I am a mass communication major concentrating in journalism and I love following other journalists and learning about them, they are all kind of like celebrities in my eyes.

One of my favorite journalists and someone I absolutely idolize is Hoda Kotb. The summer before college I had officially decided that I was going into journalism so of course I read every book every journalist ever wrote, which include Hoda’s book “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee.”

This year, I became the president of the student chapter of the Society Professional Journalists which meant I was in charge of choosing speakers. So, I set the goal of getting Hoda to come. I had tried through twitter a few times and then in January I found out she was doing a book signing in New Orleans so I went and asked her to speak at Loyola and she agreed. I got in touch with her again through twitter and then we planned through email and things fell into place to where she is coming this week to speak.

I can hardly contain my excitement and all of the planning has made me so much more excited. Here are all of the details:

Thursday, April 11 from 6:30-7:45 p.m. in Studio A, which is the fourth floor of the Communications/Music Complex. The event is free and open to all Loyola, Tulane, and Xavier students.

Here is the Facebook event you can join to get up to date information:
https://www.facebook.com/events/293346424130959/?fref=ts

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It’s time for Loup Garou! Are you excited?!

This years line up is a perfect combination of old, new, and up-and-coming. The opening band, the LOYNO band Eugene, is going to be a great first act. For those of you who missed them at Battle of the Bands a few weeks ago, be sure to get to the Howling Wolf in time to hear them play. You’ll definitely want to check them out!

Up next is Delta Rae, a relatively new band on the music scene. Their first single, Bottom of the River, features brassy vocals and a strong chains-on-trashcan beat. I was lucky enough to catch them at VooDoo last October, and I can assure this southern group knows how to put on a show. Not only is every member beautiful, they are also extremely talented. My favorite song by them is called “Morning Comes” because it really showcases their amazing harmonies.

Matt and Kim are the main attraction. A lot of you might remember them from their classic song “Daylight.” If you think haven’t heard it, look it up- you definitely have. Along with their older works, they also have a lot of new material, including the song “Sidewalks” which will for sure be a crowd pleaser.

How lucky are we that Loyola SGA and UPB puts on a concert for us every year?! Admission with a student ID is $10, and free for seniors. AND transportation to and from the Howlin’ Wolf will be provided starting at 6:30 in the turn around. Pick up your tickets in the Office of Co-Curricular this week- you don’t want to miss this chance to see three great bands! So, will I see you there?

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I love Easter. My family has always had a lot of traditions surrounding the holiday of Easter, which has made the holiday special for me. My sister and I always had the Easter Bunny hide our eggs and our baskets. We would always have a competition to see who would get more eggs (I always won). To this day, we still buy the egg-dyeing kits and color our eggs. The only difference between now and then is that this time, my sister and I clean up after ourselves when we’re done.

By far, the most interesting Easter tradition I’ve ever participated in was Salubong, a Filipino Easter devotion. Salubong, which means “meeting” in Tagalog, is a reenactment of the meeting of Jesus and Mary on Easter morning. Traditionally, in Filipino villages, the men carry a statue of Jesus on one side and the women carry a statue of Mary (wearing a black mourning veil/cloth) on the other side. They meet up, and a young girl dressed in white removes the black mourning veil from Mary, revealing a white veil underneath.

At a church in Houston, we would do a variation of this. All of the girls 10 and under in the community were asked to arrive at the church at 3:30 in the morning dressed as angels (white dresses/nightgowns with some sort of wings–my dad made wings out of cardboard boxes for me and my sister, complete with shoulder straps). They would stand us on a platform (a lot of the younger girls would fall asleep) and line the men and women up on different sides of the church. They would come around the church and meet in front of the platform, singing. Then, one of us would sing a really beautiful hymn (to this day, I have no idea what she was singing, but she sang beautifully) and pull off the black veil. It’s a beautiful ceremony to watch, performed around four on Easter morning. I was heartbroken the year that they told me that I was too old to be in the ceremony and envied my sister for getting to be in it for a few more years than I did. I still enjoy watching it.

After the ceremony, we’d have Easter morning mass, said in a combination of English and Tagalog (we affectionately call it Taglish). After mass, like at any good Filipino party, there was food–a breakfast feast, complete with rice porridge and ginger tea. When we finally drove home, around six or seven in the morning, we’d be exhausted (my family is completely incapable of going to bed early and usually just pulled an all-nighter) but happy. Easter, for us, began before the sun rose.

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When I was a young girl, I celebrated Easter by jumping out of my bed to find my gifts from the Easter bunny and putting on my flowery dress to go to mass on Easter day. After church, I would continue the celebration with many other children in a race for the golden and colorful eggs filled with candy and sometimes coins. However, I never was too concerned with finishing the Easter egg hunt and filling my basket with eggs because I became distracted by the playground or looking for the best prize.

Easter still remains one of my favorite holidays, but I still find that I just as distracted during the holiday as I was when I was a young girl. Maybe not by the swing set or monkey bars, but by the commercialized sensation that Easter has come to be. The colors, flowers, gifts, and food could never measure up in comparison to Jesus’s resurrection, so why am I distracted?

Whether my long candy list or decoration list may be to blame, Scripture always concretes the reason behind the Easter season into my mind and clarifies the beauty behind the holiday.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, proclaimed in Romans 6: 8-11.

All types of candy and fun aside, the reason for Easter should be remembered in festive joy and celebration. This is a fundamental and important holiday within the Christian church—as Jesus Christ was resurrected.

How will you celebrate Easter this year?

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Spring Break is next week and I could not be more excited to be having a break. Sometimes the semester gets so crazy and busy it is nice that we have time off other than the weekend.

Some people might be traveling and others are having staycations. So, if you’re having a staycation here in NOLA, here are some fun things you could do that you might not have time to normally do on the weekend and the best part is most of them are free!

1. Walk around Jackson Sqaure
2. Window shop on Magazine and Oak Streets
3. Ride the Canal Street Ferry along the Mississippi River
4. Go to the French Market
5. Go for a walk, bike ride, or run in Audubon or City Park
6. Go to the Riverwalk
7. Go to the National WWII Museum ($)
8. Go bowling at Rock n Bowl ($)
9. Take a tour of a cemetery, the French Quarter, or the Garden District ($)
10. And of course eat your heart out at some of the most popular places in NOLA. Don’t forget that Crawfish is in season! ($)

What are your plans for Spring Break? Have you ever done a staycation in your hometown?

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Every year, I go home for spring break and Easter. I take time to see my family, catch up with friends from home, and hang out with my dog. But not this year… This year, I’m going to Miami!

Us New Orleans kids are lucky- we get two week long breaks in spring semester to relax, catch up on homework, and go home. These breaks are perfect opportunities to go exploring, whether it be around New Orleans itself, or venturing out into the Louisiana country, or packing up the car and heading to the beach. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your wallet and your imagination.

The best thing I’ve learned since freshman year is to take advantage of free places to stay. A few of my friends have condostun Gulf Shores- a perfect weekend getaway! One friend lives in San Antonio, which made for a great post-Mardi GRAS trip. And now this spring break, I’m traveling with 8 other girls to Miami for a 10 day vacation mid-semester!

Its time for sun, sand, and flip flops! What are you doing for this break?

 

 

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I first visited New Orleans as part of a yearly tour with my high school choir. We sang at a few places, including Loyola, and lined up some of your basic New Orleans tours (swamp tour, ghost tour, etc.). Naturally, everyone was excited to see the French Quarter and Bourbon Street because they were the huge tourist attractions. When we got there (around noon, because our guardians figured that there was the least chance of something horrific happening to us if we were exploring the city during the day), our tour guide took us around some back streets because it was so busy. It turns out that we had walked into the middle of French Quarter Fest–a perfectly friendly situation but a crowded one.

So, naturally, all of us high school students are wide-eyed, staring at everything that was going on (I think we were specifically staring at the street performers), and the tour guide just laughs at us and tells that that if we thought this was something, we ought to see the number of people that will be out tonight.

To talk about festival season in New Orleans is almost cheating, because festivals happen year-round. Mardi Gras is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s almost a festival for everything (and if you think there isn’t, then you might not be looking hard enough). St. Patrick’s Day is in a couple of days and brings its own parade into the mix (you can catch cabbages!). Jazz Fest is another favorite of mine. It falls around my birthday and attending the festival has always made my birthday for that year. Jazz Fest has a lineup of musical artists from all over the place, much like Voodoo Fest (also in New Orleans but in October) or Austin City Limits. The artists at Jazz Fest are, you know, more jazzy. The energy is always excellent.

One of my personal favorites is the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. I got and satisfy the literary nerd in me by coming to this (free) festival and listening to speakers who have awards ranging from the Pulitzer Prize to the Emmy talk about various aspects of writing and/or performance.

Remember, food at these events is a must, and you can always believe that you’re going to be fed well in New Orleans (for rather affordable prices, if you know where to look). But, in case you’re a real foodie (meaning you’re one of those lovely people who watches the Food Network almost 24/7), there is a whole other festival just for food–not even for one type of food, just for food! It’s so easy to see why so many tourists flock to New Orleans. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone here. So, if you want to find an event that suits your fancy, you should check out this page as a starting point and come see us!

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Leprechauns, shamrocks, and the harp can all represent St. Patrick’s Day. However, on March 17, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes will be thrown through the air to celebrate this holiday.

New Orleanians and Americans will take their celebrations to the streets on March 17th, but the parades have already begun and will continue after this Sunday.

Friday, March 15, 2013-

Molly’s at the Market Irish parade beginning at 1107 Decatur St at 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 16, 2013-

Irish Channel parade begins at 12p.m. with mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church. The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. at the corner of Felicity and Magazine.

Sunday, March 17, 2013-

St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Metairie Road begins at noon at Rummel High School on Severn Avenue.

Downtown Irish Club parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the corner of Burgundy and Piety

Tracey’s St. Paddy’s Day Party will begin at 11 a.m. on Magazine St.

Festivities continue next weekend on Sunday, March 24, with:

Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade in Metairie at noon along Veterans Highway.

Throughout New Orleans and The United States, the St. Patrick Day traditions will continue to be celebrated during 2013.

What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day this year?

For more information please visit: http://www.stpatricksdayneworleans.com/

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One of the many things I love about my city is the amazing fact that is pretty much impossible to be bored on the weekends during spring and summer, due to the numerous festivals we have. Some weekends you have to dedicate Saturday to one festival and Sunday to another, clearly it’s a struggle.

One of my absolute favorite festivals is French Quarter Festival, and this year is actually the 30th anniversary. I have been going to French Quarter Fest since I was little, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. With every year it gets bigger and many more tourists flock but this city is all about showing people our culture, so the more the merrier.

The festival this year will feature 125 acts on 20 stages spread throughout the French Quarter. And for my favorite part of the festival: the food. There are over 60 food vendors, who offer many delicious options. You can find alligator corn dogs, crawfish, oysters, tacos, shrimp, barbecue, red beans, snowballs, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Admission to the festival is free, and the food vendor prices run from about $3-$8 per item.

 

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IT’S FESTIVAL SEASON! It really is the best time to be in NOLA. In true New Orleans tradition, festival season is a time to celebrate anything and everything with music, food, drinks, and fun. Throughout my three and a half years in this city, I’ve been lucky enough to go to a lot of different festival celebrations. But this year, I have one goal: Hogs for the Cause.

Hogs For the Cause is a non-profit organization that hosts an annual music and food festival to raise money for pediatric brain cancer care. This year over 80 teams will compete to be crowned the Louisiana pork champion. Attendees are invited to vote for help choose the winners by donating to their favorite team by sampling their food. While teams battle it out on the grill, music will be playing throughout the day and into the night.

The musical lineup this year is spectacular: Rebirth Brass Band, the Revivalists, Mississippi Rail Company, and Eric Lindell, just to name a few. Teams from restaurants all over the city bring their best bbq sauce, seasonings, and grills out for the weekend and compete for the High on the Hog” Grand Champion Title.

Good food, good music, and a great cause. Will I see you there?

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