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New Orleans’ Greatest Tourist Spots

New Orleans’ Greatest Tourist Spots

When touring some of the most entertaining and culturally unique cities in the United States, the Big Easy is one of the most popular and fascinating. Though New Orleans has certainly had its share of difficult times since Hurricane Katrina, the tenacious spirit of its residents has brought this city back to life.

New Orleans’ French Quarter has something for everyone. Unlike other cities that compete for tourists, New Orleans offers activities for everyone at prices that can’t be beat. If you’re looking for a family vacation at the right price–not sparing the fun—look no further.

  • Bourbon Street—This infamous road is the heartbeat of New Orleans. Regardless of the time of day, Bourbon Street offers great food, good music, and people looking for a good time. The night offers adult fun into the wee hour of the morning. Enjoy being able to transport your alcoholic beverage down the street as you pop in and out of the bars. If you’re looking to party without the drama, head to Bourbon Street with your posse.
  • Jackson Square—This historic landmark is spread out over 2.5 acres and is a popular creative space for artists, musicians, and filmmakers alike. Whether you are interested in the annual French Quarter Festival or you are looking for a regal setting for your wedding day, the monumental beauty that Jackson Square offers can’t be beat.
  • Preservation Hall—Musicians can be found on nearly every corner in New Orleans, but real music lovers will appreciation of the jazz clubs that host some of the most talented musicians around. Preservation Hall is a central location for Jazz lovers that offers live concerts every night of the week. This club is a great gathering place regardless of age. Just bring your love of music, sit back, and relax.

This is only a handful of the unique New Orleans flavor that overflows within the city. These must-see attractions make great stops on your tour and give you a well-rounded experience. Very few places can boast about an overwhelming spirit of community, fun, and friendship that New Orleans possesses. You may come for a few short days, but you leave as a member of a family. No vacation is long enough to see the whole city, but start here and you can’t go wrong.

The Best Places to Eat in the French Quarter

french-quarter

New Orleans is world-renowned for its food and the French Quarter is where you’ll find the city’s finest, celebrated restaurants. If your time is limited, and it’s a quick meal you’re after, follow the city natives and try the food where they eat. If you want to experience the best the city has to offer, enjoy the cuisine of the following must-visit eateries.

Angeline

Brunch at Angeline is a meal not to be missed. If you can arrive at 10 AM at Angeline on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you’re in for a treat. A classic Southern brunch is served featuring everything from hearty omelettes of all types to “Gulf Shrimp and Country Ham.”

Café du Monde

If you’ve ever wanted to try an authentic beignet, you can grab a bag of the delicious, deep-fried choux pastries and enjoy them with a cup of coffee, freshly-squeezed orange juice, or milk. The beignets served at Café du Monde are among the best to be found anywhere. They are served 24 hours a day for enjoyment at the outdoor façade, or you can get them to go.

Coop’s Place

The rich flavors of the bayou can be savored and enjoyed at this French Quarter favorite. Just get there early because they don’t accept reservations. Their “Cajun Fried Chicken” is a must-try served with rabbit and sausage jambalaya, and a secret mix of spices. The menu is filled with the culinary classics the city is famous for and it’s so good you might find yourself at Coop’s Place more than once during your visit.

Irene’s

Offering classic Creole-Italian cuisine, Irene’s is so popular that there’s always a wait. Yet between the lively waiting area with live music on the piano and the delectable dishes served there, it’s definitely worth the wait. Offering favorites like “Meuniére Amandine” and “Lamb a’la Provence”, Irene’s is dining experience you really must have during your French Quarter visit.

Stanley

Stanley may be an unassuming name but there’s nothing commonplace about the gumbo they serve there. Rich and flavorful filled with Andouille sausage, chicken, Gulf shrimp, oysters, and more, it will quickly become one of your culinary favorites. The menu at Stanley offers many of the dishes that made the city famous like their “Red Beans & Rice” and their “Cajum Spiced Ribs.” Be sure to try the “Classic Banana Split” made with their rich, homemade ice cream because it’s a delight.

Verti Marte

Tucked into the back of a modest grocery store on a quiet French Quarter street, Verti Marte has a chalkboard menu, glass display cases, and serves generous portions. You can enjoy a po-boy or any of their delicious, ample deli sandwiches for a casual meal in a welcoming place.

New Orleans Saints 2018 Season Preview

New Orleans Saints 2018 Season Preview

The New Orleans Saints are focusing on the next steps to rebuild after their heartbreaking loss to Minnesota in the 2017 NFC divisional playoffs. Reinforced by an excellent draft class, the Saints are putting exciting young players on both sides of the ball, giving future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees a chance to reach for that second Super Bowl win. The roster is holding onto 21 starters from the team that claimed the NFC South title a year ago, and motivation is high for redemption.

