He and She Said:

Hello dear friends, and goodbye.

It’s been a pleasure in so many ways to share our thoughts and experiences over the last several years, and we have been humbled by the interest and the kind words of each of you who decided for some reason to fit our ramblings into the framework of your busy lives.

We started this project as a means of documenting what we were cooking and where we were eating, and it grew and changed over the years, probably sometimes in ways some of you didn’t prefer. We’ll admit that there was never a master plan. But we’ll also tell you that this has been a labor of love in every sense of the term. Our writing may not have always been as good as you would have wished it to be, but we took the process of putting pen to paper (metaphorically) with dead seriousness, and we are proud today to look back on what we produced and note that very rarely did we just mail one in. Most of the time we did our best.

Life changes, doesn’t it? For us as for all of you. And thus we’ve concluded we are at the end of our road as He Said/She Said NOLA. Feel free to blame Yoko if you need to.

Surely there will be other writing in the future. Other projects. What form those will take is a question yet to be answered. But we’ll maintain this domain for awhile, and when/if either of us embark on something new, we’ll let you know on this page so you can decide whether to come along for the ride.

Much love to all of you; you have our unending gratitude.


Steve and Sheree


Why Jazzfest is the Best Fest

He Said:

You either get this or you don’t.

I know many New Orleanians who have no use for Jazzfest. It’s expensive, crowed, hot, and punctuated by the occasional monsoon. A home run national act at the Acura Stage can induce pedestrian gridlock, transforming the Fairgrounds to the 101 freeway in LA.

Every bit of this is true and all of it is justification for calling this thing one big bucket of tie-died overrated and staying as far away as possible.

If that’s all there is.

But there’s so much more, of course, most of it centered around tradition and ritual. If you already get it, you probably don’t need to read this. Or maybe you should just to point out the pieces I miss. If you don’t get it, I’m here this morning to tell you how you can, and that there is hope for you yet. So let’s get ready for the next two weekends and chat about why Jazz Fest is the greatest event in NOLA, shall we? Continue reading

Recap: French Quarter Fest 2013


It doesn’t get much better than this

He and She Said:

Another French Quarter Fest in the books, and for us an odd one. Family commitments took us to Houston over the weekend, meaning we missed out on Friday and Saturday completely. Ever dedicated, we braved the rain Thursday and enjoyed the unexpected sun and light crowds on Sunday, managing to hit about 15 different stages and eat more than we should. All of this out of our dedication to you, constant reader.

So here are our observations, highlights, and lowlights from an abbreviated but nevertheless terrific weekend:

To Each His Own: Funny that as we were thinking again that this is our favorite Fest of the year one of us had a conversation with a co-worker who said ’You can have it; I’ll take Jazzfest everytime.’

Better Lucky than Good: We are told that the crowds on Friday and especially Saturday were intense. Everybody and their brother took advantage of the perfect weather and kept an eye on the sketchy Sunday forecast. Our strange schedule gave us the least crowded Fest we’ve experienced in forever, reminiscent of the days before this thing turned into a monstrosity. Which brings us to our next point.

Go on Thursday: This was the second year of the expanded schedule and Thursday is a can’t miss if you want to avoid the crowds. No Mint, Royal, or Bourbon Stages on those days (maybe next year?) but plenty of great music nonetheless.

PoBoy Wars: Boucherie’s 12 hour was again very solid, and R’Evolution’s new Debris with Truffle Slaw was nice, but both should take a lesson from the king of the hill, Love at First Bite’s mindbending Cochon de Lait, stuffed with about half a hog worth of meat and boasting a smoky flavor nobody else can match. This is the best single dish at the Fest.

Hangover City, Baby: The Genchili Dog from Dreamy Weenie at the Mint was all we knew it would be (we’d sampled it at the Rampart restaurant previously): the new heavyweight champion in the hangover food category. Next year, if you’re hurting from the night before, make a beeline to the Mint for this.


The soon to be legendary Genchili Dog

Other food and drink observations: Mimosas this year, which we don’t think we’ve ever seen before. A terrific Pineapple/Lime/Cilantro Margarita from El Gato Negro along with the always good Sangria. Disappointed in the flavorless Mrs. Wheat’s crawfish pie and in Three Muses for failing to make their new menu item on Sunday, depriving us of the chance to sample it.

