New Orleans

Jazzing Up Your Advocacy Efforts: Lessons From New Orleans

Long time readers of the tipsheet know that the guru and her husband often go to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. If you aren’t sure what that is, check out If you want to know what others are doing in New Orleans check out the webcam at Tropical Isle on Bourbon Street anytime after 6:00pm or so…

As usual, in the midst of three days of fun, frivolity and fantabulous jazz I, of course, got to thinking about advocacy. I mean, wouldn’t you? And this wasn’t just in a daiquiri-induced haze while wandering around the French Quarter. No, in fact, I was struck by the similarities between Jazz Fest and every advocacy campaign with which I’ve been ever been affiliated.

Following are five techniques you should use to get you through any advocacy campaign – or music festival for that matter.

Strategize: One does not just walk into Jazz Fest and wander around. With eleven stages offering up multiple acts, only careful planning will ensure that you’ll catch what interests you most. At Jazz Fest, this tactic applies doubly to your food options. Before the festival, my husband and I looked over the musical acts and decided what we wanted to see in about ½ hour. We spent another 3 hours drooling over the food. Jambalaya. Bread Pudding. Po Boys. Muffalettas. See, no one can eat everything. But you can eat some of everything with a good plan – and stretchy pants.

The same applies to your advocacy efforts (the strategizing, not the stretchy pants). Think of your strategy development in four stages: First, you want to outline your specific goal – usually in terms of dollars or policy outcomes. Then you want to look at the variety of ways to reach that goal. For appropriations, for example, this might include earmarks, additional line item funds or even report language directing the agency to spend more. Third, consider the competition, distractions and road blocks standing in your way, such as other worthy programs in need of funding (yes, there are a few). Finally, in light of all this information, identify your preferred path. We navigated through Jazz Fest using this four step process – I know it will work for advocacy.

Develop Themes: Themes help you develop a strategy and stick with it — even in the face of temptation. Saturday, for example, was “fried things” day in the food court. Sure, I was tempted by the chocolate dipped strawberries and the Veggie Mufaletta. But I had made a commitment to “fried things.” I wasn’t going to let “fried things” down. I stayed focused and the fried green tomatoes and fried eggplant did not disappoint. Then on Sunday I shifted my theme to “things with cheese,” thus reveling in many other delights at the festival.

Advocacy efforts can be as distracting as the Jazz Fest food courts. One moment Congress is happily focused on transportation issues – two seconds later they’re debating the War in Iraq and then the Farm Bill. It can be difficult to stay focused on your issue when 25 different and equally compelling issues are being waived in your face. Don’t be tempted! Find a theme and stick to it through thick and thin.

Improvise: On the flip side, all the strategizing and thematic development in the world won’t help you when all your best laid plans go awry. Maybe that fabulous act (or fabulous Congressman) that you were looking forward to turns out to be not that fabulous after all. Disappointed, for example, in one of the acts I went to see, I stopped by another tent and danced, bopped and shouted my way through a phenomenal show from a blues / soul / jazz artist named Ruthie Foster (really, go look her up). I had never heard of her before and would never have found her if I hadn’t improvised.

Every once in a while circumstances might dictate that you abandon all your strategies and themes and just make stuff up as you go along. Don’t like that member of Congress? Go see if you can find a new one. Aren’t pleased with how the legislation is progressing? Find new and creative ways to change it in to something you can support.

Build Coalitions: On Saturday I parked myself in front of one of the three main outdoor stages and waited for one of the acts I REALLY wanted to see later in the day – Santana. I quickly became dependent on the kindness of strangers – as they became dependent on me. See, when you’re smack dab in the middle of a throng of 10,000 people, it’s hard to get out. So we built alliances and assigned jobs. Some people had the job of foraging for beer. Some went for food. Others shared umbrellas (as shields from the sun). My job was to help coalition members map out the shortest route from our fiefdom to the outside world. Without their help, I’m not sure I could have survived 8 long hours in the 90 degree heat.

Effective advocacy campaigns rely on coalitions as well. Maybe your partners aren’t helping you get beer – but in a winning coalition everyone performs specific tasks that keep the group moving toward the mission.

