The One With New Orleans

Last Friday I kicked off a fun quiz and invited y’all to guess where in the world I was. Many of you guessed correctly—the Big Easy: New Orleans! A special mention goes to T.B. Markinson and Lorraine Kleinwaks for guessing right on the first day.

I’d been to New Orleans once before, during Mardi Gras. I was 18. The city has a decidedly different feel when masked people aren’t throwing plastic beads at you from atop floats. I hope you enjoy a short photo tour of the city.

Mardi Gras beads adorn fences and light posts all year long.

Mardi Gras beads adorn fences and light posts all year long.

Home in the Garden District

Home in the Garden District. I could show a dozen photos of homes — each more gorgeous than the next. 

This is one of the few surviving "cornstalk" wrought iron fences in New Orleans.

This is one of the few surviving “cornstalk” wrought iron fences in New Orleans. This style was one of the most expensive to produce. 

Having drinks on the porch at The Columns hotel and watching the streetcars pass.

Having drinks on the porch at The Columns hotel and watching the streetcars pass. Highly recommended! 

Reggie hanging out on the Mississippi River levee.

Reggie hanging out on the Mississippi River levee. The levees on the Mississippi River have been expanded since Hurricane Katrina. 

Lovely French Quarter digs.

Lovely French Quarter digs.

Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral on a rainy morning.

Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral on a rainy morning, but…

that didn't stop me from waiting in line at Cafe du Monde.

that didn’t stop me from waiting in line at Cafe du Monde for beignets. Cafe du Monde might serve other items, but I never thought to look at a menu.

Word of advice: do not wear black while eating beignets. Beignets are fried dough covered with powdered sugar. They might serve other items at Cafe du Monde, but I never thought to look at a menu.

Word of advice: do not wear black while eating beignets. Beignets are fried dough covered with powdered sugar. 

Grilled pecan pie at the Camellia Grill, a greasy spoon in the Carrollton neighborhood. This was easily the best thing I ate in New Orleans.  The best time to go is after midnight. Even then, expect a line.

Grilled pecan pie at the Camellia Grill, a greasy spoon in the Carrollton neighborhood. The place was closed after Hurricane Katrina until April 2007. The front door was covered with hundreds of notes from neighbors who missed it.
This was easily the best thing I ate in New Orleans. The best time to go is after midnight. Even then, expect a line.

Sinful.

I was told this was calorie-free. What?!?

Hansen's is a hole-in-the-wall bungalow on . They serve snow cones to which you can add a variety of flavors...

Hansen’s is a hole-in-the-wall bungalow on Tchoupitoulas Street opened by Ernest and Mary Hansen in 1939. Now the place is run by their granddaughter. They serve snow cones to which you can add a variety of flavors…

I chose cream of nectar. It doesn't look like much, but it's refreshing on a hot day.

I chose cream of nectar. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s refreshing on a hot day.

I can't leave you without a grainy photo from a night out in the Marigny neighborhood, listening to the well-known Kermit Ruffins on horn.

I can’t leave you without a grainy photo from a night out in the Marigny neighborhood listening to the charming Kermit Ruffins on horn. Yes, he is wearing blue suede shoes. 

Thank you for posting your answers. You helped raise $54.00 for Rebuilding Together New Orleans, an organization that helps repair and rebuild homes for people in need using a combination of volunteers and professional labor.

Have you been to New Orleans? Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Where in the World Am I? (Clue 3)

This is the last day! Have you made your guess yet?

I am…somewhere. It’s up to you to guess where. I’ll post three clues and each day you can post your guess in the comments. Your guess will count toward a donation to a local charitable organization. Last time I ran a Where in the World Am I, it was so much fun to read all of your guesses, so without further ado…

Clue # 3:

There’s so much good music in this city! 

Music

For each comment posted between now and next Friday, I’ll donate to a local charity (which I’ll reveal on April 24th because the organization is so closely tied to the city). Next week, I’ll let you know where I am, who guessed correctly, and the charity.

Guess away in the comments below! (One guess per day, please.)

Check here for clue # 1.

Check here for clue # 2. 

Have a great week, everyone! I know I will. 

Where in the World Am I? (Clue 2)

For the next two days, I have a fun quiz for you all! Don’t worry, this isn’t like your school exams. There’s no chance of being sent to the principal’s office.

I am…somewhere. It’s up to you to guess where. I’ll post three clues and each day you can post your guess in the comments. Your guess will count toward a donation to a local charitable organization. Last time I ran a Where in the World Am I, it was so much fun to read all of your guesses, so without further ado…

Clue # 2:

This city has a rich literary history. 

