Halloween in New Orleans | Part II

Submitted by Christi

Okay, I showed you a lot of the houses with their fun Halloween decorations yesterday. Today, I want to show you a really fun house on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and State Street. It is the Boneyard. There is an article in on the Tulane News site that tells about the family that puts up these fun decorations.

There are more than 50 cleverly displayed skeletons to entertain you. Here is a shot from the local Uptown Messenger at night, showing how fun they look all lit up:

Let’s take a closer look at some of these:

Click on “show as slideshow” to see full size.

Oh, I almost forgot this picture. The sun was shining brightly and, even though you can’t see the bones very well, I thought this picture was great. Do you see beautiful sunrays or spooky ghosts?

Happy Halloween!

Need something to sip as you are greeting the trick or treaters tonight? How about some Caramel Apple Cider?

Today’s Lagniappe: Caramel Apple Cider

1 Gallon apple cider
6 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
3/4 cups jarred caramel sauce
whipped cream

Heat apple cider, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Before serving, stir in caramel sauce. Serve topped with whipped cream and a shake of cinnamon and a drizzle of additional caramel sauce. This can be made in a slow cooker as well to make your house smell all Autumn-y.

Halloween in New Orleans | Part 1

Submitted by Christi

I don’t think it is possible to get all of what I have to show you in one post, so this is one of those episodes to be continued . . .

Halloween in New Orleans is a BIG deal to put it mildly. In terms of celebration, it is second only to Mardi Gras. Lots of decorations, parties and fun. Now, me, I’m not so big into decorating for Halloween as I am for Fall in general. My one nod to Halloween is this Jack-O-Lantern:

Pretty scary, huh? I do have a lot of Fall decorations, just not so much with the ghosts and goblins. I do love seeing those things around town though. They are lots of fun and, of course, New Orleans is supposed to be one of the most haunted cities in America. Personally, I’m not looking for any ghosts!

Here are some pictures from Uptown and in the Garden District:

Click “show as a slideshow” for a better view and some pithy commentary. 🙂

Here is a cute spider that I thought would be fun to do with kids:

halloween spider

This was made with a black trash bag, some construction paper cutouts for eyes that had been drawn upon and then some black plastic plumber thingy’s (or whatever those things are called) for legs. How cute is that?

There are lots more pictures to show – particularly the “Bone House” that deserves its own post. Tune in for that tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a preview:

Bone Yard

You know you are going to have to have something to munch on while you are looking through those pictures. How about some Butterscotch Haystacks?

Looks like Bailey the wonder dog would like a bite. Sooo easy to make and they only take about 5 minutes to put together:

Today’s’ Lagniappe: Butterscotch Haystacks

Makes 12 large or 24 small “haystacks”

Melt 1 package of butterscotch morsels in the microwave (microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between until smooth). Add 2 – 3 cups of chow mien noodles to the melted butterscotch along with 1/2 cup of spanish peanuts. Stir to combine.

Using 2 spoons, drop “stacks” of the mixture onto wax paper or parchment paper or tin foil, or whatever you have handy. Let cool until set and then enjoy!

Hurricane Reflections

Submitted by Christi

Watching all the devastation that is happening on the East coast this week has had me reflecting on my first hurricane experience here in New Orleans this year. Back in late August and early in to September, we endured Hurricane Isaac.

Hurricane Isaac stayed in this same location for hours and hours.

While we did not experience such devastation in our neighborhood, many in surrounding parishes are still struggling to get back on their feet.

Debris in the street during Hurricane Isaac

The worst we endured here was hour after hour of high winds as Isaac just didn’t want to leave us and the resulting power outages. Lots of limbs and leaves and a little bit of roof damage was also a result.

More debris – thankfully, the powerlines held up (even though we did not have power).

My heart goes out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. I heard lots of advice about how to get past the psychological stress that is caused by natural disasters from people who had endured many hurricanes, including Katrina. The advice ranged from eat lots of carbs and take a Benedryl to leave town and drink alcohol (afterall, this is New Orleans).

I think what helped the most is helping and being helped by neighbors and friends. When you stick together as a community it is very comforting. Without electricity, there are not the distractions presented by tv, computers and other devices. There is just survival and community.

I am praying for all of you involved and invite other readers to join in prayer as well.


A New Southern Beginning – New Orleans Style!

Submitted by Christi

Things are looking different around here. With a new city and coming back after a long hiatus from writing at A Southern Life, it was time for some changes. I’m so excited to show you what is going on in my Southern Life that is now being lived in New Orleans. So, really, what’s not to love? New Orleans definitely has the Southern thing going on but it is also known as a Caribbean city, the Paris of the United States, the “City that Care Forgot,” and so, so much more.

Let’s start where we are now. It is officially Autumn. I’ve been decorating and enjoying the Fall colors that I’m getting inside from my Fall decorations and the mums that I picked up, because, let’s face it, New Orleans is a sub-tropical city and there just aren’t a lot of Fall colors here. It reminds me of when I lived in Dallas and Fall was 2 weeks in December and that was it. That is fine by me. The winters are also much shorter.

