Saturday, March 26, 2016

House of Blues, New Orleans

House of Blues is a chain of live music concert halls and restaurants in major markets throughout the United States.

Gospel brunch

Léah on stage

Léah singing on stage at the House of Blues.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation is a historic plantation located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in the community of Vacherie, Louisiana. Oak Alley is named for its distinguishing visual feature, an alley, created by a double row of southern live oak trees about 800 feet (240 meters) long, planted in the early 18th century — long before the present house was built. The tree avenue runs between the home and the River.

The Bon Séjour plantation, as Oak Alley was originally named, was established to grow sugarcane in 1830.


The Big House was a gift from a wealthy Creole sugar planter to his bride. It took three years to complete (1837 to 1839) and was constructed primarily by slave labor. Most of the basic building materials were found or manufactured on the plantation with finishing details imported from other parts of the United States and Europe.

Slave cabins

Names of slaves

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Laura Plantation

Laura Plantation is a restored historic Louisiana Creole plantation on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Vacherie, Louisiana. Formerly known as Duparc Plantation, it is significant for its early 19th-century Créole-style raised big house and several surviving outbuildings, including six slave cabins. It is one of only 15 plantation complexes in Louisiana with this many complete structures.

The parents and family of U.S. singer-songwriter Fats Domino ("Blueberry Hill") had lived on the plantation.


Registry of slaves, May 1808

Years etched into the fence posts

Slave cabins

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Beignets are commonly known in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powdered sugar on top. They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot. Variations of fried dough can be found across cuisines internationally; however, the origin of the term beignet is specifically French. In the United States, beignets have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine and are customarily served as a dessert or in some sweet variation. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists, from "the old mother country", and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking, variations often including banana or plantain – popular fruits in the port city.

Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986.


Café Du Monde is a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is best known for its café au lait and its French-style beignets.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016


A bayou is a Franco-English term used in the United States for a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to a creek whose current reverses daily due to tides and which contains brackish water highly conducive to fish life and plankton.

The word was first used by the English in Louisiana and is thought to originate from the Choctaw word "bayuk", which means "small stream".


These marshes or wetland areas move very slowly and make ideal homes for creatures like alligators, crawfish and catfish -- all of which are popular bayou foods.

The bayou culture is actually more diverse than many may think. There is no doubt that the most closely associated culture to the bayou is the Cajun culture. The Cajuns were French-speaking settlers relocated from Nova Scotia. They were actually known as "Acadians," but the local dialect eventually led to the word becoming "Cajun." In South Louisiana's bayous the culture is as diverse as the ingredients found in the local gumbo. In addition to the French Canadians that were the foundation of much of the bayou culture, there are also significant influences from Spanish, German, African and Irish settlers as well as Native Americans. In modern Cajun culture on the bayou, the people are a blend of all these cultures. In the Southern Louisiana bayous today, you can often find people who consider themselves "Cajuns" who primarily speak French, but have last names like Smith, McGee or Manuel as well as the French surnames common in the region.


The “Wishing Tree” which was used in Disney’s “The Princess and The Frog”.

One of the first things to strike you with a sense of wonder when you visit the deep South is the grandeur of beautiful, draping Spanish moss decorating the huge trees.

If you don’t live there, then the charming and somewhat spooky appearance of the silver-gray strands, hanging like natural Halloween decorations, summon images of old plantations, bayous and the swamps seen in movies. 

When it sways in the wind at night, this tangled “tree hair”, as the Native Americans called it, is both eerie and intriguing. French explorers dubbed it “Spanish Beard” as an insult, so the Spanish then named this moss “French Hair”. It has been used as bedding, stuffing, upholstery, insulation, mulch, medicine and in arts and crafts; it has even been used as an ingredient in making voodoo dolls. Yet this flowering plant is not even a true moss. It is a distant member of the pineapple family and grows until it looks like it is dripping from large trees. It can grow over 25 feet long and does not kill the giant, ancient trees.



Monday, March 14, 2016

New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Street – New Year’s Eve: