Happy New Year!
A few quick hits as we settle into a new decade:
- The Mardi Gras season officially begins on January 6, commonly known as Twelfth Night, The Epiphany, Kings’s Day, or any number of monikers that signal the end of the Christmas season. In New Orleans, it’s just another excuse to get excited about the next big thing. For me, the next big thing is king cake, which is traditionally heavy on the cinnamon, oval-shaped and covered in purple, green, and gold sugars; it generally appears from now to the start of Lent. This is serious Mardi Gras season stuff; purists always scoff at the appearance of king cakes “out of season,” but I’m a little more liberal on my tolerance of confections and will nibble from one at the odd autumn baptism party or some such occasion. We had one in the office today, and so I had my first slice of the season. Incidentally, the cake came from one of my favorite bakeries and the one most frequented by my family when I was growing up. Biting into it was like biting into my childhood. Upon that first velvety taste, I half-expected to smell green onions wafting up from the other side of my office and see my mother presiding over some Creole creation and saying in that inimitable brassy voice, “Dinner’s almost ready-ya gonna spoil ya appetite, Salvadore.” I miss my mom.
- One thing that does not remind me of my childhood is this: the Saints are in the playoffs. The New Orleans Saints of my childhood were pretty bad. We did make it to the playoffs in my teens and 20′s, but I was a long-suffering Who Dat (one day I’ll blog about this “Who Dat?” phrase that we use around here) long before that and we’ve only had 4 winning seasons in the last 18 years. People around here will go nuts if the Saints advance past their first playoff game (next Saturday). Right now we are cautious, but optimistic. It’s a great time to be in New Orleans and I suspect that will continue next year and the year after that. We have a great coach and quarterback. I was living in Boston when they won their first World Series in almost 90 years. It was an awesome time. Like the Red Sox, the Saints get in your blood; there are people – students, faculty, staff – from all other parts of the country who cheer for this team like they were born a stone’s throw from the Superdome.
- Lastly, I was very excited to read this article about a couple of our recent graduates and their very interesting ventures in music. Congratulations to the Craft brothers and their band. They are further proof that when it comes to music, New Orleans does it all!