When we moved in, we had an empty dining room with a lovely (yet non-working) fireplace:

A room that we call either the living room or the library (because of the bookcase and all of the books to follow):

And lot and lots of boxes to unpack. It took some time to get that done and then, unfortunately, I spent a couple of months recovering from a rib injury and subsequently, pneumonia. Of course, then we had to get past hurricane Isaac (the hurricane that loved New Orleans so much, he just didn’t want to leave). Now, all that is past, and the weather is spectacular and fall has arrived!

Here is some of what is going on:

We are all set for some cooler weather. We don’t really need a roaring fire anyway so these candles will do nicely.

Lots of fall color. What about the table?

Then, of course, there is the porch and the courtyard to show you as well. I think I’ll save that for tomorrow and then, be sure to come back for all the fun Halloween decorations around town to show you. Sunday afternoon, we took the streetcar down St. Charles to see the fabulous decorations there. Can’t wait to share them with you.

Okay, off to get some hot apple cider on this cool Fall evening. Have a lovely week!


Be sure to check out the great before and after posts at Between Naps on the Porch

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

Chargrilled Oysters!

Submitted by Christi

Oysters – an interesting little mollusk. People eat them raw, fried and yes, chargrilled (or charbroiled). I have often wondered, who was the first person to open an oyster and think, “Hmmmm, wonder what this tastes like?” Traditionally, oysters are said to be best during months that end with an “R.” With refrigeration, oysters are safe to eat any month but, apparently, colder months tend to produce better quality oysters than the warm months when they are spawning. Who knew?

We recently stopped into the iconic restaurant, Casamentos on Magazine street here in New Orleans and had some yummy oysters that were charbroiled. They were juicy, buttery and topped with cheese. How bad can that be?

I decided that this was probably something that I could make pretty easily and, sure enough, they were easy and delicious!


Served on this beautiful oyster plate, they were pretty to look at as well. I mean really, oysters can look a bit off-putting, don’t you think? Many of the recipes I looked at called for adding just butter and then topping with a cheese blend. Others added a bit more flavor with anything from garlic, to shallots, and even Worchestershire sauce. I tend to like things pretty kicked up so I added all of those and a little bit more. Here is how I did it:

Today’s Lagniappe: Chargrilled Oysters

Prepare your grill for grilling with charcoal. While the charcoal is getting hot, shuck one dozen oysters. Shucking the oysters was the hardest part of this recipe. Get a good oyster knife and be careful. There are lots of tutorials for how to shuck oysters on the web. Try not to lose too much of the oyster juice as you are shucking. I relegated this job to my husband while I prepared the butter sauce.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic (or to taste), a tablespoon of finely chopped shallot, a dash of Worchestershire sauce, a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of hot sauce (I used Crystal hot sauce). Whisk these all together.

When the coals are white hot, place the oysters, shell side down, directly on the grate. Let them cook until the juice just starts to bubble a bit.

Pour the melted butter mixture over each oyster (be careful here because when it spills over the fire will flare). Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese blend on each oyster and grill until the cheese is melted. The total cooking time for us was about 5 minutes.

Remove the oysters from the grill and serve them on your favorite oyster plate or a platter and serve with hot French bread to sop up all that oystery, buttery goodness.

Bon Apetite, Y’all!

Want to find lots of great recipes? Check out Foodie Friday at http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/.

Fall Dinner Party in New Orleans

Submitted by Christi

Since moving to New Orleans, I have really enjoyed making new friends and renewing acquaintances. I also enjoy having a roomy dining room that makes entertaining so much easier. Recently, we had some friends over for a casual, early fall dinner.

fall dinner party

I was busy getting things ready and didn’t get enough pictures of the table. I’ve gotten out the habit, but promise to do better. 🙂 Anyway, it was a fun evening.

fall dinner party in New Orleans

The china pattern is “Reynolds” by Spode. One of my favorites for late summer, early fall entertaining.

fall dinner party in New Orleans

Happy Fall Y’all! Hope it is off to a great start wherever you are.

For dessert, we had gingerbread with warm caramelized pears and spiced bourbon custard (topped with whipped cream). I came up with the spiced bourbon custard recipe by working with a standard custard recipe. Gotta say, it was pretty tasty. Here is the recipe:

Today’s Lagniappe: Spiced Bourbon Custard

Mix in a saucepan:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup flour

Stir in:

  • 2 cups milk

Cook over medium heat, stirring until it boils. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir about half of this mixture into 4 beaten egg yolks.

Blend into hot mixture in saucepan. Bring just to a boiling point. Cool and blend in 1 tsp. vanilla, 3 tablespoons bourbon and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie mix.

Cover with plastic wrap, pushing down the plastic wrap to touch the custard and refrigerate until ready to use.

I layered this with gingerbread and pears that had been chopped and then cooked down with sugar and cinnamon and then topped it all with whipped cream.