The past decade has seen an explosion in craft beer breweries, wineries, and distilleries across the world. More and more people are creating their own spirits that consumers can’t seem to get enough of. Even sake, the fermented rice drink that hails from Japan, is being made for new generations in small breweries throughout the U.S.
Yes, that Stormy Daniels. Actress, model, and mom: Stormy Daniels is now a bonafide ghostbuster. Along with her crew, she’s storming across the country, seeking out the dead among us and collecting proof of their existence. Her unusual path to this vocation is full of twists, turns, and even terror.
The Longway Tavern seemed like a breath of fresh air when it opened in 2018. The Leblanc And Smith project was located in the heart of the French Quarter where you seem to only come across storied institutions that you’ve visited many times before or tourist-oriented establishments that don’t have anything exciting to offer a local. The contemporary, exquisitely-renovated gastropub drew in those who had become weary of the Quarter as well as tourists who were looking for something different than the usual.
With the closure of Dick & Jenny’s came Mister Mao, owned and operated by wife and husband team Chef Sophina Uong and William “Wildcat” Greenwell. The veteran culinary and cocktail whizzes are no strangers to the upscale restaurant scene; you’ve probably sampled their stuff at Rockrose (Uong) or the Elysian Bar (Greenwell). But for the last couple of months, they tested out the flavors that would eventually be featured at Mister Mao on the small scale, popping up around town at places including Zony Mash Brewery. Now that Mister Mao has entered the scene as a full-on brick-and-mortar, Chef Uong, bar genius Greenwell, and the whole staff have a place to let their imaginations and skills flourish.
Ten years ago, I interviewed Gojira’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist Joe Duplantier in a tour bus parked in front of The Hangar. Since that time, the band has crossed over from metal nearing the mainstream, inviting in a wide array of listeners and fans that prompted Gojira to headline The Civic Theatre, which they easily sold out. Gojira has experienced rapid growth in the last couple of years, finally earning the recognition they deserve in and outside of metaldom.
The Huns were nomadic warriors who conquered lands from central Asia to western Europe in the 300s and 400s AD. Their best known leader Atilla was so ruthless that the Romans and Visigoths formed a joint army to fight off The Huns in 452 during The Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, but The invading army broke through and pillaged Gaul anyway.
It was the NOLA Horror Film Festival 2019. The Prytania Theater had a small, scattered audience waiting to watch the final film of the evening. Before that movie played, a band was set to perform. Having attended NOLAHFF in previous years, I was intrigued about seeing live entertainment, especially of the musical kind, between films. This particular band looked promising, too. The stage was set with a real coffin and tons of flowers. It looked like an actual funeral.
Chef Eric Cook saw a need for something, and St. John is the answer. Chef Eric Cook who cut his chops in the most popular restaurants in the city and famously opened Gris-Gris on Magazine Street in 2018 felt like there was a dearth of truly authentic, freshly-prepared, and locally-sourced Louisiana dishes in the French Quarter. He felt like he couldn’t enjoy a meal in the area because he knew what was going on in those kitchens.
Band Room: New Orleans is taking over Instagram! You can follow the book at @bandroombook.
When Sucré was originally opened in 2007, Ayesha Motwani was pregnant with her first child. She and her husband had three more children over the years as they became ever more loyal customers to the sweet shop. Then the family learned the sad news. “We were so disheartened to learn that our favorite family sweet spot had closed and would not be a part of our future memories,” Ayesha remembered. Sucré permanently shuttered in 2019 amid scandal and financial losses. “The sexual harassment and exploitation of Sucré employees were shocking and reprehensible to me as well. So was the abrupt disclosure, leaving all those employees jobless without warning.”
Under the glow of tiki torches, she hosts a speakeasy-esque concert series in her own backyard. It’s an intimate view of live music, during a year when live music has been very much elusive. “I have been going to see concerts my whole life. I have never realized how much a musician needs an audience and how much an audience needs a musician,” says Emily Hingle.
How do you keep an interactive, energetic entertainer like Big Sam of Big Sam’s Funky Nation from getting into the crowd as he performs to them? While we must stay socially distanced from each other, Big Sam has found a way to reach into his frenzied fans with his trusty trombone once a week.
It’s no secret that the other major passion of bounce artist Big Freedia is cooking. Since COVD-19 hit and tours got canceled, she was able to delve deeply into her passion of cooking in front of an audience by hosting the Garden Cookout in City Park’s Botanical Garden Kitchen. Since June, Freedia has cooked multi-course meals for her guests, and this is just the beginning of something new. “I want to open my restaurant called Freedia’s. I definitely want to transition into something bigger, and hopefully I get a cooking show on a network where I’m doing something different that no one else has done with their cooking show. I’m just excited to do new and different things exploring the food world.
It’s 5:45 on a perfect Saturday, Fall weather has just arrived, and I’m sitting outside listening to SaxKixAve, a new project from rapper Alfred Banks and Albert Allenback of Tank and the Bangas, live in a concert for the Band Room Backyard Concert series. Life is good, and the thirty other people seated six feet apart in lawn chairs and on blankets seem to agree.
Red Gravy is entering a new chapter, and the staff would like to invite you to experience it with them. Red Gravy’s brand new Magazine Street location (4206 Magazine Street) features different hours and menu items than the formerly breakfast-centric eatery had. You are invited to dine during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM, and you will want to go back for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5 PM to 9 PM.
