Meeting Matters

Submitted by Christi

People who know me, know I’m not fond of meetings. In light of that, it is funny how often I find myself attending meetings. However, if you must you must and, when you must, you may as well make it as pleasant as possible, right? On a recent evening, a meeting was held in my home. We extended out the dining table to make a long “conference” table and then added some food and flowers in order to create a friendly, relaxed environment. Here is how it turned out.

spring meeting

Read more…

A Random Day In New Orleans

Submitted by Christi

Sometimes, there are just things about New Orleans that make me smile. Running errands in New Orleans is unlike running errands in many places. For instance, on the way to the grocery store, this is just one of the sites you might see:

mardi gras tree

Beads hang from tree like this giving them beautiful purple, green, gold and pink colors. They also adorn the live oaks along the parade routes all year round. The evidence of beads that were caught by the trees instead of the people lining the streets.  Read more…

What is Mardi Gras in New Orleans All About?

Submitted by Christi

If you’ve never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you might find things a bit confusing. Since moving to New Orleans, I know, I have found myself explaining to friends all over the country about Mardi Gras and Carnival and Krewes and parades and well, the whole mystical, magical, crazy, fun season.

The Carnival season begins on January 6th which is known as Twelfth Night or The Epiphany. You can read more about Twelfth Night here and here. This is traditionally when the Christmas season ends. Carnival is celebrated by many with parties and balls. In New Orleans, it is often “Krewes” that lead the celebrations. While the celebrations are ongoing throughout the Carnival season, they all culminate on Mardi Gras day Read more…

More Carnival Ball!

Submitted by Christi

As promised, here are more pics from the Nyx Myx Masquerade Ball. First, let’s talk food.

Here is the menu from the dinner portion of the ball. – YUM!


The dessert was a work of art. See the little Nyx candy in the whipped cream in the middle. Beautiful and edible! Everything was deeee-licious.

Did you notice the hot pepper jelly vinaigrette mentioned for the salad. It was incredible, so I had to find a recipe for it. I found this recipe online and it was very good. I made it with Tabasco Hot Pepper Jelly and put it over butter lettuce with blue cheese and toasted pecans. Easy and yummy – I highly recommend this.

Okay, back to the ball. Read more…

Walk in the Hood

Submitted by Christi

The weather has been gorgeous lately. The first weekend of Carnival parades was beautiful and now we are getting a brief break before the big Superbowl weekend before resuming with Carnival. Stay tuned for more posts about that. In the meantime, it was nice to just get out in the beautiful weather and enjoy. Here are a few things that visitors to New Orleans might see if they get out of the Superbowl “zone” and on to a streetcar and come up to the wonderful neighborhoods  here.

Beautiful blooming tulip magnolia trees . . .


that roll out, or rather drop a lovely pink carpet, just for you.

And . . . that is just the beginning.

Click for larger images and captions.

Welcome to New Orleans!

Outdoor Wedenesday

Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer

Deck the Halls with Carnival Color

Submitted by Cindy

Carnival parades start in earnest this weekend, so I figured it was about time to decorate the house.  Purple, green and gold (especially purple) tends to clash with my décor, so the challenge is to achieve a festive look that you can live with for a couple of weeks.

Here is the dining room centerpiece, using ceramic masks that were favors at a formal dinner we attended, and beads in a cut glass bowl.  The gold “dubloons” are parade throws that typically reflect the year’s theme.  These are from Rex.


I did the pillow years ago to display pins given as “krewe favors” by maskers after a “callout” dance at a carnival ball.  Now, every king sends his lady friends a custom designed pin to mark his reign, and I have a whole drawer full of memories of various big nights.

Read more…

Dancin’ to the Mardi Gras

Submitted by Cindy

Music is the essence of Mardi Gras – you can’t have a parade, a carnival ball, or even a party without it.  Our carnival music reflects our joie de vivre spirit, our desire to let the good times roll.  The classic hits range from funk to R&B to brass band, but they have one thing in common – they make you want to dance.  To get you in the mood, I’m going to let you listen to some of them.

Perhaps the epitome of Mardi Gras songs is Professor Longhair’s “Go to the Mardi Gras”.  Can you hear the parade coming down the street?

Next, try Al Johnson’s “Carnival Time”.  His one hit was big enough to propel him into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Here’s “Mardi Gras Mambo”, by the Hawkettes.  This little known group would evolve into the Meters, the standard bearer for New Orleans music.  The lyrics are great.

Finally, there is “Second Line” by Stop, Inc.  If you’re actually part of a parade, you’re the first line; if you’re just dancing behind it, you’re in the second line.

There are many other classics, such as the Meters “Hey Pocky A-Way”, “Iko Iko”  (originally by Sugar Boy Crawford but popularized by the Dixie Cups), and, “Big Chief, Pt. 2“, also by Professor Longhair.

