This year marks the first year since Hurricane Katrina that the Phunny Phorty Phellows, those glorious masked revelers who set the tone for Carnival season – will be ringing in the season from their traditional route on St. Charles Avenue. In the years following Hurricane Katrina, the Phellows’ route had been changed to the Canal Street line.

The Phellows are a rich part of Carnival history: In the 1800s they were known for their satirical parades, and today their costumes reflect the same lighthearted sentiments. After decades of not parading, they were revived in 1981 and have been part of the fun ever since.

The group will embark at 7 p.m., and you can look for them along on St. Charles Avenue, all the way from the Riverbend to Lee Circle. The ride, of course, will take place on Twelfth Night – Jan. 6 – so make sure to bundle up and catch some Mardi Gras cheer – we hear it’s contagious.


Happy Birthday to St. Joan of Arc
Maybe you celebrate on Jan. 6 because you’re a good Catholic observing Epiphany, but it’s more than likely you enjoy the idea of an official kick-off to Carnival season, merry maskers and King Cakes; there’s another reason to go out on the town on this date.

The free-thinking French heroine, St. Joan of Arc, was also born on this day in 1412. So on what would be her 598th birthday, the St. Joan of Arc Project, aka the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc will be honoring her for the second year with a party and parade.

Like Joan, the ladies of the project are a spirited bunch; they aim to represent the medieval times in which she lived; offer artistic renditions of her pursuits, successes and failures; and ultimately celebrate the French – and Joan’s – influence on our city.

The fete will be held on Jan. 3 – it’s a 12-hour extravaganza at the Bienville House Hotel complete with panel discussions and workshops. Artists, musicians, scholars, teachers and French culture experts will be on hand.

The parade will be held on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. sharp, and winds through the French Quarter. Check out the historic characters in costume and the hand-made throws.


Verdi’s Requiem
While the New Orleans Opera Association is known to put on some intensely dramatic productions, Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem – a Roman Catholic funeral Mass – brings this notion to a whole new level.

Verdi’s admiration for the Italian poet Alessandro Manzoni was the inspiration behind this work; he began working on it in 1869 as part of a Mass to honor Rossini after his death, but due to writer’s block (of sorts) Verdi was unable to finish it until five years later. Fortunately, during these years Verdi put deep thought into this tribute, and the result is a heavy, haunting work infused with rhythmic vitality, exhilarating melodies and dark themes of death and loss – it also touches upon the influence of poetry and humanist philosophies.

With internationally known singers and talented choral groups, including the New Orleans Opera Chorus, the Loyola University Chorus and the New Orleans Vocal Arts Choral, the Requiem will be performed at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts on Jan. 22 and 23, starring soprano Jennifer Wilson, mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby, tenor Gordon Gietz, and numerous others.

Information, 529-2278,

Quintron & Miss Pussycat at NOMA
The eccentrically hip performing artists Quintron and Miss Pussycat avidly contribute to the artistic scene of Bywater and beyond, and they’re taking their act to the New Orleans Museum of Art on Jan. 30 for a unique performance that combines various types of creative talent. Quintron’s genre is somewhat of a hybrid of electronica, techno and rock mixed in with robotic swamp sounds, and his partner-in-crime, the pretty Miss Pussycat, is a puppeteer who adds to the bizarre yet fascinating high-energy performance that certainly breaks boundaries. “Parallel Universe: Quintron and Miss Pussycat Live at City Park” will be the pair’s first museum exhibition. Miss Pussycat will debut a new music video, and an original music album by Quintron will be recorded on-site at the museum. The second floor will be filled with hundreds of puppets arranged in miniature landscapes. Quintron’s contribution will consist of two components: an interactive display on his patented Drum Buddy sound machine, and the commitment to record his new album within the museum, surrounded by art for inspiration. Members of the public will be invited to enter the recording studio and observe the artist at work.

Information, 658-4100,