A hot little secret
A lot of music is still floating in the air as the festival season just exploded with the one two punch of a heavyweight fighter. The French Quarter Festival in mid April set up the stage for a very successful JazzFest, the first one in years were rain was not an unpaid participant.
As the hordes who descended on New Orleans for the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May began to gradually return to where they came from, the largest ever convention got underway, however the busy people in the hospitality industry know that just about this time of the year New Orleans’ infamous summer heat takes over the calendar and officially launches what people here call “the dead season,” because this is when the exodus from the city begins. That is the exodus of those involved with the city but not having made a commitment to it.
This is the time of the year when the body count wandering around the usual places trickles down and many business appreciate the presence of people at their establishments. There is no lying about it, the sun this time of the year can be brutally hot, the humidity at times can turn the driest skin into porcelain, and the afternoon rains become a frequent and welcomed visitor.
So here is the deal to tango lovers and aficionados dealing with brutal summer time along and across the nation. In New Orleans we have boulevards enclosed by giant oak trees, and we have air conditioning. We also know when to stay in and when to go out. We do this year in and year out, and look forward to do it again.
This period is ideal for a Bed and Tango experience with Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart combining a great vacation, with a world class tango experience in the most unexpected of places tailored to every individual couple and reaching as far as you want it to go.
Bonfires on the levees
The word bonfire is said to derive from the Middle English bonefire, a fire of bone. In South America a bonfire is a large fire built in the open air. In Louisiana, a bonfire is a festive fire to which everyone in the neighborhood contributes a certain portion of material.
There is an area of South East Louisiana known as the River Parishes (St. James, St. John and St. Charles) that was settled along the lower Mississippi River in the early 1700’s by the Old World French and Germans. These early colonists brought with them the knowledge of both summer and winter bonfire customs and traditions which they had known in their native lands. By sharing this knowledge with their many descendants, it is said that they provided the inspiration for a practice which has evolved into one giant celebration – the present-day Christmas Eve levee bonfires!
There is one more recent and increasingly popular explanation. The bonfires were a “Cajun tradition”, first used to light the way for “Papa Noel”, as Cajuns called Santa Claus. This charming version, although improbable, has been depicted annually in front of a Paulina, LA business establishment where a levee scene shows “Papa Noel” with his pirogue drawn by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, “Te-Boy”, Celeste, Suzette, etc.
In the weeks following Thanksgiving, the levee has been alive with activity as scores of young people worked together, contributing labor and material to create the masterpieces that will be ignited on Christmas Eve.
Every year over one hundred 30 foot plus tall bonfire structures are built of wood, firecrackers, and occasionally bamboo along the Mississippi River levee near the town of Lutcher, Louisiana. These bonfires are laced with kerosene or lighter fluid, then weather permitting, the fire chiefs give the signal at 7 o’clock US Central Standard Time, and the St. James Parish residents simultaneously set a torch to their bonfires, re-enacting a fire ritual long-performed by their early European ancestors to welcome the arrival of Papa Noel on Christmas Eve.
All are welcome to join the merriment, now even special stern wheelers, paddle boats, or riverboats offer bonfire cruises down the Mississippi River. The Gray Lines out of the French Quarter packs a dozen buses and heads for Lutcher on Christmas Eve.
It is a Christmas Eve tradition, unless it rains, then it is promptly changed to a New Year’s Eve tradition.
A New Orleans Southern Christmas brunch
The table in the dining room was set up early in the morning and it was a beautiful sight waiting to welcome good friends for a Christmas brunch. The chosen menu was to include Southern comfort food.
The feast began with smoked salmon with caviar and cream cheese. Also hearts of palm with Argentine salsa golf.
It continued with fresh raw oysters with horseradish sauce
The main course was Gulf Coast shrimp and grits. After cooking on hot oil and butter, the shrimp was stirred into halved cherry tomatoes sauteed with minced shallots, drained capers, dash of Tabasco and fresh lemon juice.
The grits were stirred into boiling milk and then baked in the oven. Separately, minced shallots and minced garlic were sauteed in melted butter and dry Torrontes white wine from the Cafayate Valley in Argentina until translucent. The mix along Parmesan cheese was folded into the cooked grits.
