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:

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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.

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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?

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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:
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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:

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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.

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Thanksgiving turkey (photo by Tim Sackton/Creative Commons license)

Thanksgiving in New Orleans

Happy Thanksgiving! Will this be your first Turkey Day in New Orleans? You are in for a treat. Here are some options from our Instagram friends and other people we’ve asked.

• Grab your friends and cook a meal for Friendsgiving. Here are our foolproof recipes for a Southern Thanksgiving, including cornbread dressing.

• Head to a restaurant. These 5 places are cooking a classic spread. Don’t want turkey? All of these other restaurants are open.

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At the Louisiana Seafood Festival, food and drink vendors set up in City Park. No admission. Pay for what you eat. Good times. (photo of the 2013 festival by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

Meetup: Louisiana Seafood Festival this Saturday (Oct. 11)

We love seafood! How about you? If you’re like us, The Louisiana Seafood Festival is perfect for you. Free admission and tons of seafood vendors. You pay for what you eat so you control how much you spend.

Mr. B's served bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits at the 2013 Louisiana Seafood Festival. So good. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Mr. B’s served bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits at the 2013 Louisiana Seafood Festival. So good. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

#NewinNOLA tip: It’s cash only so bring your money.

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tailgating in Champions Square during a 2013 game (image courtesy of Champions Square)

Advice for tailgating in Champions Square

Who dat!! That, my New in NOLA friends, is a phrase you should get used to in New Orleans. It is the rallying cry for Saints fans. Here’s the song to get you in the mood:

One of the best places to hear the cheer – and watch the Saints game – is inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. However, the majority of Saints fans don’t have gameday tickets so we find other options. Your next best bet for home games – free tailgating at Champions Square next to the Superdome. (Here are sports bar suggestions from Eater if you want to go that route)

Champions Square is an event space connected to the Superdome. It’s free to get in, there’s entertainment before the game and the game is shown on a big screen in the square.

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