New Stages: Two minutes after sitting down at the Palm Court we looked at each other and wondered why this hasn’t always been a stage. Great venue. Likewise the House of Blues Voodoo Garden, an enormous improvement over the upper Decatur stage of the past two years. Next year be sure to check out both of these, but hopefully you won’t wait like we did for one of our lowlights:

Act Like You’ve Been There: Nothing but lumps of coal for Vagabond Swing, a band we normally like. They were 30 minutes late for their HOB set, and it was interesting to watch them sauntering around in no rush at all so that by the time they played their hardcore fans remained and anyone interested in checking them out for the first time had left. Way to grow your market, guys.

K-College at Dutch Alley: Best surprise of the entire Fest. We strolled into Dutch Alley on the way to the upper Quarter and caught a set by 21 college music students from the University of Kent in England who proceeded to light the stage on fire, delivering one blistering funk-infused piece after another, all the while switching vocalists and instrumentalists. They were brilliant, and a set no one at the Fest would want to follow.


K-College Band at Dutch Alley

Other Music Gems: Micheala Harrison and her incredible voice. Check her out at Café Istanbul on Thursdays; you’ll be glad you did. Susan Cowsill’s engaging and enjoyable set. She is funny, talented and a great performer. Linnzi Zaorski at the French Market Stage. Yet another lady with a great voice, and one to look for at Three Muses and The Spotted Cat.

Best Set: We know we missed some great ones Friday and Saturday (we heard good things about the Hot 8 in particular), but our best were the Soul Rebels, closing the Brass Band stage on Thursday. They are fantastic every time we see them.

So yes, it was too short, and yes we plan to make up for it next year, but it was great as always. What about you? Did you hit the new stages? What was the food and the music that blew you away? We’d love to know.

Fox News Was Right

He Said:

It’s the killing, stupid. It’s the killing.

Recently much of New Orleans took a break between the festivals we attended last weekend and the ones we have planned for this one to engage in our other favorite activity: being righteously pissed at anyone who dares criticize NOLA.

We love our festivals here, and our music, and our culture, and our architecture, and our spirit, and our individuality. But most of all, we love us some us.

And we’re good at many things here. One of the things we’re best at is circling the wagons when any outsiders start firing arrows in our direction. That is sadly ironic when the arrows are metaphorical but the ceaseless hail of bullets they frequently reference is all too real. Continue reading

French Quarter Fest 2013 Music Better

He Said:

This thing just keeps on growing, doesn’t it? Last year FQF added Thursday for the first time. All you need do is look at this year’s Thursday music lineup and it’ obvious that was a success. Some acts are back who missed the lineup last year, there are always some new dicoveries, and choosing is as always the hardest thing. You know the drill by now: Below are some best bests, some of the things I find most intriguing about this year’s lineup. But never, never, never just take my advice or anyone else’s; drop in on a set or three from some people you don’t know and you’ll find yourself with some new favorites before the weekend’s over. Let’s get to it:


You know that ‘don’t spend the day in only one place’ advice we always give? Well you could be forgiven for ignoring us a bit on Thursday and hitting the double bill of Joe Krown, Walter Wolfman Washington and Russell Batiste from 12:45-2:00 and Irma Thomas from 2:15-3:45 at the Abita stage. But there are some other gems available on the first day as well.

Susan Cowsill from 4:30-5:30 at the Louis Louis Pavilion is essential. If you’ve never seen her, this would be a good day. If you’ve seen her 50 times, this would still be a good day.

Banu Gibson from 12:30-1:45 at Jackson Square: We used to check out this old-school songstress at Donna’s in the days before the best club on Rampart shut down. Think great musicians and terrific standards.

Soul Rebels from  5:15 to 6:45 at the Capital One stage: This ridiculous brass band missed FQF last year, and it was noticed. Maybe the best act on the first day of the Fest. Continue reading

French Quarter Fest 2013 Food Better

Muriel's Crawfish and Goat Cheese Crepes

Muriel’s Crawfish and Goat Cheese Crepes

She Said:

Sunglasses: check!

Blanket:  check!

Music schedule:  check!

