The annual Champagne Stroll is returning to Magazine Street this Friday (May 7) through Sunday (May 9). This year it is called “Champagne Strolling” and takes place as a three-day event: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The spring 2020 Champagne Stroll was virtual, on a live interactive video feed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual component will also continue this year.
The Magazine Street Merchants Association sponsors the event and encourages everyone to sip and shop safely. “Despite the pandemic, we are trying to maintain the traditions of our Magazine Street events,” said MSMA President Kevin Gillentine, who owns the Kevin Gillentine gallery at 3917 Magazine.
The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club, the folks who present the parade and block party in normal times, found a way to celebrate and to continue their support for St. Michael School. They are hosting a drive-thru style event today (March 17). Guests are asked to provide a cash or credit card donation to St.
At the garden of the stately manor house of Katherine and Tony Gelderman, on Saturday (March 13), the Garden District Book Shop hosted acclaimed author and Tulane professor Walter Isaacson for a combined celebration of his new book “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” and a celebration of Garden District Book Shop’s 40th anniversary. “For 40 years, Garden District Book Shop has charmed us,” said Christopher Tidmore, one of a group who purchased the store from founder Britton Trice earlier this year. “It has been a great 40 years, and we’ve overcome a lot of obstacles,” Trice told the assembled audience. Despite bookstore chains, the rise of e-books and the gobbling maw of Amazon, Garden District Book Shop is poised to enter its fourth decade with a new children’s reading room and plans to add a connecting cafe and bistro, with three enthusiastic new owners besides. When Isaacson, smiling, took the stage, it was for the first in-person event that the bookshop has hosted through the pandemic.
Bestselling author and New Orleans native Walter Isaacson will host the first national signing of his new book, “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race,” on Saturday (March 13) at a private home in the Garden District. The book is an account of how 2020 Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that allowed us to cure diseases, fend off viruses and have healthier babies. Isaacson will share his insights into the work of Doudna, which is increasingly topical as we navigate through this pandemic and aim to understand the technology behind the new vaccines. The event is limited to 150 guests, due to COVID-19 restrictions. At the home of Tony and Katherine Gelderman on First Street in the Garden District, it will be outside, socially distanced and fully masked.
The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club has canceled the Irish Channel Parade for the second year in a row as the coronavirus continues community spread. Additionally, the annual block party at Annunciation Playground benefiting St. Michael Special School is canceled. But New Orleanians have found a way to celebrate, along with some Irish and Irish-at-heart brethren in Chicago.
Goat yoga and plant sales are starting up again Paradigm Gardens in Central City. The events raise money for the Paradigm Gardens School, a tuition-free private school for kindergarten through 12th grade. Weekly plant sales start Sunday (Feb. 28) and promise seasonal heirloom veggies, fruits, flowers and herbs, plus something you generally don’t find at the big-box stories or garden centers: brunch. Breakfast from top local chefs, fresh squeezed juices and cold-brew coffee are offered, along with music, arts and crafts vendors and chair massages.
Plant sales are Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. If you’re in the market for plants, the Paradigm folks advise you to come early, as the plants sell out.
The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy this week continues its third “Embrace the Culture” virtual series with a weekly “Geaux Live NOLA” event — part of a multi-week series that will feature live-streamed performances by local artists and musicians. This week’s event has been rescheduled to today, Feb. 19, from noon to 4 p.m. This will be a community photoshoot with photographer Felice Gee. The event will take place on the corner of Dryades and Toledano streets. A maximum of 10 people every half hour can participate.
There was dancing and live music on Friday (Jan. 15) to unveil the third house float of the Krewe of Red Beans’ effort to put laid-off Mardi Gras artists to work. The theme for the Lower Garden District house float is “Acadiana Hayride,” and it features portraits of Cajun and zydeco musicians, dancing couples and of course a horse. The latter seems to block the entrance to the house. “We just squeeze in around it,” laughed homeowner Michael Burke.
When homeowner Stacey Burke donated to the Krewe of Red Beans’ “Hire A Mardi Gras Artist” crowdfunding site, she was doing it to support out-of-work Mardi Gras artists who lost their livelihoods with canceled parades.
Arts education nonprofit KID smART encourages you to “create your own Mardi Gras Krewe” with them this Carnival season. Each Tuesday from Jan. 12 to Feb. 9, they will host interactive virtual events on how to make throws, costumes, and more from real krewe experts. Fat Tuesday is Feb.
With masks creatively incorporated into costumes, 25 members of the Phunny Phorty Phellows boarded a streetcar Wednesday at the Willow Street Car Barn for their traditional Twelfth Night trip down St. Charles Avenue. Since 1981, the krewe has heralded the beginning of the New Orleans Carnival season. Following COVID-19 restrictions, the 25 participants represented about 25 percent of the group’s usual size, the public was not allowed inside the streetcar barn to send them off, and crowds along the route were asked to wear masks and keep to small socially distanced groups.
If you drive on St. Charles Avenue any evening between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night, you are bound to see a small traffic jam in the 4500 block, across from Academy of the Sacred Heart. The reason? An extravagant light display on the majestic live oak trees and the fence at 4534 St. Charles Ave.