A few weeks ago, during Art For Art's Sake, creative duo Hayley Gaberlavage & Benjamin Massey, launched their most ambitious product yet, Brio Studio. Located in our favorite part of the city, Brio Studio showcases the sublimely talented couple's diverse works in a fantastic space on Magazine St. in the lower garden district. Painter Gaberlavage's stark and sophisticated urban portraits line the walls, and directly contrast with her partner in crime, architect Massey's custom woodworking and clever limited edition greeting cards.

We've been a huge fan of Hayley's work, and have recently been bowled over by her brand new pieces that adorn the walls of Brio. Ben's wood works on the other hand couldn't fit the space any better. The precisely finished wooden vases sit atop one of the coolest handmade benches I've ever seen. If George Nelson was still with us, I'd have a feeling once he laid eyes on Massey's "Harrison" bench, he'd most certainly storm out and head back to the drawing board. You'll also see some of Massey's clever and witty greeting cards in the photos below.

Check out the rest of our tour photos...










A few years ago at one of the first NOLA Fashion Week I attended, I met fashion designer Heather Williams of Tallulah Designs. I was out and about photographing the designers and their wares during that season's expo at the first level of The Ogden Museum.

We shook hands, I bounced around her samples and moved on. As a matter of fact I think I took a photo of a hangtag and used it in a collage as part of our wrap up post that season. I digress. Heather, along with her brand Tallulah Faire, now a veteran of NOLA Fashion Week, is showing her latest collection this coming Thursday evening at The Saratoga, and is truly poised to blow up.

Fast forward to earlier this year when the announcement of her Kickstarter project came across my Facebook feed as well as her tagline "Created Not Made" was running through my head and rang so true to me. After watching her heartwarming project video, I thought ermahgerd I've got to feature her and broadcast her story. The following quote for me sums up her motivation for launching a Kickstarter project...

"You love it when clothing tells your story and yours alone. That’s what we do at Tallulah - One dress. One time. Always."



Needless to say, her goals, ideals, and vision come to life in a very natural, genuine and sincere way. I don't even wear dresses and I'm ready and willing to contribute because she's so passionate about her business and her product. I'm so thrilled she's been able to collaborate with and be a part of NOLA Fashion Week. NOLAFW is a fantastic and unique pedestal to place her blood, sweat and tear atop. Without further adieu, we present our latest style profile...Heather Williams of Tallulah Faire.

VALEN-WHINES-DAY: A $tudy on $tupidity

It’s not that I have a problem with Valentine’s Day… I have a problem with the absurd behavior that it seems to evoke.— Introducing Schinderella It’s a lot like my Dave Matthews Band and LSU hang-ups – it’s not that I hate DMB or LSU, I just want to slap the crap out of the fan base.The whole concept of Valentine’s Day is 100% commercialized and as a Marketing and PR professional, I’m all about that shit – not a problem, let’s do this. I have a million ideas for the next round of Cialis ads.

However, on the flip side the day is also about the celebration of “love.” Let’s break that down, shall we? K, so I’m gunna do the cliché and often times obnoxious thing where you give your readers a vocabulary lesson and while I’m sorry for being THAT person, here goes:

“Love is an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment.[1] Love is also said to be a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection —"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another".[2] Love may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.”

Ok AWESOME. Where is the LOVE then, because when I look around I see a lot less passionate affection and a lot more passive aggression. People have taken a day that is basically dedicated to money, sex and smiles and turned it into the most over-the-top, stressful and obligatory day of the whole year. It’s like if you’re a single woman, you wind up acting bat-shit crazy and having a very public pout-fest revolving around the theme, “Screw Men” which I find very ironic as you’ll be doing anything BUT this evening, cupcake…because running around acting like a crazed, desperate lunatic who apparently “hates men” is working for you, CLEARLY.

However, not so fast ladies, let’s chat it up about those of you who’ve snagged yourself a fella…because you need to cut the shit. Your tyrannical reign of “romantic” terror not only breaks the guys you have under your command, but it literally sends their single friends running for the hills from the rest of us. 
Stop making “girlfriend” synonymous with Hitler. 
It’s just unbecoming. Boyfriends and husbands should do nice things for you because they WANT to because you’re adorable and nice, not because they’re afraid of flying objects and waking up with a neck injury from sleeping on the floor because Miss Thing has kicked them out of bed for buying a box of Russel Stovers instead of Godiva.

Valentine’s Day DOES NOT MEAN “You have to do shit for me and buy me things.” P.S. last time I checked, “Love” is a 2-way street… where’s his “gift?” The reason I’m harping on the ladies is because it’s the women who seem to have high-jacked the day and the men just let them get away with being HORRIBLE. If anything, the day has become a love-repellant.

I realize I’ve neglected the beloved gay community, and while I’m not as comfortable speaking on behalf of that dynamic, all relationships have a more masculine and more feminine role assumption. I’m confident my assessment applies. If not, call in we’d love to hear from you.

Seriously, LET’S EVERYONE JUST DROP THE ACT. It’s a goddamn Thursday. Go on a date because you WANT to! If you don’t have a date, get your ass up and go do something, there’s always something going on in New Orleans. Maybe meet a nice someone and perhaps make-out BECAUSE MAKING OUT IS FUN, not because you’re trying to trick some dude into following you to the altar.

On that note, here are some of my suggestions as to what do this coming Thursday (umm, Valentines Day):

My friend, Micah McKee (local musical badass and all-around decent human being) is playing at Blue Nile at 7pm. Check that out then hop across the street to Yuki Izakaya for some Japanese Tapas. That shit is DUH-LISH-IS… plus, there’s something sexy about tapas.

Kristina Morales is singing at The Columns Hotel – I realize the vibe there lends itself to douchebaggery, but that girl knows what’s up so whatever. You can either eat there or Urban Spoon the St. Charles area.

