New Orleans became home to many thousands of Vietnamese people following the fall of Saigon in the early 1970s. This weekend, the Vietnamese community celebrates the annual free, family-friendly Tet Fest at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church (14001 Dwyer Blvd.) Attendees can enjoy traditional Vietnamese cuisine, dance and music, children’s activities and stunning firework displays nightly. The festival kicks off on Friday evening, runs through Sunday, and features lively and vibrant performances that offer a snapshot of Vietnamese heritage and culture. Dragon dances, drumming performances and live music showcases are among the festival’s riveting acts. Traditional Vietnamese staples such as spring rolls, báhn mì and pho can be purchased at Tet Fest. All cuisine is prepared by the Queen Mary of Vietnam Church.
On Sunday, Kathleen Robinson and Laura Joffrion, the mother/daughter team behind of FAIT | NOLA, will conduct a Mardi Gras headdress workshop. With a lifetime of sewing experience and a fashion degree from the Fashion Institute of Design + Merchandising, Kathleen and Laura have a host of knowledge to help you create a unique, standout look for the season. They have collected a wide variety of extra-large silk flowers, sparkly accents, and thrift store add-ons to inspire your design. All supplies will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring any oddities you would like to add to your design. Workshop admission includes a hair band and all decorating materials (glitter, sequins, glue, pom poms, etc) as well as plants and hands-on assembly and care instructions. Lunch, wine, and a cocktail punch inspired by the Talk About Good II cookbook, the inspiration for a current exhibition at SoFAB (1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-0405, southernfood.org), will also be provided.
Menu: Crawfish Macque Choux , Quiche Lorraine , Charlotte Russe , White Wine, Iced Tea, Seasonal Cocktail Punch
Cost: $100 per person, $90 for NatFAB Members. Workshop, three-course luncheon, iced tea, water, and wine are included in the ticket price.
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Ralph’s on the Park (900 City Park Ave., 488-1000, ralphsonthepark.com) is hosting a Galantine’s Day celebration for women and their gal pals on Feb. 13, with a Sweet 16 Two-Course Lunch for $16 from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Happy Hour, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The happy hour will feature a $20 Champagne flight with bubbly by Perrier-Jouet, Dumangin and Mumm Brut Rose; French Kiss cocktail (pineapple and raspberry-infused vodka), part of Ralph’s on the Park “Cocktails with a Cause” program in which a portion of a purchase of a specialty cocktail benefits a different cause each month. For February, the French Kiss benefits the American Heart Association. Three dollar craft beer, $5 snacks and select wines by the glass will also be on offer. Also, just for the day the Shop at Phina (phinashop.com), will bring Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day merchandise, such as jewelry and apparel, to the restaurant for purchase.
Jack Rose ( in the Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St Charles Ave, 323-1500. jackroserestaurant.com ) will also celebrate Galentine’s Day on February 13. In addition to Chef Brian Landry’s traditional dinner menu, the eatery will be offering specialty brunch items like the famed chicken and waffles as well as Veuve Clicquot Bottle Specials (Yellow Label $50; Rosé $65).
Have a great week, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love.