Mardi Gras Krewe of House Floats
Sadly, in-person parading will not happen in New Orleans this Mardi Gras season. While nothing can recapture the joy and camaraderie of watching parades with friends and family, the Krewe of House Floats looks to at least keep the creativity and artistry of Mardi Gras alive by decorating houses as floats. Nearly 40 neighborhood sub-krewes have formed throughout the Greater New Orleans region, including Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, and Terrebone Parishes.
In a partnership with the Krewe of Red Beans, the Krewe of House Floats started a “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” project that will put carnival artists to work creating the house floats. Donations to the crew will be directed to organizations that support those most affected by the cancellation of parades.
Keep an eye on the krewe’s website, KreweOfHouseFloats.org, for a map of participating houses. It is expected to be online by February 1st. You can also search social media with the hashtag #kreweofhousefloats.
Krewe organizers encourage New Orleanians to visit as many house floats as possible, but to be pandemic-safe while doing so (wear a mask, keep a respectful distance from others admiring the house floats).
JAMNOLA (Joy, Art, & Music – New Orleans) is an experiential pop-up at 2832 Royal St. that gives audiences of all ages a deep dive into New Orleans culture. Visitors can enjoy fun, interactive art exhibits in its 12 rooms. In one case, you can hop in a bathtub with a crawfish. Photos are encouraged!
Bywater Brew Pub
In December, the Bywater Brew Pub opened on 3000 Royal Street. The restaurant serves Viet-Cajun food from chef and New Orleans native Anh Luu. The eclectic menu features fried chicken, banh mi burgers, tofu burgers, and Vietnamese Crawfish Étouffée Nachos. There are also five brewing tanks and a full bar.
“Payton and Brees: The Men Who Built the Greatest Offense in NFL History”
At press time, the Saints have clinched their fourth straight division title, but their playoff fate is uncertain. However, all Who Dats know Drew Brees’ Hall of Fame career will come to a close soon. “Payton and Brees: The Men Who Built the Greatest Offense in NFL History” is a look at the 14-year partnership between coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees.
When their relationship started, Payton was a young unknown and Brees was a castoff QB many thought had suffered a career-ending shoulder injury. But, as any New Orleanian knows, the two would eventually lead the Saints to their first Super Bowl championship in the magical 2009-10 season.
Reporter Jeff Duncan, formerly of The Times Picayune and currently of The Athletic, authored the book using 14 years of firsthand reporting on the two Saints legends plus dozens of interviews with players, coaches, and executives.
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Tank and the Bangas’ “Friend Goals”
Local musical group Tank and the Bangas released a new album in November titled “Friend Goals.” Featuring six songs, the band brings their lively combination of funk, soul, hip hop, and rock back with memorable songs like “Self Care” and “Mr. Insta.”
During the pandemic, you may have worn out your favorite places in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes for outdoor activities. If you feel like taking a trip across the Causeway, you can enjoy the Tammany Trace, a hike and bike trail stretching from downtown Covington through Abita Springs, Mandeville, and Lacombe before ending in Slidell.
The land comes from an abandoned Illinois Central Railroad corridor. You can see nods to the Trace’s roots in places like the Covington Trailhead, which resembles an old-fashioned railroad station and includes a covered waiting platform, a clock tower, a bandstand, visitor center and a small movie theater. For those with families, the Koop Drive Trailhead and Kids Konnection Playground are worth a visit.