Check out this list and figure it out for yourselves.

I’m a HUGE fan of The Theatres at Canal Place… and the prosciutto-wrapped bread sticks… and the salumi plate… And the duck salad… I digress. If you haven’t seen Django Unchained or really ANY of the movies playing… get your shit together and make it happen, there are some exceptional films out right now.

Get some friends and head to Sylvain on Chartres for dinner and then walk to One Eyed Jacks for some 80’s night, DUH!

Get take-out from Hoshun (so effin good AND open LATE… like… LATE) and a bottle of wine, stay in with a movie and if you’re with a certain someone, “make sure to whisper those 3 words we all wanna hear: Lets. Get. Naked. “ That was a movie quote… the movie is called “Valentine’s Day…” don’t watch it, cause you'll never get that 2 hours back.

Schinderella Byline


It's not that often that a project is so perfectly aligned with what we're trying to do here at LOVE LETTERS FROM NOLA is a true testament as to how unique New Orleans is.

"A book that captures the spirit and culture of New Orleans one letter at a time."

In a little over a week, The "LOVE LETTERS FROM NOLA" kickstarter project will come to an end. The founders of the project including Art Director, Designer: Nessim Higson, Photographer: Daymon Gardner, Copywriter: Anthony Vachris, and Designer: Lizzy Margiotta still need contributors to make this book the best that it can be using the best printing methods and papers. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR KICKSTARTER PROJECT and continue reading about this inspirational project below.

Love Letters from New Orleans is a photographic and typographic statement that celebrates the culture of New Orleans, twenty-six letters at a time. The alphabet book has taken over two years to complete.

Spearheaded by Nessim Higson of I Am Always Hungry studio, the project shows the city in both a positive and provocative light. IAAH / iamalwayshungry is a creative studio that has been recognized internationally and showcased in numerous books and magazines such as Communication Arts and Print Magazine.

This project is a collaboration of 2 designers, 1 photographer and 1 writer. The contributors hold New Orleans very close to their hearts. They hope to reach a wide and diverse audience to expose aspects of the city that may have been forgotten. This is a thank you to the culturally rich and dynamic city.

Love Letters From Nola Book



Mallory Whitfield A.K.A Miss Malaprop has been blogging and curating a fine selection of her own handmade goods on her website since 2006. She was certainly one of the first bloggers I met since Katrina has been ahead of the curve for quite some time now.



Mallory describes here style as : "A touch of vintage inspiration, with a little rock-n-roll edge. With the very subtle undertones that I'm secretly a gay man trapped inside a straight woman's body."




The buzz around singer Robin Barnes has been circulating ever so much around my head for quite some time. We have mutual friends and collaborators and up until recently I'd only heard her music but never met in person. We couldn't be more thrilled and excited to feature such a triple threat.


The first time I saw Robin perform I was thinking to myself this girl is a triple threat. She comes from a well known musical family (The Soul Heirs) so she's got the chops, she has a confident beauty about her (swag if you will), and she's got a smile that could light up City Park on the darkest of nights.

I've always been a huge Irma Thomas fan, and Irma's collaboration with Galactic in the song "Heart of Steel" will always be one of my all time favorite songs and anthems for our city. When I heard Robin sing and slay that song in Irma fashion, I was sold off the top. Her delivery is flawless and the amount of effort she puts into each song is pretty hard to beat.

Her style is elegant and approachable and she exudes confidence. Robin can be found stunning the crowd at 2 of my favorite places : The Carousel Lounge at The Hotel Monteleone as well as at The Windsor Court. Big things are sure to come from this young lady, and I cant wait to see where it takes her. Look out y'all, Robin is about to blow up!




Last week was movie week with the bigger than ever 2012 new orleans film festival. This week we wanted to share the 2 records we're spinning constantly this month - Jake Smith's latest "Everyone comes from somewhere" & the Preservation Hall's 50th anniversary live concert recording at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

JAKE SMITH'S LATEST "Everyone Comes from Somewhere"

Jake Smith Everyone Comes From Somewhere CoverAfter listening to this disc constantly for last day or so, I don't think I could dig it any more. New Orleans native Jake Smith's latest "Everyone Comes from Somewhere" to me, comes out of nowhere. Sometimes, artists like Jake blindside me and re-instill hope in New Orleans becoming more than just a funk/jazz producing town (no offense to the folks below). Diverse and superbly produced, "Everyone Comes from Somewhere" is truly his breakout offering. Sometimes compared and contrasted with the likes of Maroon 5 and John Mayer, Jake Smith's style and sound is more James Morrison with a dash of Jamiroquai. Standout tracks included the B3 drenched "By My Side", the entirely danceable and soulful "At The End of The Night", the Motown boppin' vintage steam "Carry Us Home", and finally the track below, "Once Love".

JAKE SMITH - "Everyone Comes from Somewhere"



The Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th AnniversaryMan, let me tell you, I couldn't have picked any 2 different discs to review here. It just doesn't get any more New Orleans than The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Each time I've sat between it's hallowed walls, Preservation Hall and it's Jazz band just moves me. The concert at Carnegie Hall celebrating their 50th Anniversary is nothing short of spectacular and moving on it's own. I can't imagine the recording being any better and the track offerings include all their classic never-gonna-get-old standards. Over the years, folks have heralded the band wonders and they've garnered the fancy of many folks including the special guests who have graced the stage. The standout tracks include : A smashing version of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" with The Givers, "Bonjour Cousin", "El Manicero" w/ Tao Seeger, "St. James Infirmary" Pt. 1 & 2 featuring Jim James + My Morning Jacket, Trombone Shorty, and King Britt, and the funky "It Ain't My Fault" w/ Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def), Trombone Shorty, and Allen Toussaint. Check out the teaser below and get it for yourself.




