NOWFE Kicks Off

The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is back and bigger than ever this June 7-12, attracting foodies and wine connoisseurs from across the country. It starts by kicking off its 30th anniversary with the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award Gala on Tuesday. Local restaurateur icon Frank Brigtsen is this year’s recipient, celebrating a career of bringing fine dining and local culinary mentorship to New Orleans for more than 50 years.

A series of wine dinners at some of the areas most beloved dining establishments will showcase local cuisine along with top wine pairings, top tier wine labs and education experiences, two Grand Tastings and a delightfully cheeky burlesque brunch, hosted by New Orleans burlesque queen Trixie Minx, highlight the week-long slate of activities.

NOWFE not only brings great people, food and wine together, but works to raise funds for beneficiaries each year. To date, the experience has raised more than $1.5 million for local non-profit hospitality organizations. This year, NOWFE is teaming up with the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) and Café Reconcile, highlighting the work that each does to educate and empower young people looking to get started in hospitality at all levels.

It’s a great way to eat, drink and be merry, and I can’t think of a nicer way to kick off summer.

Summer Blockbusters and More

Speaking of summer, the heat is on…literally…which is why I’ll be heading over to The Broad Theater to catch a fun flick or two, along with a refreshing beverage in the air conditioned glory. The theater is currently screening mega-hits like “Top Gun: Maverick” (pro-tip: check out New Orleans Magazine’s throwback Persona profile of local actor Greg Tarzan Davis, who landed a role in the movie), “Bob’s Burgers, The Movie” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Jazz Fest fans will also want to keep the beat alive and catch “Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story,” which highlights the fest’s 50th anniversary with its colorful history, the heritage of New Orleans with cameos from icons such as Irma Thomas, Tarriona “Tank” Ball, Ben Jaffe, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffet and many more.

Jewish Museum Grand Opening Fest

While the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, has been open for a year at its 818 Howard Avenue location, the museum will finally get to really celebrate New Orleans-style this Saturday and Sunday. The museum, which highlights the history and culture of southern American Jewish people and families with 9,000 square feet of exhibits and artifacts spanning 13 states and 300 years, will be free and open to the public, with a party from noon to 4 p.m. featuring music, kids’ crafts, food, shopping and more. There’s an additional Patron Party, Member and Donor reception and a Jazz Brunch celebrating the history of the museum’s collection and its home on Howard Avenue.

Costume Time

The Carnival marching and beading krewe that I am privileged to be a member of, the fabulous Dames de Perlage, recently announced its 2023 Mardi Gras theme. While I can’t reveal it until Twelfth Night, I can tell you we are all already hard at work at hand-embroidering our corsets and headdresses for next year, and I am sure we are not alone. Krewes across the city are all hard at work planning, sewing costumes, creating plans for floats, learning dance routines and more.

When possible, we try to keep things local. Two of my favorite places that I’ll be dropping by in the next few weeks are NOLA Craft Culture in Mid-City (your one-stop shop for glitter, trim, sequins, craft classes and so much more) and Gary’s Arts, Crafts, & Needlework in Metairie (a mecca of beads, jewelry-making supplies, glitter, ribbon and every craft supply you may need). Be sure to check them out for more than just Carnival supplies, as well.

Mardi Gras is a year-round effort, and there are many more places that we will be visiting as we get closer to Mardi Gras, from Jefferson Variety to Broadway Bound, The Bead Shop, Plush Appeal, Fifi Mahony’s and more, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint, thankfully.