Well, I never thought it’d happen to lil’ ole me but my new book, Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour, has been on Amazon for almost a year now and it’s still a bestseller, in the top 5 in its category!
Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour Remains Bestseller on Amazon!
So here’s an interview I did with monster Internet maven Dion GeBorde about alla dat.
Click the Buy Now button below to get your copy of my bestselling travel guide
Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour
It used to be $0.99. Now you can get it for only $3.47.
But hurry, I may be raising the price in the near future. So now is the time to get it.
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So you got your Christmas wreath still up and Mardi Gras is coming. Heck, this is the perfect time to keep that Christmas wreath up on your door and make it a Mardi Gras wreath. It’s pretty easy peasy. With a few simple items and only a few minutes – boom – you got yourself a Mardi Gras wreath.
How to Change a Christmas Wreath to a Mardi Gras Wreath – Video
Watch this video to see how it’s done. It’s a pretty easy process once you got all the materials. The key is purple, green and gold. As long as you got those colors then you are good to go.
Your plan ole Christmas wreath awaiting transformation.
So above you have your typical Christmas wreath. With the holiday season over it seems tired and forlorn. So get yourself some Mardi Gras garland. I got mine at Walgreen’s. Then I went into a bag of Mardi Gras throws that every one in New Orleans hoards in their closets. They do come in handy sometimes.
Adding just a few simple things it now a Mardi Gras wreath.
Remove the red bow and then just kinda drape the garland around the wreath. I got these little ceramic carnival heads somewhere, I don’t remember. Then just take a green, gold and purple beads, the Mardi Gras colours, and drape it over the wreath. No need to be really meticulous. This is a carnival decoration after all. The effect is that it looks like the wreath has just exploded on the door.
Funny thing there is about the holidays. Around Halloween when I think of having to go out and buy a tree and pull all the decorations out and pretty up the house it just seems so far off, like I couldn’t imagine doing all that, so far away from Christmas. Since it’s not Christmas it does not feel like Christmas.
New Orleans Mardi Gras Comes Too Soon This Year
Our tree decorated with the finishing touch – the ribbons cascading down – really dresses it up.
Then Thanksgiving comes and still I just cannot imagine doing all that I have to do for the coming holidays, the buying and the hauling back home the tree, taking the many boxes of decorations down from the back steps where they are stored, pulling everything out, putting up the garland and spreading all the decorations around the house.
Then turkey day passes and the first thing I think about is now I have to go out and buy a tree. Fortunately this year I found a Unitarian church group close to home that was selling fresh cut trees. I made it there, found the perfect tree, the first one I looked at in fact, bought it, had it put on top of my car and I was back home within a half hour of leaving. I mean, it was the best tree buying experience ever.
So now that is my new place to buy the tree. Yippee, the first weekend after Thanksgiving I got my tree. I set it up in the backyard in a bucket of water and sprayed it down with water to freshen it up. I do this every year, then bring it into the house a day or two afterwards.
Once the tree is in the house, well, yes it feels like Christmas, then I am eager to get all the decorations down from storage and go to town putting up the garland and lights and candles and wreaths and all the accouterments fof the season.
The most onerous of all the jobs, besides finding and buying the perfect tree, which this year was really easy, is putting on the lights on the tree. This year instead of trying to do it all at once I just did it a little bit at a time over a period of a couple days. Once that’s done, heck, the rest is easy.
My mom, who just turned 101, took the ornaments out of the box, as she does every year, and unwrapped the tissue paper from each one and put them on a tray that I move right next to the tree. We had the tree done in an hour or so.
Then I put the finishing touches on it with ribbons that draped down from the top of the tree. It really makes a difference, really dresses up the tree and everyone comments how beautiful the tree is. It’s the ribbons that make all the difference.
So the tree will be up for about a month. About the last week it stops sucking up water and begins to dry out. The branches start to droop and although it still looks beautiful the tree has finally given up the ghost. We usually keep the tree up till right after my mom’s birthday which is the 9th of January.
It’s funny how after the New Year’s and around about the 6th, which is Twelfth Night when the Wise Men brought the gifts to the Baby Jesus, the decorations seem to change. You can feel it in the air, it’s just time to take them down.
Yes, the house still looks beautiful, but the air of the holidays has passed and it’s time to move on into the new year. The tree is saying, my time is up, time to move on to fulfill my new role as protector of the coast, rebuilder of the coastline.
Early Saturday morning I was able to take the tree down and out to the curb. I got it out there an hour before the recycling truck came by the pick the trees up to be used in our coastal rebuilding projects. It was the last day of the pickup and I got it out there just in time.
The inauspicious end to our beautiful tree, now empty, lonely and forlorn waiting to be picked up by the recycling truck to join other trees helping to rebuild our Louisiana coast.
Having dried out the tree was light enough now that I could pull it out of its deep water well in the stand, turn it around to put the trunk end to the door and hall it out all by myself. I pulled out the tree through the doors, it’s dry branches crunching against the doorway and laying a trail of dry needles down the steps and along the sidewalk, and lay it out by the curb.
There it lay on its side, empty, forlorn, dry and barren, such an ignominious end to what had once been such a beautiful being which made some folks gasp in delight on their first viewing of it as they walked through the front door.
The truck came by and I watched as the men unceremoniously grabbed it, threw it in the back of the truck, flipped the switch to allow that big claw to grab it and crunched it up with all the other empty, forlorn and once beautiful and beloved trees. Now they moved on to the next part of their life cycle on the coast of Louisiana.
Now we get ready for Mardi Gras which comes much earlier than we are ready for this season. God, Carnival already? That’s what most New Orleanian’s are thinking. January 6th we started eating our first king cakes as we do every year.
But all the balls and festivities that usually get spread out over a couple months now have to be done in a couple weeks. Just can’t imagine now going out to see parades and doing the whole carnival thing. I mean, the holidays just ended. What the heck is all that about?
Easter is early and so Mardi Gras is too. That’s just the way it is. But when the first parades roll the season will be upon us and, guess what, it will feel like Mardi Gras and everyone of us will be all in.
The spirit of the carnival season just gets infectious. Funny how holidays seem to go like that. And we’ll be out there standing in the streets catching stuff from the floats, others will be on the floats throwing stuff to us. Totally and completely caught up in the season. And I’ll think “what’s all that about Mardi Gras being too early?”
Well, Louis Armstrong did what I think is the quintessential version of this New Orleans Chritsmas song. But heck, here we got James Andrews do a really laid back, kinda mellow version of the song.
Christmastime in New Orleans – A Bouncy, Updated Version of the Louis Armstrong Classic by James Andrews
This is a great video with a whole slew of fantastic New Orleans Christmas scenes all over the city. The shot of the black Santa… pretty cool.
I’m performing my annual Christmas concert at the Neutral Ground Coffee House this Saturday and I usually do this song Satchmo style. But, heck, Im going to do it this new way. I think I like it better.
I live in uptown, in the Maple Street area to be exact, and this is one of New Orleans dive bars just a few minute walk from my house. Snake and Jake’s is without a doubt the very definition of a dive bar. It’s in a garage right there in the heart of a residential street. It’s in a class all by itself.
The Inside Take on Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge in New Orleans – Video
When I first saw it before I knew what it was, I wondered why the place had not been torn down. But on closer inspection I realized it was actually a bar that was still in business. If you take a close look at the roof it’s a faded, dusty blue tarp.
I think when you look up dive bar in the dictionary there is a picture of this place. Yet, this is very popular with locals and students and touts a very relaxing atmosphere. And a drink called the possum… you’ll have to watch the video to find out why… has to do with a live possum.
To be honest I’ve never been in here because every time I walk by it’s closed. Of course, I walk by too early. And if you are visiting the city it’s worth it to catch a cab or ride the streetcar to Oak Street and walk about 4 blocks to check the place out.
This New Orleans dive bar is definitely on my bucket list. And I don’t have to walk too far to get to it.
If you’ve been there, leave a comment and tell us what you think.
One of the most horrific incidents ever in the city of New Orleans happened in the 1830s when the LaLaurie Mansion caught on fire. After dowsing the flames the fireman something in the attic, something that horrified even them, something almost unspeakable.
Newspapers carried the story but were reluctant to give the full details since what occurred was so brutal and inhuman.
Haunted New Orleans – What You Don’t Know About the LaLaurie Mansion in the French Quarter – Video
Now it’s said that the ghosts of those involved haunt the mansion even today. Many who have lived in the home claim they’ve experienced sightings and horrific visitations. This was a home that Nicholas Cage owned for a time before he started having money problems.
This is perhaps the most famous of haunted places in New Orleans today.
Hey, baby. You want something upbeat, bouncy, finger-snapping, toe-tapping, high note singing from New Orleans’ own king of Jazz, Satchmo Louis Armstrong. Well, we got something for you right now to add to your Christmas playlist.
Louis Armstrong Cool Yule – Oh Yeah, Babe, Good Christmas Music Does Exist! Add Dis to Your Holiday Playlist
This is something I’m going to learn for my upcoming Holiday Concert at the Neutral Ground on December 20th. Ain’t nothin’ like a good old Satchmo song to get you in the holiday mood.
This is REAL music, not that electronic pre-recorded schlange that substitutes for music today.
OK. So over the past few years, since 2009, I’ve been maintaining this blog to write about things that are about New Orleans or Louisiana and I feel that there is always tons of things to write about along these lines.
Just Why the Heck Do I Keep This Blog About New Orleans
Here is thy humble reporter, Richard Bienvenu, on the banks of the mighty Mississippi near the New Orleans French Quarter.
And you know there are some days or weeks even where I do not feel like writing anything at all. I sometimes feel as if I really don’t have anything to offer and I get bogged down with other things and kind of let this go. And then later I come back to it and start writing again.
I guess there are times when I get discouraged about what I’m writing here or trying to accomplish. I mean my original reason for starting this was to be able to display and give a platform for New Orleans and to show my love for this city and it’s people and culture and history and food and all of that and to really show how unique this place is and why there is really no other place like this in the world.
And well I still feel that way.
But sometimes I feel that what I am writing falls on deaf ears or really falls on no ears at all.
Can’t seem to get the site any higher in the rankings. I wanted this site, this blog, to be kind of a go-to site for people in the city to get a sense of how unique the place is, and for those who do not live here but have visited, or would love to visit or those that are just enamored of the place because of where it sits in the world of music, architecture, history, culture and cuisine.
So sometimes I get kind of discouraged that it has not gotten much traction despite of everything I know how to do to supposedly make it better. But I will just keep plugging away at it because this is what I do.
I’m always looking for ideas for posts or other things I can do with the site. Please let me know if you would like to make a contribution of writing or ideas or layout.
“It is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than own the entire state of Ohio.” — Lafcadio Hearn…. New Orleans is one of the most magical cities in the world. There is something about this city that has a tendency to take hold of you and won’t let go. If you are born […]more →
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