Category Archives: great outdoors

Mirliton Festival

One of my favorite events of the year is getting under way right now: the Mirliton Festival. This the 21st year of the Bywater Neighborhood Association’s party. The vegetable at its center is the mirliton, also known as chayote. It is a pear shaped member of the gourd family. I have always thought it resembled an old man. In fact, last year at the festival, I made and sold a Mirliton Chow Chow that featured a little anthropomorphized mirliton.

Beyond food, there are all sorts of arts and crafts for sale, kids activities, and of course, music. Here’s the line-up:

6:00 – Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers
5:00 – Happy Talk Band
4:00 – R. Scully Rough 7
3:00 – Hurray for the Riff Raff
2:00 – Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue
1:00 – The 101 Runners
Noon – New Orleans Jazz Vipers
11:00 – The Mirlitones

Admission is $5, for Bywater Neighborhood Association Members it is $3, and children under 5 are free. Markey Park.


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Filed under bywater, festivals, food, great outdoors, kid-friendly, music

Frankenbikes and Bowie

It’s getting on to Halloween, folks. My husband and my “Sammy Hagar the Horrible” and wife costumes are coming along nicely. I wish we had them ready today for the first annual FrankenBike pub ride and costume party–that’s right, a good old-fashioned drunken, costumed bike ride. Everyone meets at 4pm at the R Bar, and the ride commences at 5pm, with stops at some of my favorite bars: Mimi’s, Vaughan’s, Markey’s, Lost Love Lounge, and back to R Bar again for judging, awards and, presumably, more drinking.

If you want to streamline your fun, dress up in something Bowie-esque, so after the bike ride you’re ready to go to the David Bowie tribute at One-Eyed Jacks.

Here are the details for that:

“Cliff Hines, local jazz guitarist and composer, has gathered an all-star cast of local progressive jazz and indie rock musicians for a one-of-a-kind event. Together with Amanda Wuerstlin (Big History), Andrew Hartsock and Michael Girardot (Big Rock Candy Mountain), James Westfall and Rex Gregory (Bionica), George Elizondo and Jonathan Arceneaux (Glasgow!), Helen Gillet (Happy Talk Band), Anthony Cuccia (The Other Planets), and Micah McKee (Silent Cinema) in addition to Sasha Masakowski, Andrew McGowan, Paul Thibodeaux, and Jasen Weaver (The Cliff Hines Quintet) Cliff will be playing two sets consisting solely of the music of DAVID BOWIE! They will be performing music from nearly every era of his career, not just his hits but also his more adventurous music as well. In keeping with the New Orleans Halloween spirit, the concert is also a costume party. Share your love of Bowie by sporting your favorite Bowie look (there are quite plenty to choose from).”

Doors at 9pm.

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Filed under bars, great outdoors, halloween, music

Theater in a Van

Some young theater makers in NYC came up with a clever DIY project called Theater in a Van. Living in a city where space is at a premium you gotta do what you gotta do to do what you love to do. And, sometimes, necessity breeds invention that breeds innovation. Personally, I’m excited to see what their experiment has yielded.

After some success in New York, and some help from backers on they’ve taken to the road to bring their shows to the rest of the country. Tonight they are in New Orleans. I’ll repost the relevant details from the post on Blog of New Orleans.

Interested passersby can pay $5 to see one of three original plays. The back of the van serves as a stage, and the bus can seat between 10 and 12 audience members per performance. Each show runs between 15 and 20 minutes.

In the timely musical The Big Spill, two musicians come up with a crackpot idea to save the Gulf. Musical accompaniment is provided by a guitar, tambourine, toy piano and melodophone. In a Choose Your Own Adventure twist, the audience gets to decide how the play ends.

Lint, which Pease describes as the most standard play in the lineup, is an “adult fairytale” about a dust bunny tired of the constant upheaval in the air duct where she lives. Coming of age, she ventures into the world outside the ventilation system she knows.

The dark comedy A Funeral Song for Duchess D follows two young concertgoers who confront sinister, abstinence-promoting sex symbols of the Disney star variety. Puppets also comprise part of its cast.

