This is the riverboat Natchez. It does daily cruises on the Mississippi River. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Must-do things in New Orleans for first-time visitors

First time in New Orleans? Hosting friends/family who have never been to New Orleans before? We’ve got you covered. The city is jam-packed with things to do, but there are a few classics you need to hit. These are the places everyone is going to ask you about when you get home. This list should keep you busy for a two or three-day weekend trip. And, please bring your appetite.

This is the Louisiana Welcome Center on I-10 near the Mississippi state line. There's free Community Coffee inside if you stop by. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

This is the Louisiana Welcome Center on I-10 near the Mississippi state line. There’s free Community Coffee inside if you stop by. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

BASIC ADVICE

Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to do a lot of walking and our sidewalks are uneven. Skip the fashion show and wear something you can walk several miles in. No one cares if you are wearing sneakers, slip-ons or flip-flops. Most places don’t have a dress code and won’t care what your footwear looks like.

In the summer, grab a hat if you are going to be outside. We have plenty of hat stores here if you want to buy one. Here’s more advice about picking a hat and where to get one in New Orleans.

Leave your big purse at home. Minimize what you are carrying around. Get a small, crossbody purse, small clutch or a wallet in your front pocket. Big purses are easy to grab on the street and you don’t want to juggle it in a crowded bar. Continue reading

mardigras_beads_header

Where to recycle Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans

Hope you survived Mardi Gras. You probably have a house full of glitter and beads now. We sure do. Before you throw away your loot, consider your other options, such as DIY projects and recycling.

Looks for these purple and gold bead recycling bins around the metro area.  Arc of New Orleans will recycle your Mardi Gras beads and throws.  (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

Looks for these purple and gold bead recycling bins around the metro area. Arc of New Orleans will recycle your Mardi Gras beads and throws. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

Mardi Gras beads are a good way to add some flair to your house. One of our favorite DIY bead projects – medallion magnets. See that idea plus 23 other creative things to do with Mardi Gras beads here.

Just want all your Mardi Gras stuff gone fast? Consider donating it to Arc of New Orleans. This nonprofit uses your beads to help employ people intellectual disabilities and delays in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.

Look for the purple and gold Arc bins at these locations:

Continue reading

Mardi Gras 2014 (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

2015 New Orleans Mardi Gras parade schedule (and parade suggestions)

Happy Carnival season! One of the biggest misconceptions we’ve run into with new residents about this time of year is that Mardi Gras is a single day. Technically, it’s true – “Mardi Gras” is Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. However, Carnival season – which ends with Mardi Gras – is several weeks. That means multiple days of parades, king cakes and Mardi Gras festivities. This year, we are getting a good three weeks of parades.

Things kicked off last week with the very lewd (and creative) Krewe du Vieux in the French Quarter. Check out our Instagram page for photos or swing on over to LA to NOLA for more pix from that night. Here’s a relatively tamed snippet from it:

Continue reading

Exhibit Be in Algiers (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Must-do free thing in New Orleans: Exhibit Be

Exhibit Be calls itself one of the largest street art installations in the American South. It’s part of the citywide Prospect 3 art event, and it closes today (Jan. 19) for good. Best part – Exhibit Be is totally free.

It’s open from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. today.

For Exhibit Be, several talented street artists covered an empty apartment complex in Algiers with art. The art is meant to spark a discussion about urban blight and affordable housing, among other things. Read more about Exhibit Be.

Exhibit Be closes today (Jan. 19) for good. Here's the schedule. (image via Exhibit Be)

Exhibit Be closes today (Jan. 19) for good. Here’s the schedule. (image via Exhibit Be)

Today, Exhibit Be is going out with a bang. There’s a full lineup of musicians, with Erykah Badu headlining. Also on today’s list:

Continue reading

This Mardi Gras tree was inside a business in the central business district of New Orleans. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, NewinNOLA.com)

Convert your Christmas tree to a Mardi Gras tree (via L.A. to N.O.L.A.)

CarlieKollathWells:

This is good perspective from Laura Cayouette about a New Orleans tradition – the Mardi Gras tree. Lovely photos too. But, if you don’t want to go this route, the city will pick your tree up if you leave it by the curb.

Originally posted on L.A. to N.O.LA:

Mardi Gras is early this year with Krewe du Vieux kicking things off on January 31st. I’m still eating treats from my Christmas stocking but it’s already time for King Cake. I had my first slice at Sucre on the afternoon of Twelfth Night. Throughout the rest of the country, people are taking tinsel of trees and setting them by the curb while here in New Orleans, many of us convert Christmas trees to Mardi Gras trees.

