From Italy to Memorable Mardi Gras
New Orleans is the most beautiful, interesting, hospitable place in the South. It was my home and the home of my father and grandfather for most of their lives.
My grandfather was born and raised in New Orleans. After high school, he enlisted in the Army, then moved to Italy.
When my grandfather lived in Italy, he met my adorable, beautiful grandmother – a Florence, Italy native. They lived there for about 13 years before my grandfather convinced her to come back to New Orleans with him.
About three years into living in Italy, my grandparents were married with two handsome sons, my father and uncle. When my dad was 10 and my uncle, 8, my grandparents left Italy to move to New Orleans. I am very grateful they did.
New Orleans is such a wonderful place with so many unique cultures. They have made an impact on the city’s culinary scene.
Cajun cooking originated in New Orleans. We get to enjoy the most flavorful jambalayas, red beans and rice, and seafood. Oysters are an acquired taste, but you will not eat a better oyster than the ones you find in New Orleans. NOLA is home to some of the best oyster houses in the world. You can orders oysters in any style, such a fried, grilled, or even Rockefeller.
New Orleans is known for its fine Southern creole and French architecture. While walking around the streets of New Orleans and into the French Quarter, you will see big balconies with detailed black iron railings and beautiful flower pots hanging from balconies. You will find extravagant crown molding in restaurants and antiques galore.
Saint Charles is my favorite street in New Orleans for many reasons, but it is the street where I grew up, so I am a little biased.
Saint Charles from Canal Street all the way to uptown New Orleans is lined with the most beautifully designed homes. The houses are all old antebellum homes with big wrap around porches and lots of living oak trees that have grown tall and hang over the street.
A lot of houses have beautiful, black iron railing as fences because Saint Charles is a very happening place, especially during Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras, the most amazing time of the year and my favorite holiday, is an experience like no other. The streets are crowded with people everywhere. A different float parade comes down the streets and through the town each day.
Floats are decked out to the nines with huge characters related to the parade, and they are just throwing beads and different toys at everyone. It is so exciting.
There are beads of all sorts, but my favorite is when I am thrown a bead of glass. Those are the most important beads because each individual bead is handmade from glass torching and put together to make a beautiful beaded glass necklace.
The glass beads are very rare, and I still remember how excited I was when I got my very first one. My favorite parades are Bacchus and Endymeon because those are the parades and balls I grew up going to and watching my dad ride in. It was so fun watching my dad ride as a kid because he always threw me the coolest beads and toys.