Happy Mardi Gras! And Happy Valentine's Day! There are lots of reasons to celebrate this week. Last week's Inspiration post was all about adding joy to your life by celebrating the small stuff, and this week is the perfect time to do that! And you can celebrate right from home--even from your couch or bed--and add some fun to this dreary winter period. In fact, even in New Orleans, they are celebrating differently this year; the parades have all been cancelled so their nothing-will-stop-us-from-celebrating residents are decorating their own porches like Mardi Gras floats! Check out some awesome "porch float" pictures here.
We used to live in New Orleans, so this is actually a
major holiday at out house! This year, we had to cancel our annual party in favor of a small Zoom "Mini Mardi Gras" with a couple of friends last night, and our annual reunion with friends who used to live there with us with Popeye's on Tuesday (Mardi Gras Day) will also be done on Zoom. Nothing will stop us from celebrating, though!
- The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells, author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - I listened to Calla Lily's story on audio and laughed out loud & bawled my eyes out! It takes place in southern Louisiana, with plenty of local color.
- Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sara Roahen - I loved this memoir about the food, history, people, and unique culture of New Orleans.
- Trail of Crumbs: Food, Love, and the Search for Home by Kim Sunée
- although this food-focused memoir covers everyplace from Sweden to
France to Korea, the author grew up in New Orleans, where the food
culture impacted the rest of her life.
Middle-Grade and Teen/YA Books Set In/About Louisiana:
(Note that middle-grade and YA books are a great option if you have difficulty with longer, more complex books, and these are all great for adults as well as kids and teens.)
- Ruined by Paula Morris - a teen/YA mystery/ghost story set in New Orleans (the perfect setting for a ghost story!)
- The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman - a compelling middle-grade historical fiction adventure (with a touch of time travel), where a girl from 1960 travels back to 1860 Louisiana
- Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick - a middle-grade novel about Hurricane Katrina - powerful and gripping
- Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys - most people are familiar with her two YA novels set during WWII (Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea), but this historical novel is set in New Orleans in 1950
Movies & TV Shows
- Chef - a wonderful, uplifting movie about a family food truck that travels from Miami to LA, with a stop in New Orleans, of course! My favorite movie of the year in 2015.
- NCIS: New Orleans - though it's a crime show, it includes many scenes of New Orleans, mention of local restaurants and landmarks, and other local tidbits. They usually do a Mardi Gras episode around this time of year, so check your cable On Demand, CBS All Access, or Paramount+.
- You can also check out some classic movies and modern classics with New Orleans settings, like A Streetcar Named Desire and The Big Easy.
- The usual livestreams of parades and
other scenes in New Orleans are missing this year, but you can still check out www.mardigras.com for some Mardi Gras-themed entertainment!
|One of the locals in Louisiana|
All this talk of Louisiana making you want to visit? I have written articles about visiting New Orleans and Exploring Cajun Country - check them out and start planning your trip (plenty of food recommendations in both!). I'm certainly ready to go back!
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!
Notice that many of the books and movies about Louisiana are focused on FOOD? Yes, Louisiana - and especially New Orleans - is known for its amazing, unique food. This blog post on how to celebrate Mardi Gras includes my own recipes for some classic Louisiana dishes, plus food you can grab locally --there are plenty of suggestions in this post that you can still manage to do between now and Tuesday! Or save it for later if you like; we eat this food all year round.
Louisana-made Zapp's chips are amazing!
NOTE that Zapp's potato chips - which you absolutely MUST try) have been bought out by PA-chip maker Utz, so you don't have to get them by mail-order anymore. We can now find them in local stores like Wawa here in Delaware....though we still ordered a carton of assorted flavors for Mardi Gras! (Cajun Crawtator and Cajun Dill are the best.)
|My sons and I about 12 years ago|