View original 224 more words

Christmas lights on the live oaks on St. Charles Avenue (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, NewinNOLA.com)

Christmas 2014 in New Orleans (photo highlights)

Happy New Year! Tonight (Jan. 5) wraps up the Christmas season in New Orleans. Tomorrow (Jan. 6) is the twelfth night of Christmas and officially starts the carnival season, which ends with Mardi Gras. There are two parades Tuesday – Joan of Arc and the Phunny Phorty Fellows.

It’s a nice tradition – extending Christmas and taking more time to enjoy the festivities. Towns, businesses and residents leave their trees and lights up until Jan. 6. Then, the Mardi Gras decor comes out. Some people even transition their Christmas trees to Mardi Gras trees.

Santa visited the fish at Audubon Aquarium. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com)

Santa visited the fish at Audubon Aquarium. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com)

Before we dive into the carnival season, we wanted to take a moment to say farewell to Christmas and New Year’s. New Orleans, you sure do know how to do the holidays.

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite holiday events and moments below. What were your favorite holidays moments in New Orleans? Suggestions for what we should do next year?

Continue reading

how to make buttercrunch candy (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield, Southfacin' Cook)

How to make chocolate-dipped buttercrunch candy (recipe)

I don’t claim to be original, especially when it comes to candy. My grandmother, the willful and beautiful Rosalie Dial, made divinity and fudge, but that’s about it.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Recently on NPR, I heard this recipe by Andrea Gunst and had to try it. Here’s the original recipe. I’ve added a little salt, which Andrea didn’t. I wrapped the candy in small plastic bags and put it in pretty holiday tins for gifts. Here are two NPR segments about the candy:

//embed.wbur.org/player/hereandnow/2014/12/10/buttercrunch-ham-recipes

//embed.wbur.org/player/hereandnow/2012/12/17/gunst-holiday-gifts

Advice from NPR: You can double the recipe, but if you want to make more you shouldn’t try to multiply the recipe by three or four — simply keep doubling the recipe. One cookie sheet makes one batch. Continue reading

Christmas in Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Caroling in Jackson Square – what you need to know

We’re caroling in Jackson Square tonight (Dec. 21) with a thousand or so of our closest friends.  It’s a free, magical event in New Orleans. Open to everyone. And again, 100 percent free.

The event starts at 7. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.

French Quarter Festivals Inc. hosts Caroling in Jackson Square. (photo via FQF Inc.)

French Quarter Festivals Inc. hosts Caroling in Jackson Square. (photo via FQF Inc.)

Song sheets and lights are provided. Arrive early because this is a popular event and you want to get inside the gates. Christmas attire is encouraged. Think sweaters, Santa hats, bells, etc.

You stand while you carol so wear comfortable shoes. Don’t bring chairs unless you physically need one.

If it is raining, the event will be moved inside the cathedral. Seats/pews are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Plenty of places to park:
Continue reading

LUNA fete at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2014 (photo b y Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

LUNA Fete: must-see New Orleans event this week

We love free events and LUNA Fete is a spectacular one. It’s a dazzling light show this week only (ends Saturday, Dec. 6).

LUNA fete at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2014 (Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

LUNA fete at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2014 (Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

The show is projected on the front of Gallier Hall, which is near the corner of Poydras and St. Charles. It’s show at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Lasts 9 minutes and is a mini history of New Orleans. It’s beautiful and good for all ages.

The show is put on by the Arts Council of New Orleans. Read more about the show here.

Street parking is available, but go early if you want to score free parking. We went last night and fed quarters into one of the street meters.

Here are some of our pictures from Wednesday’s show:

Continue reading

yellow squash (image via flickr user Mike Mozart and used under a Creative Commons license)

How to make yellow squash casserole (recipe)

I love squash and enjoyed growing it in my garden for years. For now, because I’m working away from my garden, I get mine at the local farmers’ market (locations in New Orleans).

This recipe is inspired by one of my and my son’s heroes, Sidna Brower Mitchell, who is well known as a great cook and food writer but perhaps even more importantly as the unjustly maligned student editor of The Daily Mississippian on the Ole Miss campus when it was forceably integrated in 1961.

My recipe is an adaptation of hers, with a few extra ingredients. It’s great in the summer when the produce is bountiful. It’s also an easy veggie side dish throughout the year.

Continue reading