Parading: The Krewe of Apollo

Yes, there are plenty of parades in the New Orleans area.  If you are one of our readers from outside of New Orleans you are probably familiar with these parades.  However, Mardi Gras extends throughout Cajun country (and into the coastal parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida).  Mr. Nola Nerd Couple hails from the small town of Lockport, Louisiana.   Every year, on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Lockport rolls throughout the town. It’s a special parade because literally it one giant family party. Here is our posts on the last two years of this parade.

2016 Krewe of Apollo

2015 Krewe of Apollo

Of course, we will be at the parade this Saturday.  It rolls at noon, and sure promises to be a good way to pass the time, cher.

Hope to see you there!Krewe of Apollo


Traveling: LIGO in Livingston Parish, Louisiana

We originally planned to post this before the third Saturday, or Science Saturday, of August.  And then the rains came.  They didn’t stop.  LIGO is located in Livingston Parish, one of the parishes that received the worst of it. LIGO made out ok.  They will be having their Science Saturday this week on the 17th. 

Mr. and Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple craves adventure and excitement. It’s the reason why we are not Jedi. We love to go explore new nerdy things. And what could be nerdier than touring a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO for short.

LIGO is a research facility used to detect and understand gravitational waves. Its a facility that “use laser interferometry to measure the minute ripples in space-time caused by passing gravitational waves from cataclysmic cosmic sources such as the mergers of pairs of neutron stars or black holes, or by supernovae. LIGO consists of two widely separated interferometers within the United States—one in Hanford, Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana—operated in unison to detect gravitational waves.”  My physics knowledge is too weak to paraphrase that long quote.

That’s why we went to LIGO for Science Saturday.

On the third Saturday of every month, LIGO Livingston hosts a Science Saturday so we took the opportunity in July to attend one. The events are free and include a tour of the facility including the control room. There is also a hands-on area to demonstrate how physics works in the real world. Each month there is a different theme. The week we went was “Swing into Science” that had some homemade (read: you could recreate at home) pendulums with explanations.  We did one that had a pendulum that swung back and forth.  I had to wear a set of glasses that had one lens dark and the other clear. A volunteer came, without us asking, and explained how to conduct the experiment.  He  moved the pendulum and while I was wearing the glasses, I could see the pendulum move in a 360-degree circle.  Mrs. Nola nerd Couple confirmed that it was not moving in a circle just back and forth.  I switched the dark and clear over my eyes: the pendulum rotated the opposite direction.  Moral of the lesson: don’t drive with only one lens in your sunglasses.

The tour of the facility was interesting, but I would lie if I said that I understood it all.  They did talk about megaparsecs which  as everyone, but Han Solo, knows is a measure of length not time.  We also learned that to discover the sounds of gravitational waves, you had to subtract other sounds. They had different monitors that measured sounds. Of course, between 10 pm to 6 am, we as a species are a lot quieter than from 6am to 10 pm. By eliminating different waves from different sources could start focusing on gravitational waves. Then on September 14, 2015, they detected gravitational waves.

The best part is the hands-on educational exhibits.  Besides the science project ones, they have more sophisticated permanent exhibits.  All teach you about physics.  We learned a lot while we played.  Families were enjoying their day and the place was busy the entire time we were there.

So, if you are looking for something fun and free to do with your kids or just because you are nerds like us, we can’t recommend LIGO high enough.

Parading: Learning about the Lockport Parade

The Krewe of Apollo parade rolls the Saturday before Mardi Gras in the small town of Lockport.  Kurt grew up in Lockport and looks forward to the parade every year.  His sister rides in the parade and his mom has people over to eat and enjoy the parade.  It seems as everyone in town has people over.  In fact, if you walk the parade route in this town where everyone knows each other, you will be hard-pressed not to find people offering you food and drink.

To get ready for this year’s parade, we asked Kurt’s sister Natalie Hargis and a friend of his, Glenn Sapia, to answer some questions about Apollo.  They both responded quickly and we learned a lot about the parade, including stuff Kurt didn’t even know.  While this is not a definitive history, we are hoping that more people read this blog and each year we can repost it with new information and pictures.  So leave a comment or send us an email if you have some history of the parade that you would like to share!