The Louisiana Renaissance Festival is back in action after uncertainty about if it could proceed due to COVID restrictions. While most of your favorite vendors and entertainers are back, there are some changes to the massive outdoor multi-week festival. All attendees must wear a mask to enter, and there are hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the festival. Social distancing was highly encouraged. Even the Washing Well Wenches, known to drag a couple of men onto their stage, had to adapt using mannequins instead of living, breathing men. That didn’t stop them from ogling them from afar.
It’s a lovely time for a picnic, but you don’t have to sit on the ground in a sweltering park to enjoy one. Picnic Provisions & Whiskey has reopened for those seeking upscale picnic fare created by Tory McPhail, Ti Martin, and Darryl Reginelli. The safe, clean, and adorable space on a tree-shaded corner of Magazine Street, not far from Audubon Park, has a spicy, salty, and savory menu that is irresistible.
If you claim to be a metalhead and haven’t heard of Overkill, you either live under a rock or don’t really like metal all that much. This New Jersey thrash band started up in 1980 and have released a whopping 19 albums throughout their storied career. Finally, they made their way back to New Orleans and put on a memorable show that will last their fans here for years to come.
During a star-studded evening, the House of Blues showed off some new renovations and menu items while also presenting facility upgrades that are soon to come. The Voodoo Garden in particular will be a new oasis perfect for lounging on a sunny afternoon or decadent night on the town. The new House of Blues has more food items including a vegan burger (which went amazingly with the French fry bar and mac-and-cheese station), a private dining area, and much more.
Underneath the stately Orpheum Theater, you’ll find a decadent, dimly-lit, and devilishly fun new drinking hole called the Double Dealer. The multi-room speakeasy pays homage to the 1920s which was 100 years ago now. The walls of the entertainment area are lined with showgirl outfits of the period. If you prefer to have a more secretive conversation, you’re welcome to sit in one of the private booths. I could tell you where the door is to the underground bar, but where’s the fun in that?
The Sylvain Society Young Professionals annual Big Wig Ball was a stunning display of costumes, dance moves, and, of course, wigs of all shapes, sizes, and materials. Some of the towering wigs were even too tall to go through the doorways of the stately Opera Guild Home on Prytania Street.
Gone are the days of Babes and Beignets, the luxury New Orleans and travel lifestyle brand built by Alessandra Madrid Soto and Maggie Robert some years ago. As the brand has progressed and grown, they have decided to rebrand as Babes.XO. The launch party took place at The Gallery on Magazine with two Seven Three Distilling cocktails, delicious beignets, and lots of costumes.
Among the rows upon rows of comics, jewelry, original and fan art that made up Wizard World Comic Con were festooned fans young and young at heart. Superheroes, villains, furry creatures, and real icons from history were represented by those who spent hours perfecting their outfits. In true NOLA fashion, subkrewes from the Krewe of Chewbacchus were on hand to recruit new members.
Chef Amy is no newcomer to Copper Vine Wine Pub’s kitchen. She’s been there for a long time crafting dishes that have garnered headlines. Now, she is making her own signature dishes that have been peppered throughout the dinner and brunch menus.
Commander’s Palace is always a top choice for high-end diners when they want to eat somewhere special, and that sentiment is more special than ever during Christmas time. Right now, as you enter the famed, long-running restaurant, you are greeted at the door with jingle bells placed around your neck
NOLA Brewing is one of the longest running breweries in the greater New Orleans area, and they’re only getting bigger and better every single year. NOLA Brewing teamed up with the organizers of the T-Bois Blues Festival to bring the funk to the brewery with bands including the Lost Bayou Ramblers. This was also a great way for NOLA Brewing to unleash their latest creation Down the Bayou Strawberry Blonde Ale.
There’s a new local liquor in town, and this one came out just in time for a sensational Saints season. Who Dat Vodka is a spirit with soul. Before even sampling it, you can see the NOLA influence on the gorgeous label featuring a cast of old school NOLA characters. The release party took place at Gris Gris Restaurant on Magazine Street complete with Saints superfans and a brass band.
Taking over the building that housed Cava on Harrison Avenue, Junior’s will be a welcome restaurant that will more reflect the makeup of the neighborhood: families with small children. The open, airy restaurant features two floors of luxurious space and a wide balcony. The upstairs area will be reserved for adults only 4 PM- til’ Monday-Thursday and all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The small, but mighty menu boasts family-friendly, gourmet options like Jr’s Onion Rings which have a fairly strong pickle flavor, Crispy Cornbread paired with an arbol chile-infused honey butter, and amazing Brussel Sprouts drizzled with lemongrass ginger dressing. The Country Fried Rib had a thick, tasty crust which encased the savory boneless ribs. Don’t forget to end your meal with some delicious Gail’s Fine Ice Cream which comes in a variety of flavors.
Junior’s opens to the public on Monday, November 11.
Fried chicken was obviously the reason so many people flocked to Woldenberg Park, but you can’t have hot, salty fried chicken and sides without something to wash it down. The Crown Royal Lounge was an amazing respite in the midst of the fest. They had their own DJ who kept things spinning, a Crown Royal throne to take pictures on, their own Gus’s Fried Chicken booth, and of course, copious amounts of Crown Royal, Crown Royal Vanilla, and Crown Royal Apple.
Local author and radio show host Poppy Tooker released her latest cookbook “Drag Queen Brunch” at Brennan’s Restaurant. The jam-packed event featured many of her drag queen friends who also lent recipes to the pretty-in-pink cookbook filled with new and classic New Orleans recipes and the colorful history of drag in the city. They were even able to pop some bubbly by sabering several bottles of champagne.