Culture

Mardi Gras
11:53 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras Merriment Beyond Bourbon Street Festivities

A reveler dances with a young girl during the Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou, La., in 2007.
Josh Noel MCT /Landov

It's Fat Tuesday, the final day of indulgence before the fasting and penance of Lent begins. While the revelry in New Orleans tends to grab the spotlight, you can find some fascinating Mardi Gras traditions elsewhere.

From chasing chickens in Cajun Country to catching MoonPies in Mobile, communities all along the Gulf Coast have their own way of marking Carnival season.

The Fatted Ox

Read more
Mardi Gras
10:30 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Meet The Calas, A New Orleans Treat That Helped Free Slaves

Waitress Gaynell James serves up calas cake from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans on Jan. 28, 2013.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 12:35 pm

It's Mardi Gras, and down in New Orleans, the King Cakes, beignets and other gustatory delights are flowing freely. But if you prefer your culinary temptations with a side of history, allow me to introduce you to the calas, a Creole rice fritter with a storied past.

Read more
Mardi Gras
9:52 am
Sun February 10, 2013

High School Marching Bands Lay Down The Beat Of Mardi Gras

The McDonogh 35 High School band marches in a parade to usher in the Carnival Season.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 8:18 am

In less than an hour, the McDonogh 35 High School marching band — including the flag girls, the dance team, the majorettes, the color guard and the actual band — needs to be on the parade route five miles away. It's the peak of Carnival season in New Orleans, and high school marching bands form the backbeat of Mardi Gras.

Read more
After Katrina
5:52 am
Sat February 2, 2013

For New Orleans, Superdome A Symbol Of City's Spirit

The San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 2:07 pm

The Superdome in New Orleans has hosted heavyweight fights, papal visits, and — after this weekend — seven Super Bowls, an NFL record. But no event looms larger in the dome's history than Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that turned the stadium into a teeming shelter of last resort.

During the storm, reporters spared no hyperbole when describing scenes of human suffering. The Superdome, in particular, was described as a "hellhole" and "apocalyptic," and it was sort of true.

Read more
Music Interviews
1:01 am
Thu January 24, 2013

The 'True Story' Inside Aaron Neville's Doo-Wop World

Aaron Neville's latest album, My True Story, is a collection of the doo-wop songs he grew up singing in New Orleans.
Sarah A. Friedman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:19 pm

At 72, the prince of R&B has reverted to childhood. Aaron Neville has a new album called My True Story, and it's a collection of the songs he sang growing up in the projects of New Orleans in the 1950s and '60s, back when doo-wop was king.

"I've been into every doo-wop there is," Neville says. "I think I went to the university of doo-wop-ology."

Read more
What We're Reading
5:10 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Author Pens Stories of African American Life in Rural North Carolina

Stephanie Powell Watts, 2012 recipient of the Ernest J. Gains Award for Literary Excellence presented by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Credit Stephanie Powell Watts

Stephanie Powell Watts will be accepting this year’s Ernest Gains Award for Literary Excellence from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Watts is being recognized for her collection of 10 stories, “We Are Taking Only What We Need," chronicling the lives of African Americans in rural North Carolina.

Watts writes from experience. 


Read more
LGBT Life
6:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

In Baton Rouge, the Closet is Crowded

FILE: A group from Baton Rouge's L Bar holds up a pride banner at the capitol, June 23, 2012.
Credit Amy Jeffries / WRKF

In its municipal survey released in November, the Human Rights Campaign scored Baton Rouge a two out of 100 based on the policies and services the city has in place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.   

Only Montgomery, Al., Frankfort, Ky. and Jefferson City, Mo. scored lower.

So we wondered if Baton Rouge’s dismal score is indicative of life for LGBT people here.


Read more
Music Interviews
1:03 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Preserving The Home, And History, Of New Orleans' Piano Professor

Professor Longhair performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, circa 1970.
David Redfern Redferns

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 1:10 pm

On the tough side of Terpsichore Street in New Orleans stands a duplex — a two-story, wood-framed building with wood floors, high ceilings and a nice fireplace. But this old house is empty: no furniture, no walls, no electricity, no toilet. Iron bars hide the windows; there's a lockbox on the door. The facade is three different shades of blecch, blurgh and blah.

Read more
Music
4:16 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Ernie K-Doe: A One-Hit Weirdo's Rise, Fall And Redemption

Ernie K-Doe and his fans at the Warehouse in New Orleans in 1974.
Michael P. Smith The Historic New Orleans Collection

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:33 pm

Even in a city known for its eccentrics, Ernie K-Doe was in another dimension. The New Orleans musician always knew — and said, loudly — that he was special. And for one week in a life of wild ups and downs, he managed to pierce the national consciousness with a chart-topping hit: 1961's "Mother in Law."

Read more
Music
2:50 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Country Singer Sammy Kershaw's Cajun Christmas

Sammy Kershaw's new album of Cajun holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:44 am

If the sheer variety of holiday music that pops up each winter is any indication, there's no genre that can't handle a little Christmas spirit. This year, Louisiana country singer Sammy Kershaw decided to test that theory with the sounds of the bayou. His new album of Cajun-infused holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.

Read more

Pages