Each and every year, the film industry continues to grow exponentially here in New Orleans. A true testament to the growth is the explosion and expansion of our own international film fest...The New orleans Film Festival. 2012 is no different. The New orleans Film Society has played a huge role in making New Orleans one of the top 3 destinations for filmmaking. Here's out top 12 films for 2012.


"This bold debut film by author Stephen Elliott, a visual love letter to San Francisco, is the story of high school student Angelina (a mesmerizing Ashley Hinshaw), whose choices lead her from a depressing home life and dead-end job in Los Angeles to the fetish-filled Bay Area adult film world. A stepfather with dark motives lurks in the background, as Angelina watches over her younger sister and questions her options. In memorable supporting roles are Festival favorite Lili Taylor as Angelina’s manic and opportunistic mother, Jonny Weston as her sexy but sleazy boyfriend and Dev Patel as best friend and much-needed nonsexual support. The vibrant cast also includes James Franco as a coke-addicted attorney who spots Angelina in a strip club, and Heather Graham as a female porn director who launches “Cherry’s” adult film career with mixed feelings. A gritty and defiantly voyeuristic look at the life of a youth who never loses her innocence, even as she gyrates for the camera, Cherry captures a rare point of view, urging us to consider the delicate tension between body and self by focusing on society’s most sought after objects of desire."


AKA Doc Pomus from Clear Lake Productions on Vimeo.

"Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus, then emerged as a one of the most brilliant songwriters of the early rock and roll era, writing “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Viva Las Vegas,” and dozens of other hits. For most of his life Doc was confined to crutches and a wheelchair, but he lived more during his sixty-five years than others could experience in several lifetimes. A.K.A. DOC POMUS brings to life Doc’s joyous, romantic, heartbreaking, and extraordinarily eventful journey."

All Together

"Jane Fonda returns to the French screen after four decades in this film about an experiment in alternative living."

Andrew Bird: Fever Year

Official Trailer (2:45) from Andrew Bird: Fever Year on Vimeo.

"Filmed during culminating months of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s most rigorous year of touring, Andrew Bird crosses the December finish line in his hometown of Chicago – feverish and on crutches from an onstage injury. Is he suffering hazards from chasing the ghost of inspiration? Or merely transforming into a different kind of animal “perfectly adapted to the music hall?” FEVER YEAR is the first to capture Bird’s precarious multi-instrumental looping technique and features live performances at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater with collaborators Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Michael Lewis, and Annie Clark of St. Vincent."

Brooklyn Boheme

Brooklyn Boheme - Official Trailer from Diane Paragas on Vimeo.

"Brooklyn Boheme looks at back at the 1980s and ’90s in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods where a community of young black and Latino creatives thrived. Spike Lee, Chris Rick, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson, Mos Def, Vernon Reid and Toure are among the many artists profiled in the film."


"When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right?

Inspired by true events, COMPLIANCE tells the chilling story of just how far one might go to obey a figure of authority. On a particularly busy day at a suburban Ohio fast food joint, high-strung manager Sandra (Ann Dowd (Garden State) receives a phone call from a police officer saying that an employee, a pretty young blonde named Becky (newcomer Dreama Walker) has stolen money from a customer. Convinced she’s only doing what’s right, Sandra commences the investigation, following step-by-step instructions from the officer at the other end of the line, no matter how invasive they become. As we watch, we ask ourselves two questions: “Why don’t they just say no?” and the more troubling, “Am I certain I wouldn’t do the same?”


FRANCINE: CLIP (LARGE) from Pigeon Projects on Vimeo.

"Academy Award winner Melissa Leo gives a fierce and restrained performance as Francine, a woman struggling to find her place in a downtrodden lakeside town after leaving behind a life in prison. Taking a series of jobs working with animals, Francine turns away others and instead seeks intimacy in the most unlikely of places. Gritty, elliptical, and voyeuristic, Francine is a portrait of a near-silent misfit and her fragile first steps in an unfamiliar world."


"Jenn and Matt are best friends from college who are now in their 30s. Single by choice, Jenn spends her days teaching hot yoga and running errands for her boss. Matt suffers from comic-book writer’s block and can’t get over his ex-boyfriend. They decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together… the old-fashioned way. Can they navigate the serious and unexpected snags they hit as they attempt to get their careers and dating lives back on track in preparation for parenthood? “Gayby” is an irreverent comedy about friendship, growing older, sex, loneliness, and the family you chose."


"What’s the worst that could happen at a couples brunch you’re attending? The quiche is overcooked? Someone forgets to bring orange juice for the mimosas? There’s a cataclysmic disaster in your city and you and the other guests, all wildly unprepared for such an event, are forced to duct tape up the windows and wait out what could be apocalyptic doom – all the while working out relationship issues?

IT’S A DISASTER tells the story of how eight people face the most trying and potentially horrible day of their lives in a very unconventional way – with witty dialogue, snappy jokes, and laugh-out loud set pieces. Who will lose their cool? Whose relationship will last? What the hell is going to happen to these people? You’ll just have to watch and find out."


"After a nationwide search, 27 of the most innovative minds from across the country arrive in New Orleans. With just five days to experience the city, the 27 discover a version of New Orleans they never knew existed. This eye-opening 50-minute documentary follows their journey through a city undergoing one of the greatest economic transformations in American history."


"John Hawkes plays Mark O’Brien, a paralyzed man who hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) so that he can finally lose his virginity. Winner of the Audience Award for US Dramatic Feature at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival."


"For almost one hundred years there was only one way to make a movie — with film. Movies were shot, edited and projected using photochemical film. But over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking. SIDE BY SIDE, a new documentary produced by Keanu Reeves, takes an in-depth look at this revolution. Through interviews with directors, cinematographers, film students, producers, technologists, editors, and exhibitors, SIDE BY SIDE examines all aspects of filmmaking — from capture to edit, visual effects to color correction, distribution to archive. At this moment when digital and photochemical filmmaking coexist, SIDE BY SIDE explores what has been gained, what is lost, and what the future might bring."



Seems like it took forever to post this latest style profile of our endearing and utterly fascinating friend Ashley Merheb.


So very much love her description of her style, mostly because it's 110% true and so quintessential Ashley. “The retro working woman with a casual twist, a mix of Bianca Jagger love for wide-leg slacks, Molly Ringwald’s thing for blazers, and my love for a classic t-shirt.”

She's just as much of an enigma as she is chameleon, and her style has as much range as Andrea Boccelli. It's all evident here in our Terry Richardson inspired shoot. Hope you all enjoy these as much as we did taking and now sharing them!



iHeart Drew

Besides the day the new orleans saints won the Superbowl, there are only 2 other dates more important to our team. Over 2300 days had passed between the time we made Drew our quarterback and the time he signed the most lucrative NFL contract in history.

For most of us, the longest and toughest stretch of time we had as Who Dats, began with the end of last season. As the months passed by our hearts and eyes, and in total Saints fashion, it came down to the last minute. Even though the nitro pills were on standby for the days leading up to his well deserved and record breaking contract, we always knew deep down Drew would be signed and the deal would be made.

Here's to you Drew, it couldn't have happened to a better dude, and we will love you forever.

Here are some of our favorite moments from Drew's first 2300 days as a New Orleans Saint.


DrewBrees Sport Science

Drew Brees in the Raw (NFL Films)

Drew Brees and son Baylen after winning SuperBowl XLIV

Drew Brees SB XLIV Highlights


Leading into the 4th of July holiday, the film that the whole world has been praising and raving about, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" will be released officially in New Orleans.

Co-writer/Director Benh Zeitlin, co-writer Lucy Alibar, alongside director of photography Ben Richardson, have been stacking up the honors and awards in great haste. The film which stars a slew of local New Orleans actors including co-stars Dwight Henry & Quvenzhane Wallis, has already scored a Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Canne Camera D'or (for best cinematography), and as of the New Orleans based Premiere, The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the L.A. Film Festival.

Here's the official synopsis from Fox Searchlight :

"Benh Zeitlin's BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD whisks you to a surreal realm, where little girls and mythical animals coexist in a bayou called The Bathtub, all intertwined in the cosmic mesh of the universe. Hushpuppy (stunning newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis) relentlessly explores her world for answers, to satisfy her curiosity, and to make her budding mark on a world she's only beginning to comprehend. Now we've launched WELCOME TO THE BATHTUB, a new site that lets the viewer experience BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD through Hushpuppy's eyes."

Just this past week, I was fortunate enough to experience not only the red carpet premiere at the brand new Joy Theatre, but also see the fantastically inspiring film on the big screen. The movie in my humble opinion sums up our entire way of life and culture here in the Gulf South. Shot exclusively in Terrebonne Parish, "Beasts" is quite honestly one of the most beautiful films I've seen in recent years, certainly worthy of the Camera D'or.


"The Bathtub", seemed isolated but, was filled with worldly characters and surroundings only Louisiana could produce. The most endearing relationship in the film is of course between Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) and her father, played by the brilliant Dwight Henry. Henry, who has garnered a ton of Oscar buzz, owns local landmark bakery & cafe, The Buttermilk Drop. The dynamic between the two co-stars is nothing short of spectacular. All I can say is, leave the BBQ early and get to the theatre early to get a chance to see something special.

Here's the official trailer as well as some special extra videos :

Check out the exclusive red carpet video from our friends at NOLA WrapUp


It took only one listen for Eric Lindell's record "Change in the Weather" to become my post-katrina anthem disc.

With songs like "Give it Time" and "See Me Through", Lindell's debut disc proved to be one of the only cd's I still refuse to sell to The Mushroom. "Let me know" and the extremely emotive "Uncle John" round out his stellar release.

It's been a little over 5 years and 5 records since the release of "Change in the Weather" and Eric continues to grow and expand his musical footprint. It couldn't be more apparent than in his latest M.C. Records release "I Still Love You".

"Since June" starts the disc off with Eric's signature laid back swinging blues track drenched in Hammond B3 from start to finish. The other standout tracks include the sauntering "The Way We Were" and the heartfelt & unexpectedly arranged "Cold November".

Tracks #8 & #9, "All Alone" & "I Don't Mind", re-releases only in title, were welcome little hunks of lagniappe. Found originally on "Change in the Weather", "All Alone" is one of my favorite tracks by Mr. Lindell to date. The 2006 version of the song radiates soul and may have just a tad bit too much swag. When I first heard the refreshed track, I felt I was having a Marty McFly moment and just barely caught resemblance.

The second version of the track couldn't be more perfect. Slumbering, charming, and with a pinch of humility, the 2012 "All Alone" solidifies just how cool the dude is. Do this, have a listen to track #8 first before any other, 'cause it's quintessential Eric Lindell.



This year marks The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience 20th year celebrating New Orleans's culture in food and spirits.

It's hard to believe that NOWFE has only been around 20 years. Ever since I could remember, The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has been a local NOLA social staple, featuring some of the best food and wine known to man. For those of you who are unaware of this magical event, here's what they're about:

"Over the past 20 years, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has raised more than $1 million for non-profit organizations right here in our community while showcasing local food and chefs, and national and international wines."

With that said, this year NOWFE "will share 100% of the proceeds. Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana will receive 40% and the following will share the remaining 60%: the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation's ProStart Program, Delgado Culinary Arts School, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts’ Culinary Program, the John Folse Culinary Institute and the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans." At it's core, NOWFE gives back in a huge way and continues to support programs that continue to develop carry on our unique culture.

Of the over 400 festivals New Orleans hosts each year, NOWFE is certainly among the top 5 events that standout above the rest. I tend to wonder sometimes if my passion and intense emotional connection I have to New Orleans makes me a bit delusional. By that I mean, what other city on earth is more connected emotionally, spiritually, and culturally to food? Sit down and talk with a visiting tourist and ask them to describe the food of NOLA. The reactions you'll receive will almost always be linked to their heart.

I may be blinded by the boudin, but no other city can compete. Before you put me up on the cross, I have been to other cities, major and minor, and have had good meals at each destination, but I always crave my native menu. This year at the ripe young age of 20, NOWFE proves to rock it out in a big way.

Local celebrity stalwarts from across town include : John Besh, Tariq Hanna, David Guas, Susan Spicer, Brian Landry, Rhonda Ruckman as well visiting celebrities from around the world including : Ron Ben-Israel, Craig Collins, Vanessa Fiorini, Johnny Iuzzini, Chris Hanmer, Lee Schrager, Kim Sunée, and Megan Murphy, to name a few. With hundreds of the best NOLA restaurants participating as well as nearly 200 wineries, I can't imagine anyone going hungry. Below are some of the highlights we've included in our 2012 NOWFE Roundup...


Ella Brennan Award Dinner & Auction: Exclusive Seated Dinner, Honoring the 2012 Recipient - Bill Goldring

Each year, the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is presented to a recipient who has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments, and philanthropic contributions to the community. The award, designed by Mignon Faget, is presented to the honoree at an exclusive dinner to kick off the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.

This event is SOLD OUT - click here to check out the event page to find out more about the dinner & auction.


Wine Dinners:

Chefs & Winemakers are Perfectly Paired! - "New Orleans’ premier restaurants match up with renowned vineyards. Chefs and Vintners plan the menus together, ensuring outstanding food and wine pairings. Reservations and payments can be made by contacting the restaurant directly. Credit card confirmation may be required. NOWFE cannot guarantee reservations in any restaurant. Jackets suggested. Dinners, winery details, prices and menus will be posted as they become available."

Some of the standout pairings include :

• 5 Fifty 5 at the Marriott Hotel featuring Plumpjack/ CADE Winery • Calcasieu featuring Rudi Wiest Selections • Le Foret featuring Moet Chandon ft/ Dom Perignon • Maximo’s Italian Grill featuring Palm Bay International • Red Fish Grill featuring Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyard

Click here to see the full list of restaurants & their vineyard pairings -->


Vinola Tasting: Super-Premium Wine Tasting! 2 – 4pm, The Theatre at Harrah’s, 8 Canal Street, $150 per person (Must be 21 to Enter)

"NOWFE’s premium tasting event is a rare opportunity for 200 wine enthusiasts to mingle with notable winemakers, while sampling elite wines from around the world. The Theatre will host approximately 40 wineries, pouring their most revered and highly rated wines, (each exceeding a retail value of $75.) Vinola has only a limited number of tickets available, and is usually a sell-out, so don’t wait to get your tickets!"

Featuring Culinary Arts From:

• Chef Jared Tees of Besh Steak • Chef Nathaniel Zimet of Boucherie • Chef Phillip Lopez of Root • Chef Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette • Chef Michael Doyle of Maurepas Foods

Besides the "Grand Tastings" later on in the week, the events on Thursday of NOWFE are the ones I'm most excited about. Besides having mad respect for the chefs mentioned above, I've enjoyed their food immensely in the past and I'm excited to see what they have in waiting for us.

Below are some of the vineyards I'm looking forward to checking out :

• Amizetta Estate Family Winery • CADE & PlumpJack Winery • Dierberg /Star Lane Vineyards • Joseph Phelps Vineyards • Moet Hennessy USA • Quintessa

Royal Street Stroll: The Most Unique Wine Tasting in the World!

Royal Street Stroll Sponsored by Rouses 5:30 – 8:30 pm, 200 – 900 Blocks of Royal Street • Tickets $75 advance/$90 on-site ***NOTE: Two Entrances, the 900 Block & the 400 Block

For many NOWFE vets, this is the most anticipated event of the entire experience. I'd have to second that emotion. Here's a brief description :

"A definitive evening event of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, which brings together New Orleans’ greatest gifts: rare antiques, fine art, live jazz and stunning historic architecture with the world’s outstanding wines. Shop the enchanting galleries of Royal Street while experiencing wine offerings at each stop, as live jazz music fills the air. As always, we will be joined by the Krewe of Cork, as they parade down Royal Street."

Some of the restaurants participate include :

• Antoine's Restaurant • Bourbon House • GW Fins • Nola Restaurant

Nowhere else in the world can replicate this event, period. What better backdrop than Royal Street for such an event featuring food, wine, live music, and culture in the air. Take that NYC, Miami, Chicago, and all the rest. I cannot wait for the stroll.

Click here for more info on Thurs. night's events -->

Friday & Saturday

Friday and Saturday of NOWFE are always the most feature packed and begin with seminars throughout the day and end with their stellar "Grand Tastings".

Seminars: What's Hot in Wine & Food!

FRIDAY highlights :

Sip n' Slide

Join Chefs Brack May of Cowbell, Isaac Toups of Toup's Meatery and Matt Regan of Lüke as they pair robust reds with bold burgers. With the craze of designer burgers descending on New Orleans, what better way to sample a slider than with a full-bodied Bordeaux or Rioja? 1:00-2:00pm; $55 per person; Blaine Kern C/D

The New [Old] Beaujolais

A tasting of the Crus of Beaujolais and a discussion of the return to traditional winemaking methods in the great wines of this region and expression of terroir. Debunk the myths about ageability and depth of flavor.

SATURDAY highlights :

Yes Way, Rosé!

Pink wine scares some folks. If you go to a party filled with wine people though, the first thing gone is the rosé! Joe Briand of Carte des Vins and Colin O'Neill of Herbsaint will pair six rosés from around the globe with food from Herbsaint Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Wilcomb to show the versatility of this wonderful vino. Then, the next time someone asks if you want some, you'll say "Yes way, rosé!" 3:30-4:30pm; $75 per person; River Bend Ballroom

Around the Bend: A Tribute to Anne Gooch

Join local food critic Tom Fitzmorris for a seminar in memory of NOWFE founding member Anne Gooch. The seminar will include history about the culinary twists and turns of New Orleans’ historic Carrollton neighborhood and feature a quartet of its current extraordinary chefs and eateries. (Chef Scotty Snodgrass of One Restaurant, Chef Nathanial Zimet of Boucherie, Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's and Chef Eman Loubier of Dante's Kitchen)

"One" Chef Scotty Snodgrass' dish: Pepper Seared Tuna with Asian Vegetables and Citrus Ponzu Wine Pairing: 2011 Chateau de Campuget Rose', southern France


"Brigtsen's" Chef Frank Brigtsen's dish: Shrimp Cornbread with Jalapeno Smoked Corn Butter Wine Pairing: 2011 Vidal-Fleurie Viognier, Rhone, France


"Boucherie" Chef Nathanial Zimet's dish: Crispy Skin Duck Confit with truffled baby root vegetables in a truffle vinaigrette Wine Pairing: 2009 Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir


"Dante's KItchen" Chef Eman Loubier's dish: Confit Pork Butt Steak with Beluga Lentils and Farm Greens, topped with Confit Tomatoes11:30am–12:30pm; $75 per person; Blaine Kern A

Distinctly Different

Discover the difference a glass makes in this special tasting showcasing the “Riedel Vinum XL” line of crystal stemware. Join Doug Reed of Riedel Crystal of America, as he demonstrates how glassware affects the flavors and aromas of wine. You’ll also receive a set of four Riedel Vinum XL glasses to keep (retail price, $123)! 11:30am–12:30pm; $75 per person; Blaine Kern E/F

Grand Tastings: 175 Wineries & 75 Chefs Come Together for a Truly Grand Experience!

The Grand Tastings are the cornerstone of NOWFE, and is the premier event of the experience.

"A truly “Grand” experience for both foodies and wine connoisseurs, with offerings from New Orleans’ finest chefs and selections of wines from around the world. The 2012 Grand Tastings will feature Fine Cooking’s award-winning contributing chefs and the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, a competition between Louisiana’s top 10 Chefs!"

The New Orleans Convention Center, HALL J / Tickets $89 (Advance) $100 (Day of Event) Friday May 25th 6:00 – 9:00pm / Close-out performance by Ingrid Lucia!

Click here to get more info about all the rest of the events going on Friday/Saturday --->

NOWFE's 20th Anniversary Celebration: The Big Gateaux Show

An International Cake Competition and Tasting Friday, May 25th from 8:30 – 11:00 pm, in the Grand Ballroom at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Tickets $75.00

"Invited pastry chefs will join in the festivities and create their own signature version of a burlesque-themed anniversary cake to be paired with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte at the “Big Gateaux Show.” This ticketed event, hosted by Top Chef Just Desserts' Johnny Iuzzini & Sucre’s Tariq Hanna and the Royal Sonesta Hotel, will feature Trixi Minx & the Beauties from Burlesque Ballroom. Each chef, will be assisted by a local culinary student to create a spectacularly designed cake, to be displayed and tasted at a festive after-party following the Friday Night Grand Tasting. Celebrity judges; as well as attendees, will choose their favorite delight. The winning design and pastry chef will be awarded with a $5000 prize sponsored by Valrhona."


Just like the glittered wings of her unforgettable Muses Mardi Gras swan float, Theresa Andersson with her latest "Street Parade", has truly spread her musical wings.

One of the absolutely most memorable music experiences I've ever had was seeing Theresa Andersson in her performance. The songs she performed alongside John-Michael Rouchell were certainly spectacular, but her solo performance was breathtaking. In that space and time, it was a magical night.

Just a few weeks ago, Andersson released her second record "Street Parade" with Basin Street Records and has found her creative center. I can't help but to get lost in the metaphor the record lives in and it's parallels to New Orleans. Sprinkled throughout, are tracks with our culture written all over them. "Injuns" is a crescendo filled track that could easily describe how one feels dancing round and round with the Mardi Gras Indians. Track number 9, "Endymion" brings us back to the indians with it's raging bass drums and rimshots surrounded by Theresa's Massive Attack inspired vocals.

Finally, the last and most impressive nod to NOLA and our musical culture is track number 7, "Fiya's Gone". Seriously, since this record came out last week, I've had this particular track on repeat ever since. The sax played throughout the track has such gritty power and anchors her chorus perfectly. Like most of the record, the percussion is held back just a bit and has a tinge of distortion which adds even more presence to her voice. If this song doesn't find itself, at least it's chorus in a major motion picture, I'd be very surprised. Just a few months ago, I hemmed and raved about Dr. John's "Locked Down" and now I find myself lining up both "Fiya's Gone" and "Locked Down" together in my everyday playlist.

To round out the record, "January" brings us back to where Andersson left off with her last record Hummingbird, Go. It's whimsical, fun and a perfect liftoff from "Endymion's" massive sound. I get chills when I hear that organ wave in the middle of the track, and it reminds me of just how diverse her sound is and can be.

After giving this record an number of listens, half-dozen to be exact, I've come to the conclusion that this is Theresa's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Experimental, heartfelt, beautiful, and the best of what's yet to come.

Here's the first and wonderfully shot video for her first single "Hold On To Me".

3 FOR 3

So we are fully beyond Mardi Gras and into lent, and what better way to raise our spirits than pressing play on some of the best music coming out this month. Of course we are dreadfully close to that precious first week of Jazz Fest, but before then, wag your ass over to Louisiana Music Factory, click and buy each band's 1's and 0's, and enjoy some truly stellar home grown tunes. Cheers y'all...


The brand new trio Bantam Foxes' first single "Sweetheart" Makes me want to pick up Hunter S. Thompson and drive to Mexico in a convertible. It's psycodelic fuzz mashup vibrates my headphones. It slows down and then whallops you when it picks back up. "Sweetheart" sounds kind of like what NIN would sound like if Trent Reznor was a little less high strung. Here's the band's own appropriate bio...

"Bantam Foxes rises from the ashes of New Orleans bands Smiley with a Knife and Cute Machines. Bantam Foxes is a three-piece pursuit of the elegantly simple - a slap in the face of raw power, melody, and rhythm. Twins Sam and Collin McCabe intertwine vocals over Sam's explosive hybrid of rhythm and lead guitar. This catchy core thrusts into overdrive atop the inseparable efforts of Collin's fuzzed-out bass lines and Jared Marcell's solid backbeats. Bantam Foxes brews a unique touch on the familiar sounds of punk, garage rock, blues, and indie pop, simultaneously drenching their music in fuzz and pinpoint accuracy."


Kristin has been on my radar for quite sometime. Enigmatic and free, I'm thrilled each time to hear her sing and to see her perform. Here voice is effortlessly smooth with a tinge rasp. Her chops are none more apparent then on my favorite song "Quittin Kind" from her upcoming record "Kristin Diable & The City". The fuzzy keys and subtle trumpet wanders in and out with a slight bit of desperation and restraint. The song is perfectly simple and terribly soulful.

And for good measure, check out her fantastic live performance in the New Orleans French Quarter for LIVESET :


Seriously, I'm not sure what took me so long to begin digging The Revivalists. I'd like to blame it on ADHD, but ever since I heard their debut "Vital Signs" I've been slayed.

This band is one of the reasons why I truly believe in the NOLA music scene and why I love it so much. Their latest release is due out the 10th of this month and is balls to the wall good. The airy soul and spacious audial landscapes run through my brain in my favorite song "Pretty Photograph".

Anyone who says NOLA is only about Jazz, needs to hop on a plane, train, or automobile and come on down to experience them live. Speaking of, The Revivalists are hosting a record release show Saturday March 10th at Blue Nile.

I love this featurette about the band, produced by the good folks at Cottage Films.


In recent years, especially since Katrina, I've enjoyed the splendor of Mardi Gras from downtown New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, Uptown and Metairie certainly have their advantages, but when it comes to shear excitement in overwhelming numbers, you can't beat downtown!

Before high school, Metairie was where I spent most of my carnival years. By the time puberty rolled around, Uptown was where my friends where we laid claim. Lots of great memories from Mardi Gras, and I'm thinking this year will be bigger and better than ever. I wanted to take the opportunity to run down some of the things I will be doing as well as what I'll be looking forward to the most this Mardi Gras.

Items and places listed below are just some of the places I like to visit and things I enjoy for Mardi Gras

In recent years, especially since Katrina, I've enjoyed the splendor of Mardi Gras from downtown New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, Uptown and Metairie certainly have their advantages, but when it comes to shear excitement in overwhelming numbers, you can't beat downtown!

Before high school, Metairie was where I spent most of my carnival years. By the time puberty rolled around, Uptown was where my friends where we laid claim. Lots of great memories from Mardi Gras, and I'm thinking this year will be bigger and better than ever. I wanted to take the opportunity to run down some of the things I will be doing as well as what I'll be looking forward to the most this Mardi Gras.


Some of my most cherished Mardi Gras moments were made over food. My family and friends always, and I mean always prepare and devour the same things each season. The trifecta I'm looking forward to most this year is...


Jambalya made with my new favorite helper, Cook Me Something Mister Jambalaya. We brought out this glorious bag of goodness last year and It was a huge hit. We use beef and smoke sausage which works so well with Cook Me Something Mister. No seafood here, just a good 'ole meatfest and it's guaranteed to help you pace yourself the whole day!

Cook Me Something Mister PH 504.943.0853 TOLL FREE 800.235.3881


If we didn't have the time to prepare our own fried chicken, Popeyes used to be the defacto standard for us on the parade rout. Nowadays Kane's Chicken Fingers is where it's at. They make it so easy to order, stop in, and pickup some of the best chicken tenders around. Umm, and the sauce, yes please! Secretly though, I do stop and pick up some biscuits from Popeyes during the day.

I have to admit, I could eat a whole king cake on the parade route and be content. Even though King Cake on Mardi Gras day could be considered a meal, I think having it after the above morals makes it every more decadent. Just imagine finishing off a few tenders and a bowl of Jambalaya, what would be more suitable for your tastebuds than a slice or two of king cake? Below are the cakes I'll be hoarding on the parade route.

Sucre via 2 locations


UPTOWN 3025 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115 PH 504.520.8311

METAIRIE 3301 Veterans Boulevard METAIRIE, LA. 70002 PH 504.834.2277


Party Palace via Langenstein's etc.


PH 504.831.6682

LANGENSTEIN'S • UPTOWN 1330 ARABELLA Street New Orleans, LA. 70115

PH. 504.899.9283



Finally, sometimes in between parades, I like to stop by and visit my good friends and Johnny's Po-boys for a Po-boy. My favorite is their french fry po-boy with a little cheese on top and of debris gravy to top if all off. Their gravy is top-notch with a bit of spicy zing at the end that just puts me into a state of food coma heaven.


511 Saint Louis Street French Quarter New Orleans, LA

PH. 504.525.8037



Whiskey Blue @ W Hotel

I try and always watch the Parade near the river and one of the places I love to re-group and rally with my krewe is at Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel on Poydras. I usually stay in the general area, if not at The W, and it's so we situated in the middle of all the action. This year they are offering their own Mardi Gras cocktail aptly titled "Mardi Gras Mambo" which is a combination of Ketel One Citron, Patron Citronage, cranberry and lime juice, finished with a splash of simple syrup.

This certainly beats the snot out of any funny shaped giant plastic drank you'll regret getting on Bourbon Street. You see anything orange is my thing, but if that's not your cup of booze, try Whiskey Blue's Coconut Basil Gimlet (Ciroc Conconut Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup and Fresh Basil.) Word of advice, pace yourself because these cocktails are addictive. Make sure to remain seated if you consume several in an hour. Have your friends rush on out and get something for you to eat.

Whiskey Blue @ The W Hotel

333 Poydras Street New Orleans, LA 70130

PH 504.207.5016


Certainly last but not, one of the things I wanted to mention was that it's such a wonderful season and I've retained a lot of great memories! Please be safe and have a great Mardi Gras 2012!



Make no bones about it, I'm completely addicted to coffee. My family and friends are a conversation away from calling the producers of the show "Intervention" and sending me off to some sort of detox program in the woods.

So that's a bit too far, but my love and obsession for coffee has no bounds. One of my all time favorite brands of coffee is Illy, and when I found out their was going to a true Illy cafe here in New Orleans, I sprung into action.Just last September coffee importer Rosario Tortorice along with his partners opened up Merchant in the Maritime Building at (800 Common New Orleans, LA 70112 / 504.571.9580).

Upon walking into Merchant, I instantly got it. The interior, compliments of Architect Ammar Eloueini, exudes Italy. With dark hard wood and hand-laid floors, it reminded me of features I had always admired in *Wallpaper magazine. Traditional Italian Espresso Bars are just that, bars in which folks walk in, order, and then sip standing up while conversing with other in a more social bar like way.



I love the fact that there are no slouchy chairs cluttering the place where folks sit and sleep in all day long. Their walls aren't cluttered with chotchkies proclaiming their pseudo coolness. Merchant and Illy mean business. The red leather covered stools at the bar ar the perfect height and contrast so very well with the rest of the simple and elegant interior.






I ordered my drink and proceeded to watch the fully trained barista prepare my drink via one of the most beautiful espresso machines I've ever seen. Stainless clad and tuned to peak performance, my drink was ready in just a few minutes.


On a side note, after sitting down and chatting with Rosario, I found out that this wasn't just a basic Illy "branded" cafe, it was a true "Artisti del Gusto café" - "Where the espresso experience is a form of art".

"When unsurpassed quality is combined with mastery of technique, hospitality at its best and passion for authentic espresso preparation and presentation, the result is perfection in the cup-a multi-sensory experience that can only be described as art. illy recognizes the elite cafés where this high standard is achieved with the designation Artisti del Gusto (Artists of Taste), and invites you to enjoy the ultimate Italian espresso experience at an Artisti del Gusto café."


After 15 or so minutes to chatting with Rosario, I quickly finished my initial outstanding latte. As I took the last sip, Rosario sort of smiled a little and asked if I wanted to try their signature mocha. Umm, yes please, like I was going to turn him down. As the artisti were crafting my second round, he explained that their "off the menu" coffee cocktail could only be order if you knew how to. Intrigued, I ask if there was some secret code or handshake needed to obtain such a special elixir. He explained, all on has to do is order by saying "I want (fill-in-the-blank-with-your-name) drink. What is delivered to you is quite possibly one of the best coffee experiences you will ever have.

The top layer is layer of pillowy chilled froth giving way to just the right amount of espresso and mocha. Truly a divine experience.



I have waxed on for several paragraphs about the coffee Merchant has to offer, but I cannot forget to mention their wide selection of breakfast pastries, crepes, salads, and panini. I spend a lot of time in and around the city. Within each neighborhood throughout NOLA, there's that go to special cafe where I pick up coffee. Each place has it's own personality and charm, as well as making great coffee drinks. The first place I think of when in the CBD is Merchant.


I would say as of the first few weeks of the new year, New Orleans is a city deep in depression. With the murder rate already in double digits, LSU getting shutout by Bama, and finally the Saints losing a heartbreaker in San Fran, I can't imagine how it could get any worse.

Don't get me wrong, I understand there are more events going on in our stratosphere of country, but to us there's nothing more important! Thank goodness we have good food, good drink, and some stellar comedy to help get us through.

I have been a huge fan and proponent of the NOLA comedy scene it seems to get bigger and better every year. One of my favorite group of decathlete comedians is The New Movement. Comprised of the most ridiculous comedic minds I've ever witnessed live, The New Movement are at the forefront of the scene.

Their latest and most ambitious effort is "Raising Nola Comedy Awareness: 19 Shows in 19 Days in 19 Venues", and it celebrates their new performance space on Burgunday St. by filling the month of January with a non-stop lineup of shows leading up to their finale, quite aptly named "Fun Razor".

To check out the details on their event visit the events Facebook page ---> click here.

Below are their latest set of "Raising Nola Comedy Awareness" PSA's as well as 2 of my favorite videos they've released in last few months. Hilarity will ensue, and since the Saints and Tigers are done for the season, we all seem a to have some free un-adulterated time for comedy.

PSA #1

PSA # 2

PSA # 3

"Turning Points - The Horse"

"That's Cool"