The New Orleans Thanksgiving table: Oyster dressing, rice, bread stuffing or mac ‘n’ cheese?

By Kristine Froeba, Uptown Messenger

Our New Orleans elders and those who respect the old guard serve oyster dressing with their roast turkey. I wouldn’t dream of Thanksgiving without it. However, an influx of newcomers might be changing the menu. In old New Orleans, as in the present, gumbo, turtle soup or oyster soup is served first, followed by the roast turkey and oyster dressing. A myriad of dishes follow, but another expected dish is rice dressing.

Merry, merry New Orleans holiday cocktails

Sugar cookie and candy cane martinis top the drinks menu at The Roosevelt. Hot toddies and mulled wine are the beverages of choice in holiday movies. And polls place good old-fashioned egg nog as the most popular drink of the holiday season. I concur that homemade egg nog — spiked with a good whiskey, topped with meringue, and dusted with freshly grated nutmeg — is Christmas personified. That said, I’ve recently spiked gallons of the store-bought variety. However, no matter the amount of Woodford’s, Maker’s Mark or Basil Hayden consumed via la nog, sometimes this gal needs a real cocktail, minus the cream.

Kristine Froeba on hurricane prep: Popeyes, bourbon and ice

No matter the crisis — pandemic, plague, zombie apocalypse or, even worse, a Cat 3 barreling toward the mouth of the Mississippi — New Orleanians never lose their sense of humor. The world might just end, but even if it does, we’re going out with a wink and smile, drinks held high, ironic swagger intact. (COCKTAILS REQUIRE ICE)
The cone of uncertainty is old hat to locals. We’ve been helping our family and friends prepare for Armageddon since before we finagled fake IDs. Supermarket and hardware store shelves empty at an alarming pace when there’s a storm in the Gulf.

New Orleans Thanksgiving 2020: Socially distanced Creole Oyster Dressing

By Kristine Froeba, Uptown Messenger

Below is the Oyster Dressing recipe I’ve prepared since 2006. It was recorded at the elbow of my cousin Velma, then 93. At 4-foot-10, still whip-smart and eternally feisty, she bossily instructed me in “the right way” to prepare the family dressing for an “authentic Creole New Orleans Thanksgiving.” Her recipe cards and everything else she’d owned were stolen a year before “by that hussy Katrina,” her sobriquet for the hurricane. The recipe she passed down that day, first prepared by her family in the 1800s, had been committed to memory during Prohibition.

Catching up with actor Wendell Pierce

Wendell Pierce talks COVID-19, “Jack Ryan,” “Burning Cane,” and WBOK in interview with Kristine Froeba
New Orleans native, “Treme” and “The Wire” actor, Wendell Pierce is coming off of one of the most exciting periods of his career. And although COVID-19 has created a lull in almost everyone’s life and career, Pierce seems to be as visible as ever, both on the ground in New Orleans and on our collective streaming services. It is also Pierce’s instantly recognizable, dulcet tone that narrates the new Popeye’s NOLA Strong campaign released last week. It’s a video that caused more than a few locals’ eyes to well up. When the restaurant chain created its NOLA Strong family meal box, directing all profits to benefit the non-profit Second Harvest Food Bank, they called on Pierce.

Viewpoint: The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, circa 2020

The importance of cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces has become the new national pastime. In the past month, we’ve all viewed tutorials and become experts on how to properly wash our hands for 20 seconds or more, but what about our groceries, shoes and mail-order packages? You’re likely wiping down some surfaces with disinfectant, but are you wiping down all the right surfaces? If keeping your home safe from COVID-19 is the priority, what comes after 6 feet of social distancing and a liberally applied hand sanitizer? Some say it entails a lot more.

Viewpoint: Weighing risk in the restaurant takeout dilemma


COVID-19 can live up to eight hours on cardboard takeout boxes and up to 72 on Styrofoam containers, straws, cups and plastic bags, says a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Airborne droplets can linger in the air for three to four hours after a person has coughed or sneezed. What does that mean for locals who are supporting our beloved local restaurants and coffee shops? It means risk. Takeout and curbside service is a risk to the health of the workers and the customers, but how much?

Kristine Froeba: Saints’ Jeff Charleston Rises after Southern Charm New Orleans finale

The star of Bravo’s Southern Charm New Orleans talks loving his new life

Former Saints player and Southern Charm New Orleans star, Jeff Charleston has a lot to say about his life, and the gist is that he’s loving every minute of it. An interview with Charleston reveals a man excited about new beginnings and a fresh start in his adopted hometown. “I cannot wait to move back to New Orleans,” said Charleston. “I just have to figure out where in the city I want to live again.” New Orleanians who don’t watch the Bravo reality series know him as No.

Hollywood South: Kristine Froeba interview with Laura Cayouette

Uptown’s “Django Unchained” and “Queen Sugar” actor Laura Cayouette on New Orleans, Pussyfooting and Hollywood South
(revised 7/23/2019)

That cheerful, tall, lanky strawberry blonde – and avid Saints fan – you see at the Superdome and walking down Magazine Street looks familiar because she is. Actress Laura Cayouette traded Hollywood for Hollywood South nine years ago and hasn’t looked back, much. “After my first Carnival season as a resident, I called my mother and told her I wanted to sue her for child abuse,” said Cayouette. “I said I wanted to file charges for them not raising me here.”

That year was the year of the Black and Gold Super Bowl. “It was the greatest Carnival in the history of the city,” said Cayouette.

Kristine Froeba on NOLA storm prep: Popeyes, bourbon and ice


No matter the crisis, New Orleanians never lose their sense of humor or their wry sense of irony; the world might end, but if possible, we plan to go out smiling. Whether a Cat 3, Armageddon, the zombie apocalypse or New Orleans’ version of the same – a levee breach – locals know how to prepare. And until the bitter end, that preparation includes a box of chicken, a cocktail — and maybe a party. Grocers and hardware shelves empty at an alarming pace when there’s a storm in the Gulf, and it’s a seller’s market for newbies who need plywood. (Locals have made-to-measure plywood sheets with attached hooks ready to hang long before hurricane season starts.)

After moving stubborn great-aunties to high ground (and their yappy little dogs), gassing up the cars (interminable humid lines), refilling prescriptions (hours at CVS), stocking up on medical supplies (arguing with Blue Cross) and hanging the plywood with care, we have the joy of literally racing to the nearest market.