It’s a gloriously sunny day in mid-April as the sun shines blissfully across the manicured lawn in Jackson Square. The honeysuckle and fresh cut grass smell are all but non-existent, instead replaced by wafts of crawfish, slow cooked duck and perfectly golden fried donuts. There is absolutely no place you or I would rather be than in New Orleans at the 30th Annual French Quarter Festival. Showcasing the city’s premier musical talent and food that is sure to make you want to slap your mama, the annual event proves the perfect culmination of all things rendering  New Orleans a truly soul-capturing destination.

Having done this a time or twelve, I strongly suggest a two pronged approach to the fest: list both your music set and food must haves by location and then create a master plan to be sure you get them all. If you are at all like me, the food side might look like it chewed up Rebirth and spit them out. Assuming this to be the case you have two choices:  either go more days (like I opt for) or bring 8 of your closest friends to share your culinary adventure. My plan always hinges on the music as the base with the nearest foot options accompanying the tunes. Time and stomach space is far too precious to waste on average food.

Enter the He Said She Said culinary duo. Our picks are tried and true so you can bet your sweet ass we have sampled damn near every vendor through the years. First things first: keep these few simple rules of engagement in mind and read-on for the best of the fest food recommendations.

  • Steer clear of the restaurants.  They are likely to be over crowded and frankly, that is what every other weekend in the French Quarter is for. Skip breakfast and hit the booths as they open at 11. This helps with pacing your culinary journey.
  • Print out the food list and have it highlighted based upon your preferences. The festival management has done a good job over the past few years of listing food booths by general area.

Newcomers of note are listed under their respective food areas.  FQF added vendors at 500 Decatur Street this year which Idid not break out separately because of the limited depth of options. It is worth a stop however if you are in the area to get a Lasyone’s Meat Pie.

Once again, we use our nearly famous Mardi Gras Indian rating scale to present our favorites by location. Here’s how it works:

Big Chief: The can’t miss, kick-ass, hate yourself tomorrow if you didn’t eat it featured item.

Flag Boy: Close to the Big Chief. Our pick for second best in the area.

Spy Boy: Light on its feet. Refreshing and reviving choices.

Medicine Man: Good for what could ail you. Festival comfort food hearty enough to absorb some alcohol.

Wild Man: Step out of your comfort zone and try something unusual.

We’ll start with Woldenberg Riverfront Stage-

FQFI, I once again beg you to consider splitting out the two areas of food encompassed in the Woldenberg Riverfront Stage listing. There is almost nothing worse than fixing your face for Boucherie’s 12 Hour Roast Beef Po’Boy and realizing that the only thing keeping you from your your ultimate destiny is 3 small stages, harboring six thousand people.

New this year and worth trying at the Woldenberg Riverfront in 2013:

Cool Fruit Sensations:  serving up lemonade, strawberry lemonade, pineapple lemonade and watermelon lemonade in addition to fruit bowls.
Restaurant R’evolution: Beef Debris Po-Boy with Truffle Cole Slaw- definitely on a must-try list!


Big Chief: Boucherie 12 Hour Roast Beef Po’Boy with Pickled Red Onions and Horseradish Crème. There is a reason this dish reigns supreme for a third year- it is just that good!

Flag Boy: Love at First Bite Cochon de lait po boy. Walker’s restaurant in New Orleans East has been showcasing this giant since 2009 under it’s catering arm Love at First Bite. I would say this is a can’t miss.

Spy Boy:  I gotta go with the freeze. If this past weekend was any indication, you’ll be hot and looking for something to keep cool.  Mango Freeze will do the trick.

Medicine Man:  Run on over to Crescent Pie and Sausage for some alcohol absorbing Bad Bart’s Black Jambalaya and a sausage link.  That should do the trick.

Wild Man:  Hands down R’evolution’s Beef Debris Po-Boy with Truffle Cole Slaw. I’ll put my money on this pick any day.

Jackson Square-

Back again from a brief hiatus is Jaques-Imo’s Café with a Slow Roasted Duck Po-Boy and their signature Shrimp & Alligator Sausage Cheesecake. Unfortunately there are no newcomers among the vendors at Jackson Square.

Big Chief: Ahh Muriel’s, how I dream of your Crawfish and Goat Cheese Crepe 11 months per year. Unless this is your first FQF, get here first thing of the day to avoid the obnoxiously long lines. Crepes are the perfect breakfast food!. Located just to the right of the clock facing the Cathedral.