And, of course, there’s persistence. Votes won’t always go your way. Legislation won’t always be introduced in a timely fashion. The food court might even run out of Spinach Artichoke casserole (hey, it happened). But every year it gets a little easier and you learn a little more. You learn to bring your mud boots with you in case it rains. You learn to buy your sweet potato pies from Mr. Williams’ pie stand on Friday because he attends church on Saturday and will not be selling pies. You learn to stuff yourself with spinach artichoke casserole as soon as you get to the festival. Armed with this information (and enough beer, sunscreen and advocate motivation) you will be able to persevere until the fat lady (or Santana) sings.

Stephanie Vance

Historic Haunts with The Historic New Orleans Collection

Hey Y’all!  This is the time of year for haunted houses and ghost stories.  Where better to indulge than in the historic New Orleans French Quarter.  See you in NOLA!

Sharon Denise Talbot  

Media Contacts:
Lauren Noel, Marketing Assistant Emily Schmidt, Gambel Communications
(504) 556-7655 | (504) 324-4242 |

For Immediate Release

*** Media Alert *** CALENDAR LISTING ***

discover the history behind the vieux carré’s most notorious legends
“Historic Haunts” tour available for a limited time only

WHO: The Historic New Orleans Collection

WHAT: “Historic Haunts: The Myths and Legends of the Vieux Carré,”
a special Halloween-inspired guided tour of the Louisiana History Galleries

WHEN: Tuesday–Sunday, October 1–31 • 2 p.m.
Sunday, October 31 • 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

WHERE: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal Street
French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

HOW: Admission is $5, free for THNOC members. This tour is intended for an adult audience. For more information, visit

WHY: The Historic New Orleans Collection will once again feature “Historic Haunts: The Myths and Legends of the Vieux Carré” throughout the month of October. Introduced in 2009, the popular Halloween-inspired tour of The Collection’s Louisiana History Galleries explores the truth behind New Orleans’s more seedy legends and the French Quarter’s most infamous characters. The tour discusses the documented history and how it may have inspired the legends, allowing attendees to decide on their own what is myth and what is grisly truth.  Including the likes of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, rumored sadistic slave-owner Madame Lalaurie and pirate Jean Laffite, the tour examines 10 “haunted” locations in the Quarter using research conducted at the Williams Research Center.

Tours are available daily Tuesday–Sunday, October 1–30, at 2 p.m. On Halloween Sunday, October 31, three tours will be offered, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. “Historic Haunts” is intended for an adult audience. Admission is $5, free for THNOC members.

The Historic New Orleans Collection—Preserving our Past for a Brighter Future.

New Orleans Hosts BCS LSU and Alabama in the Dome

New Orleans


Wake Up!  Get Up!  Today is the day! If you are a college football fan today is a HUGE day, if you live in Louisiana it is even BIGGER than that!  It is the BCS National Championship and it is all happening right here in the New Orleans Superdome.  Oh, did I mention that the home team LSU Tigers (Louisiana State University) is the number one seed and playing number two seed Alabama Crimson Tide.  Yeah you right!  The city has been gearing up for this match up for days and you can feel it in the air.  In a few short hours we will have a new champion.

Both teams have extremely loyal fans who bleed their school colors and live on tailgates (and for the last few days in the New Orleans French Quarter).  Add that to an amazing city that never sleeps and you have a got a recipe for a party.  For some it is more than an excuse to party, college football is a way of life as deeply ingrained as any religion.  There are rituals and superstitions, prayers and petitions and team pride is taken to the grave.

A friend of mine shared his thoughts about remembering Tiger Fans who are no longer with us. I thought it was worth sharing with you. He also posted it on Tiger Droppings where Tiger fanatics talk about LSU.