Are you dancing?

Masquerade Ball

Submitted by Christi

Carnival Season in New Orleans is a wonderful time. Then entire season assaults your senses with colors and sound. One of the most sensational events, for me, is the Nyx Myx Masquarade Ball. It is invitation only and formal tux and floor length gowns and masks are required.

I have lots and lots of pictures to share, but in this post, I’m going to concentrate on the tables and atmosphere of the room.

The colors, the lights (notice the stars on the ceiling and the colored uplights on the walls) everything sparkled and glittered, including the people.

This ball was held at the Hilton Riverside in their grand ballroom and, grand it was. Read more…

Report from the Rex Den

Submitted by Cindy

The central command post for the Rex parade is housed in a nondescript industrial building.  For most of the year it just serves as a workshop for float construction, but really comes alive with activity as Mardi Gras day approaches.  I recently attended “Ladies Day at the Den”, and wanted to share some photos with you.

The theme for this year is “All Creatures Great and Small”, a line taken from an 1848 poem by Cecil Alexander.   I can’t show you the floats for this year, but they always beautifully and artistically develop the chosen theme.  Since they are built on the chassis of old cotton wagons, they shimmy down the street, adding to the magic of the presentation.  Tractors now replace the mules that originally pulled the floats.

Read more…

Mardi Gras Centerpiece

Submitted by Christi


Some people have asked about the centerpieces that I used at the recent Epiphany brunch.

mardi gras centerpiece


These were very easy to put together and you can use the same idea with materials that you have available for whatever holiday you are celebrating.

Here is what I used:

Centerpiece materials

Greenery from my yard (you can use whatever is available in your area), a pile of Mardi Gras beads, a large glass hurricane (I have a set of 6 of these that I’ve had for years and use all the time), a brass charger, a vase that is more narrow than the hurricane and some leftover ornaments that are in Mardi Gras colors. Read more…

Mardi Gras Pink!

Submitted by Christi


As we get closer to Mardi Gras, Krewes are busy attending their Mardi Gras balls, gathering throws and making plans for their parades and parties. I am a member of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx. We parade at night on the Wednesday before Mardi Gras. We recently had a membership meeting/party to hear the latest about our parade.

We were invited to wear our favorite Mardi Gras costumes and we found got to see our Krewe costume for 2013 and also found out our parade theme. This theme is kept secret until we roll. What I can tell you is that it is a great theme and it will be a fabulous and fun parade!

Float Leiutenant

When we arrived at the meeting, it was a challenge to find other members who were riding on the same float. Our float lieutenant, Kim, said, “I’m the one in the pink wig.”

ping wigs

Hmmmm, looks like she was everywhere! LOL!

We had delicious king cake and lots of fun and I can’t wait for the parade! Here are some more pics from the party. In the next week, I’ll show you some pictures from our fabulous Nyx Myx Masquerade Ball.

Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound


Winter Gardens

Submitted by Christi

In late December, my husband and I took a walk around a garden district neighborhood in New Orleans. We took pictures of a lot of the Christmas decorations, but I also enjoyed seeing all of the things that were in bloom here in New Orleans. The things that bloom change from month to month and I’ll have another post showing you what is in bloom soon. Here is what we saw that beautiful winter day: Read more…

Mardi Gras Gumbo

Submitted by Christi

It’s been pretty rainy around here for the past week. The perfect time for gumbo. Okay, really any time is the perfect time, but today, it chased away the gloominess from the sky and helped restore the Mardi Gras mood.

Okay, so I took a few shortcuts on the gumbo. Don’t judge me for being smart enough to not try making this for guests on a weeknight when I’ve been working all day without cutting some corners. 🙂

So, here is my “hurry up version.” Read more…

Epiphany Brunch

Submitted by Christi

Last Sunday, January 6th, we had an Epiphany brunch here with people from our church and friends. Church members provided food and it was great fun. My contribution was a king cake and a sausage and hash brown egg casserole (see the recipe in today’s lagniappe).

Here is the table:

The King Cake sets the mood for the celebration.

The tradition of the king cake is that it is shaped as a crown (to represent the crowns on the wise men who visited the baby, Jesus). A small plastic baby is inside one of the pieces of cake. If you get the piece with the baby, you are supposed to bring a king cake to the next gathering. Read more…

Mardi Gras Time!

Submitted by Christi

It’s official – the Mardi Gras or Carnival season has begun here in New Orleans. As Cindy said in the earlier post, the Mardi Gras season officially kicks off with Twelfth Night or the Epiphany. All of the Christmas decorations are now put away and it is time to start the celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras.

At our house, we started with decorating and then having and Epiphany brunch with our church and our friends. Let’s take a look at the decorations.

Here is the front porch all decked out and ready to become the seasonal header for A Southern Life.

Read more…