Though they haven’t nailed down exactly where they’ll park, Theatre in a Van targets high foot traffic areas. Pease is hoping to find the French Quarter parking.

The troupe’s long-term goal is to modify the bus’s engine to run on vegetable oil. For now, it’s outfitted with a solar panel which helps keep the battery charged and powers the cast’s cooking equipment. (Yes, they’re also living in the van.)

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Filed under great outdoors, theater

America, eff yeah!

It’s the fourth of July, and if you’re a red-blooded American you will spend the day grilling things and drinking beer. When that’s over, you’ll make your way over to Woldenberg Park and watch the Go Fourth on the River fireworks display. I just learned that our display is ranked in the top 5 pyrotechnic displays in the country, by whom I’m not sure, but who cares–AMERICA!

May I make a humble suggestion? How about we create a New Orleans tradition where on the 4th of July we create effigies of BP CEO Tony Hayward and burn them? Like Guy Fawkes Night. Just a thought.

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Louisiana Bicycle Festival

For ten years now a very informal festival has been happening up there in Abita Springs: the Louisiana Bicycle Festival.

It is part swap meet and part competition, here are the categories: Original Pre 1940, Original 1940 – 1960, Original Post 1960, Restored Pre 1940, Restored 1940 – 1960, Restored Post 1960, Custom, Decorated, Novelty, Art from Bikes or Bike Parts, and Best in Show. And, they say, because this is Louisiana, judges can be bribed, oh, and they also create and eliminate categories on a whim.

There is also a ride/parade through the historic part of town at 12:30. Somehow I get the sense this won’t be a Critical Mass type of bike ride. Just saying.

And, this year they have a DJ. And, If you get hungry and thirsty I would recommend heading over to the Abita Brew Pub. Abita Satsuma Harvest Wit is in season!

Apparently this was all started by the guy who started the Abita Mystery House. And, if you’re up there anyway, you should go there, too. Open everyday 10-5 for $3!

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Filed under beer, festivals, great outdoors, museums

This Just In–Naked Bike Ride

Going on right now (noon) people are congregating in Washington Square Park to strip off their clothes and ride their bikes naked to protest non-renewable energy and consumerism. Is this even legal? Well, there certainly has never been a more relevant time in New Orleans to protest non-renewable energy. What are you waiting for? It’s not like you have to get dressed.

World Naked Bike Ride

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Back to the Beach

Every year on the weekend after Memorial Day the Lake Pontchatrain Basin Foundation presents Back to the Beach.

It takes place at Laketown in Kenner. As per most festivals, there will be food, bands, and stuff for the kids to do. It is also comprised of some other scheduled events. It starts on Friday evening (tonight) with a run/walk. Then Saturday afternoon there is the Bikes at the Beach motorcycle show, and all day Sunday is the Car Show. Now, this is the mission of Foundation:

As the public’s independent voice, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is dedicated to restoring and preserving the water quality, coast, and habitats of the entire Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Through coordination of restoration activities, education, advocacy, monitoring of the regulatory process, and citizen action, LPBF works in partnership with all segments of the community to reclaim the Basin for this and future generations.

I’m not sure if that is slightly at odds with the car and bike show, especially given the oil spill, but they are certainly a great organization, doing a lot to help restore the lake. Of course, because of the oil spill, their work has been impacted. Here’s what they have to say about that:

The Deepwater Horizon spill has impacted the Lake Pontchartrain Basin at the Chandeleur Islands and the Mississippi River Delta. It will continue to accrue further impacts of unknown extent. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) is entrusted by the public to protect and restore the habitats and water of the Pontchartrain Basin. We have performed this service for over 20 years by consistently applying basic science to monitor the health of the watershed. The introduction of spilled oil and the spill response now requires that LPBF monitor a new threat. We have developed a long-term monitoring program that will track impacts to the environment and inform restoration activities. This program includes sampling and analysis of water, sediment, and biological indicators (includes fish and shell fish).

Friday: 6pm-11pm, Saturday: 3pm-11pm, Sunday: 10am-9pm. $10. $8/students. $4/kids.

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