook.
OK, let me explain how all of this came together. When we were out buying cows (yes, dairy cows), in early November to give to the widows, one of my colleagues, commonly known as “Princess,” decided that we were going to make our own Christmas dinner. She asked me if I could cook. My response to her was “I’m a New Orleanian. Of course I know how to cook; and I love to cook.” This response thrilled her because she has been to New Orleans and has enjoyed the culinary treasures of Bayona, Acme Oyster House and other lovely dining spots in our fair city.
Since Princess was going home for Thanksgiving, she thought that we could pull off a nice Christmas dinner if she mailed all of the ingredients that we would need to make a green bean casserole, a yam dish, fresh bread using our other colleague’s bread maker (some of these State Department civilians are self-indulged), homemade cranberry relish, dressing and a rib roast. We wanted to fry a turkey but we couldn’t manage to get a turkey fryer to Ramadi in time. And then there was the issue with buying and transporting the turkey. Turkey isn’t a common item to be purchased in Iraq. One colleague offered to buy one in Jordan as he traveled through there on his return from leave. A turkey from Jordan sounded too risky of a proposition to consider. Obviously, ham is out of the question as we’re in the center of the Middle East and eating pork is considered sacrilegious. So we settled on the rib roast from the Post Exchange in Baghdad.
When Princess returned from leave the other day, she was weighed down with her luggage, none of which contained clothing. Mind you, bringing a lot of luggage to Camp Ramadi isn’t an easy feat, even if it’s filled with clothing. In order to get to Camp Ramadi, one has to fly in a helicopter; and in order to get on the helicopter, one has to haul all of her luggage from the staging area (where the passengers wait while the helicopter lands) to the helicopter, all the while moving quickly in the strong winds generated by the helicopter. Princess with her pile of trunks, suitcases and carry-on bags wasn’t to be dissuaded from bringing Christmas dinner to us just because it had to be carried 200 meters through high helicopter winds. Ever the charming and diplomatic State Department employee, Princess lathered on her lip gloss and went to work convincing the flight line crew that they should help her with her bags and the bags of her traveling companion Mike, who had hand-trucked all of the food-laden luggage to this point. Now, it’s important to understand that there aren’t a lot of females – American, civilian females – that ride helicopters from Baghdad to Camp Ramadi. Needless to say, Princess’s lip gloss and charm convinced the soldiers that worked on the flight line to lend assistance to this nice lady.
When Jen opened her luggage for us, she revealed cans of green beans, two Dutch ovens, cans of chicken broth, bottles of spices, bags of bread stuffing, cartons of fried onions, pounds of frozen bacon, jars of homemade cranberry relish, a rib roast large enough to feed 20 people (we invited 24 so we’d have to make it stretch) and beautiful paper plates and napkins with the perfect theme for celebrating Christmas in the desert – a palm tree decorated with Christmas lights. Others in our section contributed goodies, such as a beautiful dried fruit and nut tray and homemade cookies. There will be no alcoholic beverages served because we are at war.
Once all of the food was stowed away in its appropriate place, it was time to design and issue the invitations. We had a finite amount of food and plates and, since we don’t have the ability to send someone to the corner store for more of anything, we knew our list had to be precise. We also knew that everyone we invited was going to attend because the messhall option isn’t worthy of consideration when a homemade meal is being offered. Princess wrote the perfect invite that elicited giggles from all of those invited. It invited us to “table the war” for an hour or two in order to enjoy a homemade, American Christmas dinner. The war being ever-present in our minds, we designated a code word for the occasion – Jesus – in order to be sure that there would be no infiltrators.
With the invitations delivered, we set to the task of assigning people with Christmas chores. Princess, who had already made the homemade cranberry relish, would make the green bean casserole and stuffing; Chris would cook the rib roast; Mary and Georgia would decorate the table and the trailer; Jeff would be on bread duty; and I would make the yams. As I pointed out earlier, we don’t have access to a kitchen so we had to be creative in how we cooked our meal. The plan was to have Chris use the grill made by the Seabees to cook the roast, Jeff would use his bread maker to turn out fresh loaves of bread, and Princess and I would cook the green bean casserole and yams in the Dutch ovens in the coals of an open fire – no kidding. We also took advantage of the fire by burning all of the classified material that has accumulated in our secure spaces. After all, we are at war.
By the time y’all read this story, Christmas will have passed and Mardi Gras will be around the corner. Several of y’all probably wonder how Mary and I passed our Christmas Day out here in the war zone. What is important to know is that the security situation in Anbar has improved tremendously over the past 18 months. So much so that we are planning a nice Christmas dinner, most of which will be cooked outside. And don’t worry about the radical Iraqi that might take it into his head to lob a mortar at the camp... he always misses.