Flag Boy: Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse Prime Beef debris poboy gets my vote for second place at Jackson Square. This is always a solid option. You’ll find them at the Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House booth.

Spy Boy:  Wash some crepes and a prime beef debris poboy down with a little Creole Crème Cheese ice cream with Louisiana strawberries a la Quinton’s Ice Cream.

Medicine Man: Vaucresson Sausage Company’s Creole Crawfish Sausage Po-Boy should do the trick.  If your night was such a blow-out that you are not yet ready for food, start the day with a generous portion of liquid vegetables in the form of a Bloody Mary from Pat O’Brien’s.

Wild Man: I’m going with Jaques-Imo’s Slow Roasted Duck Po-Boy. If you like duck this is a smart bet. If you don’t like duck, you should.

Old U.S. Mint-

Schiro’s Café and Dreamy Weenies join the ranks for 2013. I am very glad to see not only is Three Muses back but they have added a new dish this year. Ultimately I still think the Mint’s food line-up is light in comparison to both its music schedule and its counterparts in other parts of the fest. If you find yourself here for an extended period of time however, fear not because you’ll find something worth your dollars.

Big Chief: Third time’s the charm for The Joint’s pulled pork poboy with coleslaw. This was a very tough decision given the competition Three Muses brought last year with their Lamb Sliders and Feta Fries.

Flag Boy: Give me the Lamb Sliders. It is no surprise as mentioned above that Three Muses gets the number 2 spot.

Spy Boy: Cool off with a Plum Street snoball while you enjoy the shade on the backside or the Zydeco in the sun.

Medicine Man: Dunbar’s catfish and potato salad is sure to soak up some of yesterday’s toxins and get you ready for hair of the dog.

Wild Man: Dreamy Weenies’ Genchili Dog gets my vote. Add some chili and the trinity to mix and you are sure to be cured from whatever spell you might have come under last night.

And there you have it. Our 2013 French Quarter Festival food picks. For the third year in a row, our guide for the discriminating Fest gourmand. Be sure to come hungry, do as much food ‘research’ as you can, and maybe we’ll see you there!


French Quarter Fest 2013: Logistics Better

He and She Said:

Welcome to the 2011 2012 2013 French Quarter Fest.

Last year, we led with the story of the ant and the grasshopper. For 2013, we’re going all corporate on you.

Remember Who Moved My Cheese? Published in 1998, this was the organizational must-read of the fin de seicle, selling over 26 million copies. Yeah, that’s not a misprint. Some guy was struck by the blinding insight that things don’t always stay the same, managed to expand that one-sentence aphorism to about 100 pages (including preface, forward, afterword, acknowledgements, etc, etc), include a cast of characters named Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw (I’m not making this up), and make a freaking fortune. If you ever labor under the illusion that business persons know what they’re doing, pick up a copy of Who Moved My Cheese sometime and disabuse yourself of that notion.

But back to the matter at hand. As always, there is change at French Quarter Fest in 2013, and helping you cope with all that moving cheese (and poboys, and music, and beer, and…) is our pleasure and avocation here at He Said/She Said Global HQ. There’s a new title sponsor this year (Chevron), a new evening concert series, new stages, and a new food area. You know you’ll see our detailed guide to the food and to the music as the week progesses, but today we give you the never-imitated, somewhat legendary tribute to overthinking: our annual guide to FQF logistics, complete with maps and arrows and things, designed to help you get the most out of the festivities.

 Let’s dive right in:

Why to go: Are you kidding me? You do know your pockets are about to get vacuumed by two weekends of Jazzfest, right? Quint Davis could give Walt Disney tips on how to turn people upside-down and shake until their pockets turn inside-out. If you don’t have the spare change to mingle with the tie-dye gentry at the Fairgrounds this is the place for you. A weekend packed with more music than you can imagine, and every bit of it free. You’ll read our primer on this year’s best bets, right? And by the way, every bit of it’s local. No chance here of standing elbow to elbow with 100,000 people listening to someone who hasn’t been relevant since 1974. By the time Sunday night comes, you’ll feel like someone’s poured a barrelful of WWOZ over your naked body. And then there’s the food, a NOLA cornucopia of everything imaginable. And yes, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you on that topic as well, putting ourselves at caloric hazard to provide a Mardi Gras Indian themed guide to the can’t miss selections.

