NOLA-ing: NOLA Baby Firsts

If you follow cute New Orleans-centric stores like Fleurty Girl and NOLA Gifts and Decor, you might have seen the adorable NOLA Baby Firsts print by local artist Allie Behan. I ogled over this print on FaceBook, thinking that it would be a perfect keepsake to commemorate our daughter’s first NOLA experiences. From going to the zoo for the first time to eating her first crawfish or snoball, this print fits into our interests and lifestyle perfectly. Unfortunately, when I visited two different Fleurty Girl stores, they were sold out out of this popular print (they have since restocked). I was bummed, but figured I could wait; after all, it is not like she can do everything on the print yet.

Nola baby firsts

Image courtesy of Fleurty Girl.

A few days later at work, a coworker of ours gave us gift for our daughter. Happily, it was the NOLA Baby Firsts print! I think I squealed with delight when I saw it. It is so sweet to have such marvelous people in our daughter’s life. We are definitely blessed and started planning out when to start accomplishing some of these firsts. We then picked which first we thought we would accomplish last. My husband guessed her first Saints game since we have only ever been to one and that was during the preseason. I picked her first streetcar ride since in all my time living in and around New Orleans, I have never ridden the streetcar! Though maybe we will purposely ride one now, just to make sure we fulfill all of the firsts.

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NOLA-ing: New Orleans Tricentennial festivities

This year is a big one for New Orleans, as it officially marks the Tricentennial. The Big Easy’s 300th birthday is a year long celebration and this week has some extra-special happenings. We hope to attend a few of these occurrences over the course of the weekend.

NOLA Navy Week: The Tall Ships are coming! To help celebrate the Tricentennial, NOLA Navy Week is bringing up tall ships from not just the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, but from Great Britain and Canada as well.  VIP FastPass tickets available here. Here’s a schedule below of how to see them.

Thursday, April 19
12:00pm Tall ships arrive into downtown New Orleans. All times approximate. Ships will dock at Woldenberg Riverfront Park at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. (No public boarding day on day of arrival.
Friday, April 20
10:00am – 12:00pm Pre-arranged school and social groups
12:00pm – 5:00pm Tall ships open to the public. Admission is free.
Saturday, April 21
10:00am – 12:00pm Pre-arranged school and social groups
12:00pm – 5:00pm Tall ships open to the public. Admission is free.
Sunday, April 22
10:00am – 5:00pm Tall ships open to the public. Admission is free.
Saturday, April 21
6:45pm – 12:00am Tall Ships® Tricentennial Gala – Tall Ships celebrate NOLA’s 300th! On-deck and dock-side black-tie gala in Woldenberg Park. Tickets include drinks, food, dancing and fireworks over the River. Download the Gala invitation (PDF)
Monday, April 23
9:00am Tall ships depart New Orleans. Please note: Navy ships maintain a separate schedule. Visit: NOLA Navy Week for more information.

Tricentennial Dog Parade: The Saints’ mascot Gumbo will lead those “lucky dogs” that call New Orleans home down the streets around City Bark on Sunday, April 22. If you want your dog to participate, check-in is at 10am and the parade starts at 11am. There is also a costume contest for your cute pooch. Registration is $40/dog or $45/dog on site. According to the website:

Dress your dogs up to compete in the following costume contest categories: Best NOLA-centric Attire, Most “Fest”ive Pet, Funniest Costume, and Best Pet Duo (dog and owner). Prizes include tickets to Zoo-to-Do, a membership to NOLA City Bark, a $100 gift certificate to Metairie Small Animal Hospital, a 5-day pass to Dogtopia, a gift basket from Magazine Street Animal Clinic and more.

Tricentennial Citywide Family Reunion: On Sunday, April 22, a celebration of jazz music will occur with music, food, and a nighttime fireworks display at 9pm at City Park’s Big Lake at 9 p.m. In Armstrong Park, there will be performances by Mia Borders, Ivan Neville and Friends, Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers and other local acts. A jazz stage in Congo Square (starting at 2 p.m.) will feature Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Patti Austin, Ledisi and other guests. Guests are welcome to bring their own food, drinks, blankets, and chairs to enjoy the festivities. If you cannot make it, they are filming the performances to be shown online as part of International Jazz Day on April 30.

If these festivities weren’t exciting enough, there is also Kenner’s Italian Heritage Festival.

Located at: 400 Blk of Williams Blvd. (from the River to the railroad tracks)

Italian Fest Lineup 2018 for website.jpg
With so many activities going on during this beautiful weekend, there is no reason to stay indoors!

 

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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