As summer grinds on and the peak of you-know-what season still looms ahead it is best to hope or pray that that things remain boring. Perhaps you are inclined to seek intervention in bringing this to fruition or keeping things as they are depending on your perspective?

The Best of HexFest and Dining Specials This Week
Witchdoctor Utu

HexFest could be the thing for you.

This weekend, at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel convenes a community of New Orleans’ witches, root workers, Voudou priests, and other magical and mysterious folks from around the world. As the crossroads of Voodoo, Hoodoo, Witchcraft, and Christianity, New Orleans—the French Quarter in particular—has long been associated with spiritual power. For this special “Weekend of Witchery” presented by Brian Cain, Christian Day, and the Witches of New Orleans—forces align for a study and celebration of the city’s spectrum of mysticism in the form of HexFest.

The conference opens Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. with a Riverboat Ritual and dinner held on the Creole Queen steamboat on the Mississippi River, followed by two full days of workshops, drumming, and ritual. Between workshops and presentations by guest speakers, attendees can shop on-site powerful ritual tools, signed books, exquisite jewelry, and spellcrafts handmade by practitioners.

Topics, tours, panel discussions, and workshops include “Execration Magicks, Oh My!,”  “Planetary Magic: The Journey Of Ascension,” “Mediumship – Your Loved Ones Are Closer Than You Think,” “The Magic and Spirits of the Crescent City,” “The Dr. John Tarot,” “Introduction to New Orleans Voodoo,” “Feng Shui Master Class: The Elements in Décor.” Though there are numerous events associated with the gathering, a highlight is “Making and Charming Your Own Juju Fetish,” by Witchdoctor Utu.

Witchdoctor Utu is an author, diviner, founder of the Dragon Ritual Drummers, Niagara Voodoo Shrine, and a member of the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.

He lives in St. Catharine’s Ontario, in the neighborhood where Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman ultimately led those she ushered to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Utu has spent much of his career studying the freedom seekers and the fraternity of the Underground Railroad. Ubu says his book Conjuring Harriet ‘Mama Moses’ Tubman and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad generated global controversy before it was even released, and it was a number one selling book on Amazon.

Participation in HexFest is $150 for day passes; $350 for full weekend with Riverboat ritual dinner. hexfest.com.

The Best of HexFest and Dining Specials This Week

If dining deals are more your speed Coolinary New Orleans continues through the end of the month with many of the city’s finest dining establishments offering specially curated prix-fixe menus at bargain prices. Enjoy 2-course lunches for $25 or less, and 3-course dinners and brunches for $45 or less.

The Best of HexFest and Dining Specials This Week
Chef Prince Lobo of Addis NOLA | Photo by Kat Kimball

Next Wednesday, August 17, Les Dames d ’Escoffier New Orleans’ Global Culinary Initiative will present an Ethiopian Feast at Addis NOLA. The bounty will include lamb ribs, traditional beef kitfo; a vegetarian combo; whole fried fish; mar mitmita shrimp, and doro wat, an Ethiopian chicken stew. During the dinner, Executive Chef Prince Lobo will offer insight and discussion of each dish. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is $75 per person, which includes tax, gratuity, a multi-course dinner and two drinks per person. Advance reservations are required and can be made here.

The Best of HexFest and Dining Specials This Week
Mister Mao Dining Room | Photo Credit Paprika Studios

The following Sunday, August 21, Chef Sophina Uong and husband/business partner William “Wildcat” Greenwell of Mister Mao will continue their Guest Chef Collaboration to benefit Made In New Orleans Foundation (MINO). The benefit offers seatings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., both priced at $75 per person (excluding alcoholic beverages, tax, and gratuity). Amongst the guest chefs joining Sophina Uong of Mister Mao are Brock Seabrook of Daddy Hotbirds; Austin Lane of El Cucuy; Martha Wiggins of Café Reconcile; and Kaitlin Geurin of Lagniappe Baking. Reservations are limited and available on Guerin RESY.

First Course
Enchilada de Mole Verde

Chicken guisado, arbol chile, crema, pepitas, huitlacoche (Mexican truffle)
Austin Lane, El Cucuy

Second Course

Crab Fat Papadi Chaat

Avocado, chickpea crisps, tamarind, passion fruit, hot ass chiles of course

Team Mao, Mister Mao

Third Course
Summertime Shrimp Stew

Smoked sausage, potato, Mississippi okra

Martha Wiggins, Café Reconcile

Fourth Course
Tai Beef Short Rib

Covey Rise summer tomato, watermelon cucumber, Daddy Hotbird fire

Brock Seabrook, Daddy Hotbird

Fifth Course
Sweet Potato Pie

NOLA grown poblano pepper, miso, Louisiana cane sugar

Kaitlin Guerin-Lagniappe Baking

 

That’s it from me. Things are very uncomfortable for a host of reasons right now. Do what you can to make things better.