“In 2003, before the National Championship against Oklahoma, I began a ritual where I take a moment before important LSU kickoffs to remember Tiger Fans and friends who are no longer with us. My parents had a neighbor, Mr. Ed, who lived across the street from them, who was a huge Tiger Fan. I used to visit Mr. Ed when I’d come in from Texas and we’d talk about the Tigers every chance we had. Mr. Ed never saw the Nick Saban era. He was a huge Tiger fan and his widow gave me the honor to have his LSU hat and the tiger he used to put in the back of their car when they would go to LSU games. We’ll be taking the tiger with us for the drive to New Orleans for the National Championship just like we did in 2003 and 2007. Shortly before the kickoff of the 2003 National Championship, I thought of Mr. Ed and many other Tiger Fans and friends and even some who were not Tiger Fans, in respect of their passing and the wish they could be with us to view the game. I continued the tradition in 2007 for the National Championship game against Ohio State. Shortly before Monday’s National Championship kickoff against Alabama, I will think about Mr. Ed and all of the Tiger Fans, family and friends who have passed who I’d love for them all to be with us to see the game. I know they will be with us in spirit! Geaux Tigers! Beat Bama…Again!!!!”  He also  said “Check out the beautiful and amazing comments people made about their favorite Tiger Fans who have passed. From burying family friends with LSU hats to brining LSU wear to gravesites…The comments will help you understand how deep the love for LSU Football is in it fans. Geaux Tigers!”

You can see the post in its entirety by following the link below:

For all the LSU fans past and present “Let’s do it in the Dome, Tigers!  Geaux LSU!!”

See you in NOLA!  (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Sharon Denise Talbot

New Orleans

Ray Rocks Renovation

Chances are if you have walked down any French Quarter street in the last few years you have seen my friend, Ray Hostetter.  He might have the phone to his ear or a tool of some kind in hand, but he always has a smile and a “Hey there” for passersby.  Now that may have been the extent of our association too, except for one thing (ok, two) I love construction, reconstruction, building, renovating, decorating. Whatever name you put on it, the creative process is fascinating to me.  Oh, and the second thing – I’m just nosy.

In my “ratting” around the Quarter, I had seen Ray at times working on a particularly beautiful place on the corner of Dauphine and Orleans. I could see the intensive work being done to the outside, but it was just killing me to know what they were doing to the inside. Come on, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I saw the nose smudges on the windows. (Oops, sorry.  I guess those were mine.) Lo and behold, on this particular day a couple of years ago the door was wide open, so um, what to do, what to do?  Exactly, I went in.

Ray grew up in the construction business and was working in California until a series of events changed life as he knew it.  Work got scarce in big CA, Katrina hit New Orleans, a family member living in New Orleans said “Bring the wife and new baby over and work here”.  After doing a couple of flood houses in mid city and a 20 unit apartment complex Ray was introduced to the owner of the Orleans Avenue project, who we will call Mr. C.  It is interesting how one thing leads to another.  Mr. C. had rented a Bourbon Street balcony one Mardi Gras from Ray’s relative years ago and they became friends.

While into the Orleans Avenue project, Mr. C. decided to acquire the property at 435 Bourbon and turn it from a t-shirt shop into a bar. (Incidentally, this was the same place that he had rented all those Mardi Gras’ ago.) The whole bottom floor had to be taken out for the new electrical so while Ray was digging trenches between floor joices he made a discovery, an 1850 bottle of “Dr. J. Hostetter Stomach Bitters”.  This concoction of vitamins and herbs and 94% alcohol was sold to the Union army by train car from Pennsylvania during the first prohibition. Cool, huh? But it gets better. Did you notice that Dr. J and Ray share the same last name?  After doing a little research Ray found he and Dr. J were actually related.  That was when it all made sense for Ray, “I am in the right place doing what I am supposed to be doing.”

The Orleans Avenue project had discoveries of its’ own.  The first came when removing walls, Ray came upon the initials A.H. (another relative??) carved in a board with the date 1901.  Attached was a 1901 silver coin which today is worth $6,000.00.  These old French Quarter buildings are treasure troves and that is exactly what Ray thought when he uncovered the next surprise.  Extensive work was being done on the previously lathe and plastered walls.  Mr. C wanted the old brick walls exposed, cleaned and repointed.  In the process it was noticed that there was a definite brick archway visible just above floor level in the downstairs bedroom.

 At this point, you know a vision of Lafitte’s treasure was dancing in Ray’s head.  The old wood plank floors were pulled out and what looked like a tunnel opening was uncovered several feet under the existing floor.   Alas, the only thing inside was years upon years of mud and muck, no treasure.  But could it have been a bootleggers’ tunnel from Orleans Avenue to St. Peter and Dauphine, where for years the Tunnel Bar sat on the corner?  Research seems to lean more toward what was called a “cabinét”, something like a root cellar and not a tunnel at all.  Rather than cover up this historic piece of architecture, lightning and special glass flooring was installed to show it off.  It is breathtakingly beautiful, just like the rest of the three story structure and “slave quarters” included in this compound. 

Restoring this exquisite showplace to the splendor it deserves was a demanding, detailed project three years in the making and is today a phenomenal piece of workmanship.  A credit to a man who truly loves what he does. The mastery of his craft is so obvious in even the smallest detail. Bo might know sports, but Ray definitely knows renovation. You rock Ray!

 By Sharon Denise Talbot

*Stay tuned for more Renovation Reports with Ray.

Mardi Gras Kicks Off

Not even chilly temperatures in New Orleans, La. will be able to hold back about a million Mardi Gras revelers. Karen Brown reports.

Duration : 0:1:15

Read more…

How long will it take to get to New Orleans from Chicago by airplane?

I am going to New Orleans; we are leaving out of Chicago, and I want to know how many hours it’ll take to get there. We have no layovers and This is assuming we aren’t hit with bad weather.

Thanks in advance!

3 hours max

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast 04 06 11

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast New Orleans weather 10 day forecast

Welcome to the Who Dat? Do Dat! New Orleans weather 10 day forecast! This is your New Orleans weather 10 day forecast. It will be updated daily. The New Orleans weather 10 day forecast is a valuable tool for planning all of your New Orleans outings. While you are here in NOLA there are plenty of people to see, places to go and things to do and the New Orleans weather 10 day forecast will come in very handy. The weather in New Orleans changes day to day. This is because of the city’s proximity to water. This is one of the reasons the New Orleans weather 10 day forecast is so valuable if you are traveling to New Orleans. Don’t miss any of them. Make sure you are not caught unawares. Be prepared for the Louisiana weather changes. Quick and convenient, just check here before you make your plans for the day! 

High /
Low (°F)
Precip. %
Apr 06
Mostly Sunny 75°/64° 0 %
Apr 07
Partly Cloudy 83°/72° 20 %
Apr 08
Partly Cloudy 85°/70° 20 %
Apr 09
Partly Cloudy 85°/71° 20 %
Apr 10
Partly Cloudy 86°/71° 10 %
Apr 11
Isolated T-Storms 84°/63° 30 %
Apr 12
Partly Cloudy 82°/67° 20 %
Apr 13
Sunny 83°/67° 0 %
Apr 14
Scattered T-Storms 82°/60° 60 %
Apr 15
Scattered Showers 80°/58° 60 %


Good Morning NOLA!   Happy Hump day! today.  Our day started off a little on the cool side but will warm up as the day goes on.The high will be mid-seventies. No chance of the wet stuff until possibly next Monday.  The forecast shows no rain. There will be some clouds but the sun should stay with us through weekend. There will be lots going on as usual.  French Quarter Fest is this weekend so lots of fun stuff going on in the Quarter.  Music, Food, people, what’s not to like. It is the largest free music festival in Louisiana.  All this in a thirteen block area! Grab your friends and family and get down there.  It starts on Thursday.  I will  be at the 1850′s House Store this Sunday sigining books. So make plans to come out a get your personalized copies of “I Love You Bigger Than The Sky!” and “IF I Were A French Quarter Rat”.  Whatever you decide to do today, enjoy! See y’all in NOLA!

Sharon Denise Talbot

Don’ t forget to check back tomorrow for your New Orleans weather 10 day forecast.

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast 03 26 11

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast New Orleans weather 10 day forecast

Welcome to the Who Dat? Do Dat! New Orleans weather 10 day forecast! This is your New Orleans weather 10 day forecast. It will be updated daily. The New Orleans weather 10 day forecast is a valuable tool for planning all of your New Orleans outings. While you are here in NOLA there are plenty of people to see, places to go and things to do and the New Orleans weather 10 day forecast will come in very handy. The weather in New Orleans changes day to day. This is because of the city’s proximity to water. This is one of the reasons the New Orleans weather 10 day forecast is so valuable if you are traveling to New Orleans. Don’t miss any of them. Make sure you are not caught unawares. Be prepared for the Louisiana weather changes. Quick and convenient, just check here before you make your plans for the day! 


High /
Low (°F)
Precip. %
Mar 26
Partly Cloudy 83°/70° 20 %
Mar 27
Mostly Cloudy 83°/66° 20 %
Mar 28
Mostly Cloudy 81°/67° 20 %
Mar 29
Scattered T-Storms 83°/68° 40 %
Mar 30
Scattered T-Storms 74°/63° 40 %
Mar 31
Scattered T-Storms 74°/50° 40 %
Apr 01
Isolated T-Storms 67°/57° 30 %
Apr 02
Sunny 78°/60° 0 %
Apr 03
Scattered T-Storms 79°/59° 60 %
Apr 04
Partly Cloudy 79°/57° 10 %


Good Morning NOLA!  It’s going to be a hot one today. By this afternoon we will reach near record  high in the  eighties.  Only a twenty percent chance of rain in the forecast today but our chances increase over the weekend.  By Monday of next week we will see a forty percent chance.  The forecast is showing a twenty percent chance of showers for Saturday and Sunday. It is only suppose to be isolated thunder storms but be prepared. Tuesday looks like it will start a few days of rain for the Big Easy.  I will have the umbrella at the ready but there is plenty of cover in the Quarter. What’s a little rain after all. So don’t let that keep you from coming out to the French Quarter to see me at the 1850′s House Store.  I will be signing my latest book “If I Were A French Quarter Rat” and also  “I Love You Bigger Than The Sky!”  Whatever you decide to do today, enjoy! See y’all in NOLA!

Sharon Denise Talbot

Don’ t forget to check back tomorrow for your New Orleans weather 10 day forecast.

New Orleans Weather 10 day forecast

What is there to do in New Orleans this week?

My friends and I are staying near downtown in New Orleans right now for spring break and we’re trying to find fun, cool things to do. We’ve already gone to the French Quarter and Bourbon st. and to many of the bars there and we’re planning on going on a voodoo tour tonight but we’re sure there’s more out there. Any ideas or suggestions?

Wednesday is Saint Particks Day.

More things to do in New Orleans:

Mardi Gras and the Jazz Festival are world famous events, but New Orleans hosts many festivals and celebrations throughout the year:

There are many tours offered and examples are:

The Saint Charles Streetcar is the oldest continuously operating street railway in the world and is a "tourist attraction" in its own right. It is part of the public transit system, as are the Canal Street and Riverfront streetcar lines:

There is always music, but the bands change: Go to and click on Music then Listings or to and click on Listings, then Music.

Note that music clubs often advertise "No Cover", meaning there is no charge for entering. However, clubs with "No Cover" often require that customers buy a beverage each for every "set" of music (which can be every 20 minutes) so KNOW THE PRICE before you sit down. Clubs do that because some people will sit in the club all evening drinking nothing (clubs only make money from the drinks they sell – not from the music). It is also a good idea to pay for each round of drinks (in clubs on Bourbon Street) as it is delivered so there can’t be any confusion at the end of the evening.

An incomplete guide to bars & clubs:,LA/Nightlife/

About certain alcoholic beverages: Realize that some famous drinks are VERY potent compared with regular cocktails that have only 1 to 1 ½ ounces of alcohol. For example, a Hurricane is basically 3 or 4 ounces of rum in something like red Kool-Aid, and a Hand Grenade has at least 4 ½ ounces of Everclear + rum + vodka mixed with melon liquor. They don’t necessarily taste like an alcoholic beverage and it is easy to over-indulge.

The Riverwalk shopping center has an air-conditioned food court with dining overlooking the river (

The Canal Place shopping center is in the French Quarter and has a cinema and higher-end shopping (Saks 5th Avenue, Brooks Brothers, etc.).

