City of the Dead

Submitted by Cindy

As Easter approaches our thoughts turn to loved ones who are no longer with us.  I made a trip recently to Metairie Cemetery, where my family is buried, to place flowers on the tombs.  While newer than a number of the city’s cemeteries, it is one of the largest and most historic.

View - Metairie Cemetery

It was previously the site of a horse racing track, Metairie Race Course, founded in 1838.  During the Civil War it was used as Confederate Camp Moore.  The track went bankrupt during reconstruction, and the site was chartered as a cemetery in 1872, with its design influenced by the oval layout.  In 1991 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cemetery is the resting place of over 9,000 people, including 9 Louisiana governors, 7 New Orleans mayors, 49 kings of Carnival, and 3 Confederate generals.  With the largest collection of elaborate marble tombs and funeral statuary in the city, the artistry alone is well worth a trip.

Confederate monument

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Fish on Friday

Submitted by Cindy

New Orleans is a very Catholic city.  I’m not Catholic, but I heartily endorse one of the faith’s tenets – the “sacrifice” of eating seafood as opposed to meat.  On a recent Friday during Lent, I decided to honor the occasion by featuring Louisiana specialties from the sea.

For starters, we had Crawfish Bisque.  I have to confess that it wasn’t my creation – it was stashed in the infamous freezer after a catered party I hosted.  The main course was Trout Pecan accompanied by a rice pilaf.  My husband caught the trout while on a male bonding office outing, and it arrived home cleaned and filleted.  (Any time, dear!)  The dessert was a praline parfait.


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Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Submitted by Cindy

On a recent Sunday morning 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 23 foreign countries took to the New Orleans streets.  My running days are over, but I can’t resist going to cheer them on, and sympathize with their pain.  It was a perfect, cool winter day, with the sun peeking over the oak trees as the runners filled both sides of St. Charles Avenue.

In New Orleans we can turn any event into a party!    A jazz band from Tulane University started up at 7 AM.  Cheerleaders from a local high school sang their encouragement, waving big records as part of their routine.  Neighbors lined the route just as for a parade, though most were drinking coffee rather than the typical beer.  We brought our coonhound to cheer them on, and she provided a welcome distraction to the monotony of 26 miles. Read more…

Throw Me a Cabbage!

Submitted by Cindy

We have lots of folks of Irish ancestry in New Orleans.  Irish immigrants in the 19th century dug the canals that drain the city, and we will forever be grateful for their backbreaking contributions.  It is no surprise that we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with not one, but four parades – Uptown (starting in the Irish Channel), Metairie (an adjacent suburb), and two in the French Quarter/Downtown area.  Yesterday I put on my green T-shirt and fuzzy headband with shamrocks on springs and headed for a party in the ‘burbs.

These parades are not known for their artistic merit.  They are a great place to watch the antics of the marchers (who typically have consumed a bit of beer), hang out with friends, and most importantly, to catch the complements to your corned beef.

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Cream Soup a la John Besh

Submitted by Cindy

I attended a program last week featuring the noted chef John Besh as speaker.   A native son, he is “dedicated to promoting the foodways of Southern Louisiana”.  Chef Besh owns nine restaurants and hosts a syndicated TV show, but he gets equal satisfaction from cooking for his wife and four sons.   He prepared cream cauliflower soup for us, a simple dish in line with his latest book – My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking. 

This is my kind of cooking – no firm recipe, just throw in a bit of this or that.  Use ingredients that you have on hand, and feel free to make substitutions.  (I doubt if my creations would turn out nearly as tasty as his!)   Of course, a couple of non-staple items can add a special pizzazz.  While the soup was cooking, Chef Besh gave lots of cooking tips, and entertained us with stories from his cooking career. Read more…

Second Line Brunch

Submitted by Christi

This past Sunday, my husband and I attended a lovely brunch at New Orleans’ Second Line Stages, which is a movie production studio owned by Susan Brennan. The luncheon was a fundraiser for Young Life, which is wonderful Christian organization for young people.

The theme for the brunch was a second line. (See this past post for a description (and video) of a second line.) It was held in a sound stage at the studio.

You can see that this is a very large area and it was certainly a fun place for the brunch. Read more…

Container Veggies

Submitted by Cindy

March 2 is the last spring frost date in New Orleans, and I usually try to get my first vegetables planted around then to beat the summer heat.  That was my project for a recent cold weekend, with lows in the mid-30’s but no frost.  Since yards in the old part of town tend to be small, I’ve been container gardening for over 20 years.

In went the tomatoes and peppers.  Also for good measure bibb lettuce (a little late), green beans, and a basil plant.  I passed on the eggplant for now even though they were available because cold weather supposedly stunts their growth.  I usually plant them in the beginning of April.  The okra will get their turn sometime in early summer.


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Supper in the Kitchen

Submitted by Christi

I love my formal dining table and setting it for dinners is always fun, however, sometimes, when we are just entertaining another couple, that table is really just too big. I always think about the old movies where there was long, formal dining table and a couple was sitting at opposite sides, being waited on by formal servants who are summoned by a bell. Remember that? I hope so, otherwise, I’m just sounding crazy . . .

Anyway, in cases of a small group, I like to set a less formal table in the kitchen, like this:

Add some flowers . . .

Some food, wine and most importantly, people and . . .

let the fun begin! (Note: I have cropped the identity of my friends – I need to start letting people know that they could show up online when they dine here).

We had a lovely evening sitting around the table, eating, sipping wine and visiting.

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch