Friday, March 14, 2008

Be a Tourist in your own backyard

Spring is here at last and to me it is the finest time to enjoy the bounty offered by the Gulf Coast area. Nearly three years post K, this area's denizens have shown the strength and determination within themselves by coming back bigger and better.

Hubby and I are rabid festival-goers and this is prime time for us. It's not just the festivals we enjoy, either.

Last Saturday we ventured down to Napoleon House for lunch. The bruschetta was mouthwatering and I could eat their muffaletta every day.

By the time we finished, it was late afternoon, which proved to be a great time to snap pictures of the classic architecture of the French Quarter.

This Sunday is dubbed "Super Sunday" in NOLA. Wish I could be there to witness the Mardi Gras Indians. Hat Tip to Ashley Truely a treasure, the Indians will strut their stuff, so bring your cameras. Their artistic costumes are like nothing you've ever seen!! My hubby works on Sunday, so I'll be one of those folks enjoying the blogger reports, like Ashley's, on Monday.

About a mile from our house is the Slidell trailhead of the Tammany Trace where bikers, walkers and horseback riders have the opportunity to experience a quiet off-the-road tour of five communities along the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain St. Tammany Parish: Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe, and Slidell. It's a great way to get away from your hectic week for a few hours. You have the opportunity of biking 40 miles in a few hours. Talk about burning calories!!! We've biked from the Mandeville Trailhead to the Abita Brewpub , had lunch and burned it all off by the end of our roundtrip. Now THAT'S my kind of exercise!!

The last weekend of March is the St. Bernard Crawfish Festival. We've never been, but crawfish WOULD be nice.....

Speaking of mudbugs, April 19th is the date set for the Crawfish Cook-Off - St. Tammany's Biggest Cook-Off Event at Fritchie Park in Slidell.
This is the third annual cookoff and it gets bigger and better every year.
50 Teams will compete for the title of "Best Tasting Crawfish". Live Musical Entertainment Lost Bayou Ramblers,Four Unplugged and Top Cats.
Money raised benefits the Fund for "End of Life" Care. Over 45,000 lbs. of Crawfish to be boiled. Tickets may be purchased prior to the event at any Northshore Whitney Bank and at the gates the day of the event.

On the weekend of April 5th the Picayune (Mississippi) semi annual street fair happens . This is a really great fair which spans for miles through one of the city's main thoroughfares. There are always plenty of assorted vendors (approximately 250) selling Antiques, Arts & Crafts, Woodwork,Plants,Iron Work, Preserves, Jewelry,Unfinished Furniture and a variety of foods. If you're a people watcher, this is a fair for you!!

The springtime is a great time to take Highway 90 to the Gulf Coast. While driving towards Biloxi, be sure to look out for the incredible carvings done on oak trees killed by Katrina along the median. Heck, pull over to get a real good look at them. The details are incredible.

While you're over there, support the economy's rebirth by having lunch at one of the lesser-known eateries, like Rickeys in Bay St. Louis. Or Los Tres Amigos in Waveland. Both places serve up some great food.

French Quarter Festival which is IMHO one of the best festivals around.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it runs from Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13 the FQ Fest offers 250 hours of free entertainment, featuring more than 150 musical performances on fifteen stages throughout the French Quarter. Nearly 60 food and beverage booths located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, and elsewhere will make up the “World's Largest Jazz Brunch,” a signature event featuring authentic local cuisine from renowned area restaurants.

Also on that weekend is the Pontchatoula Strawberry Festival

It's held in downtown Pontchatoula and is a festival you have to attend at least once in your life. Irma Thomas will be entertaining on the Sunday of the festival.

So be a tourist in your own area and boost the economy by having fun.

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