Offense
The coach-quarterback team of Sean Payton and Drew Brees is one of the most successful in the game today. Similar to Tom Brady, 39-year old Brees shows no signs of slowing down. He knows Payton’s complex plays by heart, and remains one of the most accurate passers in NFL history, proven by his NFL-record breaking 72 percent completion rate last year. His arm strength may have diminished, but he makes up for it with a quick release and anticipation of other players. Few quarterbacks are better at identifying and targeting opponent’s weak spots than Brees.

But this team isn’t just counting on Brees to move the ball. The backfield team of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara is one of the best in the league. The Saints also signed seasoned Terrance West to hold down the fort during Ingram’s 4-game PED suspension. Ingram and Kamara each have their own style – Ingram does the majority of work between tackles using his low center of gravity, powerful legs and balance. Kamara excels in open space and is effective on screen and slip passes out of the backfield. Wide receiver Michael Thomas’ 196 receptions are the highest made by anyone during their first two years in the NFL. His leaping skills and 6’3″ frame have made him Brees’ go-to man in the red zone as well as on third down. Forever youthful 31-year-old Ted Ginn Jr. still has the speed to take the top off of defenses. The Saints are also counting on former Chicago Bear Cameron Meredith to bounce back from his knee injury. If he’s healthy, the Saints might have a steal. Third-round draft pick, rookie Tre’Quan Smith, is there for insurance in case Meredith fails to meet expectations.

Offensive left tackle Terron Armstead can block rushers easily, and second-year pro Ryan Ramczyk started 16 games as a rookie and will be playing right tackle. Guards Andrus Peat and Larry Warford can form a solid pocket for Brees.

Defense
The Saints overhauled their defense with an flurry of high draft picks and free agents in 2016 and 2017, and the results are beginning to show. Although the defense ranked No. 17 overall last season, it was still among the league leaders with 42 sacks and 25 takeaways.

Cameron Jordan has been in the left end position for the last seven seasons. He is considered one of the most complete ends in the NFL, as well as the undisputed leader of the defense. The Saints have spent years trying to complement Jordan on the right, and have decided on rookie Marcus Davenport. He will compete with veteran Alex Okafor to start opposite Jordan.

Sheldon Rankins had a quiet sophomore campaign, but the Saints are still high on the former first-round pick. The Saints would like to see him make more plays of his own. The same goes for Tyeler Davison, who completes the front four at the other tackle spot.

Demario Davis was signed to captain the defense on the second level. A.J. Klein has been moved to where he’s more comfortable. Alex Anzalone has potential as long as he stays healthy, and depth is solid with veterans Mike Mauti, Craig Robertson, Nate Stupar and Manti Te’o.

Marshon Lattimore started all 13 games he was in previously and became the first Saints corner to make the Pro Bowl since Eric Allen in 1995. Ken Crawley, P.J. Williams and Patrick Robinson are all capable starters as well. Crawley plays with confidence but needs to cut down on penalties. Robinson is expected to man the slot position, a weak spot in defense in previous years.

Free safety Marcus Williams’ solid rookie season was overshadowed by his now infamous missed tackle in the NFC playoffs against Minnesota. Vonn Bell is an excellent blitzer and big hitter, but his limitations can be exposed. The Saints are confident that veteran safety Kurt Coleman can still make plays on the back end and were excited to sign him in free agency. He brings much-needed experience and savvy to the position group. He’ll be employed often in coordinator Dennis Allen’s three-safety packages.

Specialists
Punter Thomas Morstead and kicker Wil Lutz are both reliable veterans, ranking among the best in the field. Morstead has a powerful right leg and is great at directional kicks. Lutz can kick 55-yards with ease. Rookie Boston Scott will be competing with Tommylee Lewis and Ted Ginn Jr for their return jobs.

Final Analysis
The Saints are ready to compete for NFC supremacy against the Eagles, Vikings, Rams and Packers this season. The offense is still one of the most dynamic in the league and their new talented young defense will only improve with time. The Saints face a brutal schedule and will do well to equal last year’s 11-5 record, but they’ll again be a factor in the NFC playoff race and are a solid sleeper pick to go all the way.

The History and Traditions of Mardi Gras

The History and Traditions of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is one of the greatest multi-purpose events of all time. What started out as a religious festival has become a party-theme, tourist attraction, and international phenomenon. This Catholic pre-Lent blowout has blossomed into Carnival in countries like Brazil and Mardi Gras celebrations in the US. No one can agree how it began. Some claim that it was inspired by ancient Roman spring festivals. Others believe that Mardi Gras developed as a response to the restrictions imposed on the faithful during Lent – a grass root, unofficial celebration that grew into a church tradition.