Jonathan Swift

For each comment posted between now and next Friday, I’ll donate to a local charity (which I’ll reveal on April 24th because the organization is so closely tied to the city). Next week, I’ll let you know where I am, who guessed correctly, and the charity.

Guess away in the comments below! (One guess per day, please.) Stop by tomorrow for clue number three.

Check here for clue # 1.

Where in the World Am I? (Clue 1)

For the next three days, I have a quiz for you! Don’t worry, this isn’t like your school exams. There’s no chance of being sent to the principal’s office.

I am…somewhere. It’s up to you to guess where. I’ll post three clues and each day you can post your guess in the comments. Your guess will count toward a donation to a local charitable organization. Last time I ran a Where in the World Am I post, it was so much fun to read all of your guesses, so without further ado…

Clue # 1:

I am in a city on a river. 

City on a river

For each comment posted between now and next Friday, I’ll donate to a local charity (which I’ll reveal on April 24th because the organization is so closely tied to the city). Next week, I’ll let you know where I am, who guessed correctly, and the charity.

Guess away in the comments below! (One guess per day, please.) Stop by tomorrow for clue number two.

Resurrecting the Friday Five (or More)

I have a confession to make: I miss the Friday Five.

For those of you relatively new to this space–I used to post a round-up of five interesting things I’d come across that week. It was fun to share links to articles, books I’d read, and cool sites. I stopped the Friday Five about a year ago because I wanted to be able to write about things that didn’t fit into the format.

But I realized how much I enjoy and look forward to these kinds of posts from other bloggers like Nina’s Do Listen Read post, and Tammy Strobel’s Happy Links, and Let It Be Sunday from Joy. I always find a gem or two I never would have come across in the deep, dark crevasses of the Internet.

So I’m bringing back the Friday Five! (Is that applause or crickets I hear through the Interwebz?)  I think I’ll keep monthly  so I can keep posting longer pieces on specific topics and there might be more five. So…I’m not sure what to call it — the Monthly Few? The Every-So-Often Half-Dozen? I’m open to suggestions.

Without further ado…

Deconstructing the cookie. I don’t bake often, mostly because my results look and taste like frisbees. So I loved Tessa’s scientific study of the perfect chocolate chip cookie comparing things like granulated sugar to brown sugar, adding flour, and melting the butter. (I assume the same theories apply to most other flour-based cookie recipes.)  She also has a troubleshooting guide, which clearly I need.

Kimmy.  The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has been my guilty pleasure this week. Someone in my office recommended this show (a Netflix original program), which I’ll admit, sounded a bit kooky at first:

From “30 Rock” executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock comes this hilarious comedy series starring Ellie Kemper (“The Office,” “Bridesmaids”) as a woman who is rescued from a doomsday cult and starts life over as a nanny for a socialite (Jane Krakowski from “30 Rock”) in New York City. Armed with just a backpack, light-up sneakers and a couple of past-due library books, she takes on a world she didn’t think even existed anymore.

But if Tina Fey is involved, I’ll give it a chance. This show is like eating a bag of potato chips. It’s fun and charming and cliche, and, similar to eating potato chips, I feel a bit guilty in the morning.

The Last Ice Merchant of Ecuador. Cultural change and adaptation often occurs over generations, but this short documentary (about 15 minutes) is a fantastic glimpse into traditions lost to progress.

From the New York Times article:

For over half a century, Baltazar Ushca has hiked up the slopes of Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s tallest mountain, to harvest the glacial ice that covers this dormant volcano. In the past, up to 40 ice merchants made the journey up the mountain at a time; today, however, Baltazar works alone.

Fanesca for the Soul. Now that I’ve got you thinking about Ecuador and since last week was Easter, I want to share this wonderful essay by master writer Calvin Trillin. Here, he takes us along on his quest for fanesca, a soup that is only made in Cuenca, Ecuador, during Holy Week. I love how he makes the mundane laugh-out-loud funny. And since I’m speaking of Cuenca, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you in the direction of Kathy’s blog. Kathy and Sara are Americans in Cuenca and having the time of their lives. (Hi, Kathy, we miss you!)

Thank you, Patti, for posting this link that explains the Theory of Relativity in a way that I can understand, i.e. an infographic.  I feel like I finally have a grasp on it. Sort of.

Are you at AWP? Like, right now? How is it going? I really wanted to go this year, but the reason I’m not leads me to a teaser for next week.  Coming next week: a quiz, a vote, and a donation to a worthy cause. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!