Magazine Street is a miles-long shopping district:

Purchases of art may be tax-exempt:

The lobby for the Westin Canal Place Hotel is on the 11th floor and overlooks the French Quarter. It is a great place for an afternoon drink/snack:(

Cafe du Monde is in the French Quarter and you shouldn’t miss having cafe au lait & beignets ( Another great coffee shop is the Croissant d’Or (at 617 Ursulines Street), which is open from 7:00am to 2:00pm and has food in addition to pastry.

The Palm Court restaurant is very nice, has moderate prices, and offers traditional live jazz starting at 8:00pm: 1204 Decatur Street, tel 504-525-0200 (reservations are important and they are not open every day). The Palm Court is closed from about mid-July 25th to sometime in August each year:

Maximo’s Italian Grill has great food and atmosphere: 1117 Decatur Street in the French Quarter, (504) 586-8883.

All of the famous restaurants (Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Commander’s Palace, etc.) reopened after Katrina. The Pelican Club (on Exchange Alley in the FQ) is not as well known but is the same type experience. Reservations are a good idea, and probably essential on weekends. Tujaques Restaurant (823 Decatur Street) is very traditional and has moderate prices:

Cafe Degas is a very French restaurant near City Park at 3127 Esplanade – which is not within walking distance of downtown (5 to 10 minutes by taxi). They are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays (504-945-5635).

The Napoleon House restaurant is at 500 Chartres Street in the FQ, and has a menu of great local dishes:

More restaurant suggestions:,LA/Restaurants/

Preservation Hall has traditional live Jazz, and doesn’t serve alcohol so all ages are welcome:

New Orleans has ballet, opera, a symphony orchestra, and theatre:

There is a free ferry across the Mississippi at the "foot" of Canal Street. It is a short trip but like a harbor cruise w/o a guide:

The Aquarium, Audubon Zoo, and the new Insectarium are world-class attractions ( and you should see them if you can. The Zoo is several miles from downtown. You can drive to the Zoo (which has free parking) or take public transit from the French Quarter.

The Louisiana State Museum is in the French Quarter: New Orleans is also home to a number of other museums, such as the National World War II Museum ( and the New Orleans Museum of Art ( Both can be reached by public transit: The WWII museum is in the central business district but a long walk from the French Quarter. NOMA is not within walking distance of downtown but has free parking. Go to for info on more museums.

Harrah’s Casino is in the Central Business District: (age 21 required for entry)

New Orleans City Park has a variety of attractions + free parking. (

Check and for ideas about other things to do.

I hope you have a great time!

New Orleans Cooking Schools – Benefits Of Enrolling In One

You can attend any of the several New Orleans cooking schools that are situated at various locations. People from all over the world come to attend these cooking schools in New Orleans due to its unique cultural areas in the country. This information regarding the unique culture of this region is difficult to find elsewhere in the world.

You would be taught different types of cooking abilities so that you can cook great food and gain a lot of experience. What is special about cooking schools in New Orleans is the traditional Cajun cooking. You would have to explore a little more if you want to learn this traditional Cajun cooking.

Most of the people are unaware of the requirements that should be essential in a school. Cooking schools would serve you more than just teaching about the foods available in the region. You would be endeavored with the folklore and culture of this region. There is a story behind every lesson you learn and dish you cook which makes it more interesting. You can learn all this also in a cooking school in New Orleans.

If you are looking for a New Orleans cooking school to gain experience of cooking then you should choose from numerous selections available to you. You can visit several schools to gain knowledge about the types of offers they have for you and the level unto which they can fulfill your requirements. Although you can learn a lot from their website, but visiting personally would help you understand their school mission and style in a true sense. You would be happy to know that they will also let you taste the great food of this process also.

You should also study about the goals and history of the school whenever you visit any of the New Orleans cooking school. It would be easy to understand the current functioning of the business once you understand the thought behind the detailed history and professionals or educators. It is very important that you understand how New Orleans cooking school would help you achieve your goals.

Therefore, it is necessary to do research about several New Orleans cooking schools situated at various locations before you opt for one. If you have to invest your time and money to learn the character and culture of these schools then why not search for the best one. New Orleans cooking schools offer you an opportunity to excel in your field and achieve you dreams by getting this world class cooking education.

So, what are you waiting for? Hop online and do proper research before you join any of this world class New Orleans cooking schools.

Abhishek Agarwal

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