Mardi Gras begins on the evening of the twelfth day of Christmas. The twelve days start on Christmas Day and lead up to the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. The night of the last day of Christmas begins the Mardi Gras celebrations.

Even though New Orleans is considered the home of Mardi Gras in the US, the first Mardi Gras celebrations took place in a French settlement that would eventually become the city of Mobile, Alabama. Mobile still hosts “America’s Oldest Mardi Gras,” every year. New Orleans hosts one of the largest celebrations, but the festival there has a tempestuous history. New Orleans changed hands from France to Spain and, eventually, to the US. The Spanish outlawed Mardi Gras. When the US took over, the French custom was censured and restricted. But that changed in the 1810’s when some private citizens developed the first krewe.

Krewes were closed-door clubs that held private balls and sponsored parades. These groups grew in number during the 1800’s, leading to the development of the massive party that is Mardi Gras today. Modern krewes continue the tradition, sponsoring floats, parades, and balls.

The most recognizable element of a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras is the King Cake. This braided, cinnamon-filled confection iced in the traditional gold, purple, and green that contains a plastic baby Jesus is a staple in the modern Mardi Gras tradition. The person that gets the babe in their slice of cake has to buy a future cake or host next year’s party.

No matter where you are, you can celebrate Mardi Gras with a great party. Decorate with the traditional colors, buy a King Cake, and invite your friends. Celebrate, embrace, and enjoy the tradition as this will only continue to keep Mardi Gras as the wonderful celebration that is.

Painting with Krewe of Pandora tonight!

Painting with Krewe of Pandora tonight!

I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my Krewe of Pandora friends tonight. It has been awhile since we have all gotten together. Actually, the last time we got together it stormed in the city and it was tough for everyone to come out that evening. Tonight will be a fun filled time for sure.

One of the joys about the ladies of Pandora is that we have a great group of women who are interested in enhancing their social lives.  We have several ladies who are new to the area and don’t know many folks.   I had the idea for the Sip and Paint tonight as a good way of getting together while doing something fun at the same time.

The whole idea of the Sip and Paint is for people to bring a snack and some wine and socialize.  Then the fun begins with painting and its always a bunch of laughs!  Women get to bond over how their painting is coming out and tease each other with laughter at the finished products.

I hope everyone who attends will enjoy themselves and realize that we are more than just a Mardi Gras Krewe.  We really are a friendly sisterly social club who also rides in a parade.  I know many ladies who ask about joining Pandora are also coming to see what its all about.

I will be sure to post pictures as I know we will have many smiles and good times to share!

Hail Pandora!

5 Easy Ways to Keep Motivated

5 Easy Ways to Keep Motivated

In a nutshell, motivation refers to why people do what they do and for many of us, it can be quite a roller coaster ride, to say the least. In life, there are all kinds of aspects of work and personal life that requires motivation and certainly, a lack of motivation can hinder your ability to stay ahead of the game. However, we’re happy to tell that you that it’s actually common for people to struggle to maintain the momentum of it. So, just breathe my friend. If you’re having trouble getting stuff done, then the first thing you need to do is find out exactly what motivates you and what doesn’t. You can do this by understanding the different factors that affect your productivity, so you’re able to make positive results happen. Here are five life-changing tips that can motivate you to take charge of what’s important in your life and remain a go-getter, even when the going gets tough!

Be fearless
The truth is, people are riddled with fear more often than not. But, that’s okay It’s important that you stop letting external events trigger negative thoughts in your brain. In order to get better results, try modifying your interpretation of these events that tend to trigger a negative outlook on life by thinking more positive and of course, being fearless. Once the events in your life take on a different, more useful meaning, they won’t trigger negativity or fear.

Mirror your role models
Why struggle down a path when you can learn from others who have faced similar challenges and have found success? Role models are those who possess the qualities that we would like to have, and who have affected us in a way that makes us want to be better people. Whether personally or professionally, try to find role models worthy enough of your attention and motivation, who lead their lives and organizations in the manner in which you aspire to lead and who have also made an impact on others as you would like to.

Begin your day the night before
Sometimes, mornings pose as one of the biggest threat to motivation. Instead of tackling your to-do list once you wake, try to get into the routine of prioritizing your tasks the night before. This helps you be able to and familiarize yourself with everything you plan to do the next day and will keep you fully preparing for what your work will involve, which can sometimes be more than just an organized task list. Cleanliness is also key, so try removing unnecessary clutter from your workstation to help creates a more inviting atmosphere to keep you focused on what needs to be completed.