Krewe of Apollo, Lockport

Natalie getting ready to head to the parade! Photo credit: Stacy Babin

The parade started in 1963, but according to Glenn, the first two years the parade didn’t have king but instead had Mr. XJ Chauvin who served as Grand Marshall.  The parade today has about 150 riders and the ride lasts about three hours (you can find the route here).  The parade recently expanded and now has about 21 floats.  Lockport Middle School and Central Lafourche High School march in the parade.  Central Lafourche is one of the best marching bands in the state and could have their pick of parades to march in that Saturday, including Endymyion, but they always put civic duty and pride first by marching in the Lockport parade.

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Parading: Apollo, A Bayou Parade

Kurt's Sister (right) and friend in the Lockport parade

Kurt’s Sister (right) and friend in the Lockport parade

“If you go to New Orleans, you ought to go see the Mardi Gras.”

Professor Longhair is right – of course he is, he’s always right – if you ever visit New Orleans you should go see the Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras season starts on twelfth night and ends Mardi Gras day. There are plenty of Mardi Gras parades, but only on that Tuesday is it truly Mardi Gras. Our favorite New Orleans parade is Muses. We also call it carnival, because on Ash Wednesday, Catholics say goodbye to meat. Good ones, anyway.

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Parading: A Tradition Unlike Any Other – Small Town Mardi Gras Parades

If you are reading this from outside of New Orleans and Louisiana, this blog is about Mardi Gras.  Yet, it has nothing to do with New Orleans.  Sure New Orleans and Metairie are great places to catch a parade.  But so are Houma, Luling, LaRose, Golden Meadow, and Thibodaux.  In fact, my two of my favorite parades growing up were the Lockport and Gheens parade.

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Eating: La Magazine’s Roast Beef Poboy

From the outside, La Magazine looked like the last place on earth to serve a great roast beef poboy. Well, looks are deceiving. La Magazine made a great roast beef poboy one that would stand up to most poboy shops around New Orleans.

This poboy was the first poboy that I had that didn’t use deli roast beef. This was a real roast cooked down until it fell apart. It was full of flavor and if I remember correctly it had quite a bit of garlic. I wish I could give more specific details but it’s been over ten years since I had one, and it’s impossible to get one now. Yet what I do remember is that I never got a bad poboy. I never got one that had too little meat or too much that the bread couldn’t handle it. It was always just a perfect sandwich. I remember loving their sautéed shrimp poboy (a poboy that deserves to be more widely served) and I’m sure I tried a few other things on the menu, but I would always come back to the roast beef poboy.

I keep trying to find one that comes close. The first two poboys I had from Parasols came damn near this poboy, but it’s still not quite there. I guess, I’ll have to keep doing some research.

Eating: Noah’s Drive-In

One of my favorite hamburger places posted this quote by Calvin Trillin on Facebook: “Anyboy who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.” Mr. Trillin is right. The best hamburger I ever had was from Noah’s Drive-In in Lockport.

The hamburger was just perfect. Juicy and tasty, a Noah’s hamburger was perfect in just about every way. A cheeseburger was even better because it truly forced a cohesive bond between the patty and the bread. When I got older and bigger, then it was time to have the gourmand burger. This, proving Mr. Trillin’s rule beyond a doubt, was no hamburger for sissies.

Noah’s was more than a hamburger place. Sunday after church lunch was always a special event. The broasted chicken was always delicious. My sister would be content with just the mac and cheese. After Junior High sporting events, it was a great place for a celebratory meal. The sundaes were a tradition in my house. I am sure their roast beef poboy was made with deli roast beef, yet it was the only roast beef poboy of that style that was as good as the debris poboys of New Orleans.

Not only was Mr. Noah a familiar face when you went, so was the entire family. After Mr. Noah’s tragic death, the place stayed open under different ownership, but it was not the same. It wasn’t that the food changed much, it was that the experience changed. Mr. Noah fed my family and if you are from Lockport, he probably fed yours too. That is what could never be replaced.