And then there’s the Quarter itself, at its marvelous best this time of year. A spring morning or afternoon on Governor Nichols, Royal, Barracks, Burgundy, and many other streets is a real treat. If all you ever see of the Quarter is Bourbon you’ve really sold yourself short. Despite our occasional snarky comments, we do love Jazzfest, but the Fairgrounds cannot match the living scenery of the French Quarter.

What to Bring: FQF is not Jazzfest. The geography is much larger, and you really need to take that into account. As with Jazzfest, be sure you have a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a camera, and comfortable shoes. Cash is king at the festival booths, but the mighty plastic is enthusiastically accepted at most fine FQ establishments. Many bars have ATMs with the typically usurious withdrawal fees and there is an actual, like, real Regions bank at the corner of Toulouse and Chartres as well.

Travel light. As light as you can. The set up your camp at the Acura stage and wander to return later deal doesn’t really work here. So unless you plan to hang at one stage all day (a practice we strongly discourage) pack as little gear as you can. Consider leaving the festival chairs at home and opt for a blanket instead. We cannot stress enough that exploring FQF the way you should will involve much more walking than at Jazzfest, so plan accordingly. But, the other side of this coin is that shade is readily available all day (check out our map for the 411 on shady music below), in stark contrast to the blast-furnace conditions that can sometime prevail at Jazzfest. And if it rains, no big deal either. Just a hunch, but we think you’ll not have trouble finding a cozy dry watering hole happy to have your custom. That’s a far better thing than standing miserably in a Fairgrounds deluge watching hippies mud-surf as animals walk by two-by-two on their way to the ark. (Anyone out there remember Billy Joel?)

Parking: So, you show up at 1:00pm and can’t believe there’s no place to park. Seriously? FQF is really not an in-and-out event. Our advice: Get there early and make a day of it. The lots on South Peter and Decatur (and pretty much everywhere else) fill up early, and you have to negotiate fifty thousand pedestrians playing alcohol-fueled Frogger to get to them. Believe it or not, we’ve actually parked legally on the street in the backside of the Quarter once or twice, but that was probably before 9am. If you must drive, consider the Marigny or even the CBD.

Your best stress free option is a cab or public transportation. If you drop a few bucks on a cab, so what? After all, it didn’t cost you $50 just to walk into the Quarter. But why not consider a bus or a streetcar? In 2012 our very smart friends over at Just Off the Red Streetcar Line did a terrific job of cataloging the various ways to get your ass to the Fest , and you can help yourself to the fruits of their labor. Just remember, there are many better options than leaving your Escalade across some Quarter resident’s driveway. There’s one number to call to have the offending carbon-footprint towed, and everyone who lives in the Quarter has it on speed-dial. Trust us on this.

Surviving the Woldenberg Stages: If you’ve read us last year or the year before, you’ve seen these maps before, but that doesn’t matter because virtually everyone at the Fest makes their way to the Riverfront sooner or later. Sadly, the Woldenberg stages represent the entirety of FQF for some. First piece of advice: Get around to the other stages. We’ve got details on the ins and outs of each below. But, you’re going to get to Woldenberg sometime, and this is where the complaints about overcrowding really escalate. A big part of that is poor planning. So check out right here our illustrated for surviving the Riverfront, including how NOT to get there, how to manage the most challenging stage at FQF, how to best manage the Abita Stage, and our guide to the Secret Stage:

Woldenberg Stages

First things first: Note the location of the Woldenberg stages on the map above. More importantly, note the streets, Saint Peter, Toulouse, and Saint Louis, that the vast majority of festival attendees use to access these stages. (Also note that new for 2013 is the Natchez Wharf Kid’s Stage at Tulouse and the river; I guess FQF felt this area didn’t draw enough crowds). Let’s take a look at what happens after that:

FQF Cattle Run

In essence, the entire traffic flow for three of the largest stages at the Fest (plus the new Children’s Stage) is compressed into a single walkway about 25 feet wide. This is usually where people start to complain about it being too crowded. Tip number one: Don’t use St, Peter, Toulouse, or St Louis to access the Riverfront. Which leads us to our next tip:

The most challenging stage at FQF, and how to navigate it:

Take a look at this view of the lovely Harrah’s ‘Louis Louis’ Pavillion:

One glance should tell you enough. This is a major stage with some very good acts, but it’s tucked away in a corner with limited green space, and almost everyone accessing the big Abita Stage passes right through the same area. As if that weren’t enough, Harrah’s is surrounded on two-sides by the dreaded food booth gauntlet. Think hard about this Stage. It will always be crowded, and if you want to see one of the late acts it might be best to just camp out there. Tip number two: As the arrow indicates, if you’re going to do this stage, access it via Conti Street, loop through the field behind the food booth gauntlet and come in from the opposite side of the running of the humans. And now on to our next topic:

Beyond the Point of No Return: The Abita Stage

This is the biggest stage, and chances are you’re gonna want to get there sometime during the fest. But, this is also the home of what we call the dreaded point of no return, the place where some throw in the towel and declare French Quarter Fest too crowded for their tastes. After you force your way through the running of the humans and pass the giant bottleneck created by the confluence of the Harrah’s Stage and the Food Booth Gauntlet you’re confronted by another even narrower walkway lined with more food booths before emerging into a meadow with what looks like a tent city occupying every square inch of grass. It’s at this point that some folks give up. But, there is a secret here. Check out this map:

Surviving the Abita Stage:
The bottleneck at the front of the meadow approaching the point of no return is so intense that most fest-goers don’t realize that the Abita Stage is actually less crowded near the front than it is near the back, because people get frustrated and give up, assuming it must be utter madness further forward. Tip number three: Access the Abita Stage from Bienville Street, avoiding the bottleneck completely, and snuggle in closer to the front of the stage. Which brings us to our final segment:

The Secret Stage: The Best Stage at Woldenberg

The Riverside Legacy Stage, or as we will always call it, The Brass Band Stage, is tucked between the Abita Stage and the Children’s area in front of the Aquarium. It goes without saying that you need more brass bands in your life. If you just finished a twelve-hour Hot 8 marathon, you still need more brass band in your life, if you take our meaning. Even better than that is the impact the bottlenecks at the other stages have on this one. Tip number four: Take Bienville Street, avoid the crowds, and hang a right turn directly into the small field alongside the Aquarium and in front of the Brass Band Stage.

Spread a blanket and do what you wanna in the absolute best crowd to music ratio at the entire fest.

There you have it: Four essential tips for navigating the Woldenberg stages. Follow this advice and we promise you’ll improve your FQF experience.

And finally, a few notes on the other stages at the fest:

The Mint: Several interesting secrets here: First, the backside stage along Esplanade gets afternoon shade, so this is a terrific place to spread a blanket. Also, inside the Mint are actual real bathrooms. Enter from either side and go up the stairs. For winos, the absolute most underrated wine list in New Orleans is just across Barracks at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, of all places. And a few doors down from there is our favorite sangria in town (along with great margaritas) at El Gato Negro. For the visually oriented, check out this illustration of the joys of the Mint:

The French Market Stage: Steps away from El Gato Negro is also the French Market Stage. In case you didn’t know, NOLA is a swing-dance hotbed, and this is a great chance to see National Championship caliber dancers grooving to the music with plenty of room to take a shot at it yourself if you’re brave enough.

Royal Street: These are among our faves and often overlooked. Nice places to set up early and catch a set or two of gypsy jazz. Before you leave, be sure to check out the BMI Stage.

BMI Singer-Songwriter Stage: This is a find: a cool respite from the heat and crowds and another good bathroom location. As the name suggests, this stage features intimate 30 minute solo sets emphasizing the songwriter’s craft. Get here at least once.

Jackson Square: A good place to get to early in the day to stake out some grassy space. Tip: Have you ever noticed the alternate Roman numeral 4 on the Cathedral clock? Editors Note: A smart reader pointed out last year that the numeral on the Cathedral clock was indeed an acceptable (though less common) variation on the number 4 at the time it was constructed, but you should still check it out.

Dutch Alley: Secluded and shady; a perfect stop when you want to turn down the volume a bit.

House of Blues Stage: It appears to us that this upper Decatur stage is relocating in 2013 from its former sunstroke inducing corner to the interior of the HOB, giving us yet another shady destination. Always a good thing.