Create a reward system
It’s no doubt that incentives are excellent motivators. Most of the decisions you make are based on a perceived outcome with the least amount of risk and this strategy can be applied to every facet of your personal lifestyle. Start by Identifying each step on your journey to reaching your goals and create a reward for every milestone met. You will start to see your motivation increase as you get closer and closer to your objectives.

Stimulate your mind, body, and soul
We all know that a healthy diet is a key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you often find yourself struggling to find the energy to get things done, you might want to consider adjusting your levels of nutrition and also think of better ways to take care of your physical and well being. Certain foods are known to improve higher brain function, leading to an increase in motivation, so put away the greasy snacks and try picking up some fruits, veggies, and other food that will help significantly boost cognitive function and also naturally increase physical energy in the body.

At the end of the day
For professionals, the goal is to create lifelong success, and that, of course, requires a great deal of motivation. Sure, everyone struggles with motivation at one point or another, especially in the workplace, but it’s important to create a positive professional and personal environment where motivation and progress can flourish. By implementing these tactics into your daily routine, you will be able to increase your motivation which in turn, will hopefully bring you closer to reaching your long-term goals!

Best Kept Secrets of New Orleans

Best Kept Secrets of New Orleans

If you’re a tourist visiting New Orleans, you want to make sure that you see some of the traditional tourist hotspots like Bourbon Street but you’ll also want to make sure you check out some of the best-kept secrets and hidden gems of New Orleans.

Paradigm Gardens
One of the best parts of New Orleans is the food culture. Jimmy Seely and Joel Hitchcock Tilton begin the gardens as a community garden. This turned into a much bigger operation that started to supply restaurants with produce. These gardens got the community involved to cultivate everything from summer squash to watermelon to mint.

Where Y’Art
New Orleans is also home to a large and ever-growing community of artists looking to showcase their pieces. Collin Ferguson and Catherine Todd co-founded Where Y’Art as a business where art and artists are easily obtained. The home location for Where Y’Art is on Royal Street and an art gallery on the web is available where people can meet the artists and browse through their collections. Every two months, the collections get changed to showcase new artists and keep visitors returning.

Compere Lapin
Nina Compton created a menu based on the Caribbean folk tale of the same name. Chef Compton encourages her customers to appreciate the time that they are spending together and share memories or create new memories while enjoying their food. It creates an environment where people get to focus on each other and the time they have with each other rather than focusing on what’s going on in the outside world.

City Park
City Park is a 1,300-acre park that is filled with gardens, amusement park rides, disc golf courses, and golf courses. It’s also known as one of the oldest urban parks in the country with its opening in 1854. In City Park, Morning Call Coffee Stand beckons for you to grab a coffee and beignet. Morning Call Coffee Stand is 142 years old and is open 24 hours a day. Not only can you get a coffee and beignet, you can get gumbo, jambalaya, and ice cream. They’re a cash-only business though so don’t stop for a visit without some!

New Orleans is a great city to visit and live in. Make sure that you stop by some of these spots to get a real feeling of what New Orleans means to the local community.

Organization Memberships: How They Benefit Us

Organization Memberships: How They Benefit Us

Given the number of responsibilities that you try to juggle on a daily basis, joining an organization may not be one of your top priorities. After all, what business person has time for more meetings and activities? But such thinking can cause you to miss out on a whole lot! Be it professional or charitable, most people can say with ease that without the support of their peers in organizations to which he or she belongs, they would not be nearly as successful. Having membership in an association not only offers access to wealth, but it also provides a resource for members to produce the highest quality output in the world. Even in today’s hyper-connected global society, it’s important that we recognize and understand the benefits of membership organizations. Below are some general benefits of organization membership.

PROFESSIONALISM
There’s no doubt that membership of a respected organization sends the message that you are serious about your profession, and you are willing to put in the time, effort, and money where your mouth is! Being an active member of an organization will not only give you an opportunity to develop your skills as a leader and develop more professionally, but you are able to surround yourself with intelligent, like-minded professionals who are immersed their industry to gather provide access to a variety of opinions and ideas.

EDUCATION
Professional organizations offer quite the amount of learning opportunities. These include courses, seminars, webinars, and lectures all of which are designed to raise awareness of important issues facing its target audience. Staying informed will only help you in the long run by enhancing your skills and knowledge, while also staying up to date on changes in your field.