The grits were served on a plate and the shrimp and sauce layered over for a great presentation and a much more delicious treat.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Caroling in Jackson Square has been a tradition since 1946, and remains free and open to the public thanks to people’s support of the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre.
People of all faiths occupy Jackson Square with candlelight and a book of carols in their hands.
FUN UNDER THE FRESCOES
Concert Series presented by Friends of Saint Alphonsus in support of St. Alphonsus ChurchA Holiday Show with
Filmed live at Saint Alphonsus Catholic church on the Irish Channel on December 14, 2011
Book your personalized and discreet getaway, now!
All the tango you can muster,
Surrounded by the fabulous gastronomical offerings of the city
Riding the streetcar to the French Quarter
Strolling the streets with to go cups filled with your favorite libation
Catching a mid afternoon jam session
Joining an evening of music and more culinary temptations.
- Private room with queen size bed, private bathroom, and 2 hours of private lessons, $250 per day, single or double occupancy.
- $450 weekend special, Saturday and Sunday.
- $950 four day extended weekend.
To book, calculate the total amount, and send check or money order with 50% deposit to,
808 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Or use your credit card via safe and secure site PayPal HERE.
Phone, 504.535.3614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
First we want to thank you very much for the hospitality and the high end educational argentine tango training sessions. Magda and I are very appreciative of the great personal attention and skills given to improve our argentine tango.
We hope that soon can meet again. As discussed you are welcome to stay in our apartment in Hackensack NJ. There is very convenient transportation in all directions and we could also assist you if needed.
Magda and Andrei
Please know how much we enjoyed the entire weekend. It was the best! Our friends are so excited about the book/DVD we shared with them. Hopefully some of them will reserve a Tango weekend with you soon. I really have enjoyed the magazines also. We would love to do another tango weekend or at least do a lesson or two on our next visit to New Orleans. Thanks for making our tango experience so wonderful! We will continue working on what you taught us and use the book also.
Linda and I began to study and dance Argentine Tango about 5 years ago, and we have studied with Alberto and Valorie on numerous occasions (they’re our favorite tango instructors in the whole world); our weekend of Tango, bed and breakfast at their lovely home/studio in New Orleans was a wonderful getaway experience, the city was great, and having this couple all to ourselves has taken our dance to another level altogether!!!!!! We recommend this weekend experience to everyone who wants to work on the romance and authenticity of Tango…
I had a wonderful time and I have already begun watching your teaching DVD. I’ll be using it to practice with my friends… Of course I’ll also do my best to spread the word about what a great thing it is to spend a weekend at the Tango B&B and take intensive individual instruction.
What could be better than staying with good friends, sharing in their warm home and garden district environs and honing our tango. It was also great to see you doing well!!! Thank you -we enjoyed our tango week-end immensely.
Tango being a part of my life, Alberto, Valorie, I had an amazing time. I’m still smiling… My poor roommate had to listen to me gush about how great my tango weekend was. I’m sad that we had to leave, but I know that we will be seeing you both again soon. Thank you for the fantastic experience, in an amazing city, with the best tango instructors. I learned so much and gained so much more confidence with my tango.
I traveled to New Orleans for an intensive tango experience. A few of you have asked me about it, and a few have noticed the change in my dancing! I just want to take a moment to share with you an opportunity that you might not realize you have…I made reservations to spend a long weekend with Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart as a guest of their “bed & tango getaway” in New Orleans! Always generous and masterful teachers, I spent hours each day working with them, and practicing in their studio. I even received the two best master classes of my entire tango education from them while I was there! It’s those “aha!” moments that you get with only a world-class teacher that have impacted my dancing so noticeably. On Saturday night, they hosted one of the most delightful milongas I’ve ever attended…beautiful music in a gorgeous venue, the most openhearted and friendly people, and a floor filled with skillful dancers! It was truly refreshing to be embraced by the culture of tango so completely and warmly… and of course, it was also a treat to be surrounded by the colorful culture of New Orleans…jazz and food and architecture… it’s an incredibly generous offer and I’m really excited to share it with you.
Thanks for your hospitality and the use of your comfy home. We really enjoyed the Tango lessons and meeting your friends at the milonga. We are reading your book — so well written — and continue to pracice. Till our paths cross again.
Culest and John