Monteleone/Palm Court: So the Monteleone again sponsers a stage, it is again among our shady venues, but your destination is NOT the signature Carousel Bar in the hotel on upper Royal but instead the Palm Court Jazz Club on lower Decatur and the opposite end of the Quarter, home base of centenarian trumpeter Lionel Ferbos and worth checking out this year.

Made in the shade: It can be hot and steamy out there, and you’ll want to take a break from the sunshine every now and again. As we mentioned above, there are like 1000 bars happy to help you out with that. But if you can’t bear to miss the music, check out this new for 2012 map noting all the shady spots and indoor stages, very important items to add to your strategic plan. As noted previously, the back side of the Mint at Esplanade and Dutch Alley are both terrific shaded outdoor venues. And the BMI Stage in the Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal is a shady courtyard that feels like a secret hideout for grownups. We wouldn’t necessarily use the adjective ‘cool’ to describe Preservation Hall, but it is indoors and thus meets the shade criterion. For the trifecta of music, shade, and A/C, consider both Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse on Bourbon in the Royal Sonesta and the new for this year stage at the newly renovated and always legendary Carousel Bar in the Monteleone Hotel on upper Royal. Here are all the locations:

FQF Shade Map 2013
So that’s it: Our guide to the logistics of our favorite festival. Let us know if these tips help, and let us know if you have any questions we didn’t address. And, here are our comprehensive guides to the food and the music to complete your planning!

NOLA Girl Jam 2013

He Said:

Stuck for something to do in the yawning gap between Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick’s Day here in NOLA? You could do much worse then heading down to the Mint for NOLA Girl Jam 2013, the second local iteration of this celebration of women in jazz and dance beginning tomorrow and running through Sunday.

The ladies in the musical lineup are very solid, including some of our favorites like Sasha Masakowski and Kristina Morales, and tickets to the Friday and Saturday evening performances include a cocktail hour in the price of admission. Filling out the weekend at the same venue are topical seminars and dance lessons from some notable pros, including Nathalie Gomes-Adams.

More information in the YouTube clip below, and in case you’re wondering if the dancers are any good, check out the clip of Gomes-Adams below that.

Happy weekend!

Super Week: The XLVII Things Not to Miss in New Orleans

IMG_4329He and She Said:

Ok, so you’re here for a week now, and you do know that there’s more to this town than hand grenades, hurricanes, and boobs on balconies, right? C’mon, don’t make us mistake you for Falcon fans. Make the most of your trip and bring home some great stories. To help you get around, here are XLVII things you shouldn’t miss in the Big Easy:

I. Turn on WWOZ. Yeah, we get it, there’s a game happening and sports radio is everywhere, but find time to put 90.7 on the dial and let the best radio station on earth penetrate your circumstances.

II. Take a walk down Royal Street. Get a drink somewhere to go (and isn’t that a nice tradition?), step away from Bourbon Street, and take in the buskers, galleries, and architecture on one of the prettiest streets in the Quarter.

Visit a neighborhood bar. Or two, or three. NOLA is full of quirky watering holes. Consider III. Bud Rip’s in Bywater, IV. The Milan Lounge Uptown, or V.the legendary  Snake and Jake’s Chrstmas Club on Oak Street in Riverbend.

Eat a PoBoy. Hell, eat a few. Try the inspired new takes on NOLA’s favorite sandwich at VI. Killer PoBoys in the Quarter, but also make time for the traditional roast beef and/ or shrimp at VII. Parkway Bakery in Mid City or VIII. Domilise’s Uptown.

IX. Ride the Saint Charles Streetcar Line. We know there are fancy new ones right by the dome, but take the time to ride the length of St Charles Avenue, right through the gorgeous Garden District. Continue reading

King of Pho: Pho Orchid

She Said:

Uhhh! I could barely make it off the couch. Every year the day after my company holiday party gets tougher. I blame age. And each time I vow that I ‘will never do this again.’ Sometimes you just have to have the ability to laugh at yourself, especially since everyone else is laughing at you one way or the other.

By 5:00 pm I was ready to venture back out into the world, but only if it meant one thing: pho. Steve wanted a beer (hair of the dog) and I preferred to have the soup delivered to the couch. At least we could agree on the food so to Pho Orchid we went. This Vietnamese national dish is always tasty; the morning after certain evenings it is necessary. Continue reading