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
We all know that networking is key for the movers and shakers of the community and such goes beyond the exchange of business cards. Making connections is critical and when joining an organization give countless opportunities to connect on a local and sometimes even global level. You’ll be able to strengthen existing business relationships and develop new contacts that set you up for rich, ongoing sources of inspiration and ideas.

SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Being apart of an organization means that you have access to an established support system of experienced people who are motivated to get things done, and there’s certainly nothing like knowing that you have a strong support system to help you when in need.

KEEPS YOU INSPIRED
It’s important to be proactive about things you discover on the journey because when you learn more about what you do, you’re able to not only continuously motivate and inspire others but also yourself.  When organizations can see real breakthroughs when members are inspired, making them more productive and, in turn, inspire everyone to strive for greater heights.

No matter why you’re joining an organization, we predict a viable future for its membership that will continue to evolve, so it’s good to get involved as you never know where it could lead you. There are some people out there who are willing to join an organization when they see a direct benefit for them, but it’s important as an organization member that you never take this for granted and you see the value in being apart of something bigger than you!

The Second Lines of New Orleans

The Second Lines of New Orleans

New Orleans is a city filled with interesting culture and traditions. Whether it’s the accents, the food, music, buildings or parades, New Orleans represents a city that refuses to fall victim to gentrification or changing their lifestyle to become a tourist hotspot. One of the most interesting traditions of New Orleans is that of the Second Lines.

Second Lines are street parades that are thrown in New Orleans, sometimes at random. They begin with a brass band playing music while walking down the street. In New Orleans, this brass band would be a smaller and more ragtag version of a marching band. This is known as the “main line.” Random strangers follow along forming the “second line.”

Second Lines began in the 19th century and were known as “jazz funerals.” Inhabitants of New Orleans began this tradition of introducing music into funeral processions. They did this as a way to celebrate the life of the deceased, instead of mourning, and to stave off negative spirits as the deceased passed into the afterlife. As a result, clubs were formed that would play music during burials.

Typical jazz funerals followed the fashion of the casket being carried out after the church ceremony and transported to the cemetery. All the while, a brass brand surrounded the procession playing somber, melancholy music. Once the deceased was buried, the band would literally change its tune and start playing hot and pulsating rhythms. The second line followed behind the band waving handkerchiefs and dance. Though New Orleans still holds jazz funerals, the concept of the second line has expanded in how it’s used. These parades have become a way to celebrate big events like a holiday or a New Orleans Saints victory!

Another way that second line parades have expanded is in a for-hire manner. People have been known to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for these bands to perform at birthdays, weddings, or even corporate events. During these parades, street vendors line the sidewalks selling jambalaya and other local goods.

Second line parades are a tradition from other cultures that the city of New Orleans has whole-heartedly embraced and are a staple of the New Orleans culture. If you’re a visitor to New Orleans, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to witness a random second line parade while you’re there!

3 Ways to Recharge When Stressed

3 Ways to Recharge When Stressed

We all have our rough weeks, some more than others.

Most of us work the standard 9 to 5 Monday through Friday work week, and with any job, there is the expectation of work-related stress. There are sometimes it can be motivating, but other times it can be extremely overwhelming and become a burden, whether at work or in your personal life. The moment you leave your office for the weekend, work becomes the last thing you want to think about. No matter what kind of schedule you have, if work or your personal life has been making you miserable and is a major cause of stress and unhappiness, it is very important to address the anxiety.

Here are three ways to effectively help you remain composed and focused when you’re overworked, and also minimize the impact of pressure on your productivity, work success, and overall well-being.

HEALTHY STRESS CHANNELS
Bottling up stress and keeping it inside will eventually cause you to completely burst. It’s important that you find outlets to channel and release your feelings of tension and anxiety in a healthy way, rather than lashing out at yourself or others. There are plenty of activities that can satisfy this need and can be done by finding a new hobby or form of entertainment that will ease your mind and body, such as exercise, meditation, reading, gardening, painting, or cooking.

MAKE “YOU” TOP PRIORITY
This may be the most important, as your well-being means everything. There are times when work can easily monopolize your life, so you must force yourself to stay in control, even when it’s extra busy. Try eating healthily and get enough rest so you are able to function at full capacity, have enough nutrients, and keep energized. Also take a break every now and then. It might seem counterproductive, but when overwhelmed, it will help put things in perspective, allowing you to return in a refreshed state of mind.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
There are limits to the amount of work one person can do, as no one can do it all. When you feel over your head, speak up, ask your supervisors, coworkers, family, or friends for help. Whether at home or work, the quality of your output will decline if you lack the necessary time to get things done right, so doing this will lift a huge weight off of your shoulders when others are there to help.