Voulez-vous allez a la Fete Francaise avec moi, ce soir? Well, actually “la Fete” is already under way, and will be wrapping up by the time “le soir” falls. From 10:30-7, Ecole Bilingue (a French language private school for children 2 years through 5th grade) is having their annual fundraiser “Fete Francaise,” which is New Orleans’ only French festival. It takes place uptown, at 821 General Pershing St., and entrance is free. Even though this an essentially a kid-friendly event, there will be a ton of booze. A bartender from that bastion of French gout, Coyote Ugly, created a special cocktail for the occasion, the “joie de vivre”: champagne, Lillet aperitif wine, a splash of orange juice–which actually sounds delicious. There will be more signature cocktails, french wine (bien sur), and for beer, Kronenbourg will be representing, as well as Covington’s own brewery, Heiner Brau, which will be unveiling a new line of American-style pilsners and bocks. Also, I love that on L’Ecole’s website about the event they urge parents and benefactors to go buy cases of French wine for the event, from a specified purveyor, in order to show their support. It reminds of me that Simpson’s episode where Bart is an exchange student in France, and they go to “Euro Itchy and Scratchy Land,” which is not doing so well, and the guard tries to encourage visitors saying, “Itchy & Scratchy Land, open for business! Who are you to resist it, huh? Come on, my last paycheck bounced! My children need wine!” Come on, go to Fete Francaise, they’re children need wine!
There will also be music, and food from great local restaurants, such as, Patois, Herbsaint and La Petite Grocery.
A nap will definitely be necessary after all that food, wine and sunshine. But, be sure to get back up, and head over to the Saturn Bar, where one of my favorite New Orleans musical phenomena, The Valparaiso Men’s Chorus, will be doing their thing at 11 pm. The VMC is a band of 30 or so guys led by Alex McMurray, who drunkenly sing sea shanties. That’s it, and it is awesome. Also, Saturn Bar is the best place to see them. After a few drinks and a few songs, the whole place starts sway back and forth in unison, and you feel like you’re in a sinking ship full of drunk seamen–in a good way. Here’s an appropriately rough snippet of them at One-Eyed Jacks.