Too Old To Rock And Roll? A Music Fest Survival Guide For The Woodstock Generation

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Give Bill Murray credit. Not only did he arrive on the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live riding a horse, wearing a dress, purse, and cowboy boots but he confessed to alternating liquor with water and seeking a gentle mosh pit at South by Southwest.

So was I, Bill. So was I. Continue reading

Postcards from the Palate

Some places you remember for the sights. Others, for the people. And then there are those you swear you can still taste. NYC is renowned for the depth and breadth of its cuisine. The term farm-to-table truly comes alive on plates in California where simple, fresh meals can be had everywhere, every day. And then there’s New Orleans, where eating is a cultural obsession and the answer to every problem is, “Have another beignet.” Continue reading

Voluntourism: A Hand Up or a Handout? Part Deux

In a previous post I discussed my reaction to Hurricane Katrina and my desire to assist with the relief effort in some tangible way. After spending a couple of days in New Orleans, I traveled to a Habitat for Humanity worksite on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain. 

My accommodations for the build were in a sheriff’s barracks on the outskirts of Slidell. I was the first to arrive and was greeted by a deputy who gave me the ten-cent tour:  gang showers, lounge, bunk rooms. His advice was to grab a top bunk away from the door.

Slidell

Goodbye, Soniat House. Hello, bunk beds.

Continue reading

Voluntourism: A Hand Up or a Handout?

Philanthropic travel has significantly increased in popularity since my trip to Louisiana in 2006. Who benefits more from these programs – the tourist or the host?

Mardi Gras New Orleans

Reggie Bush and other float characters from Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World.

“Come on, Cher!”

Before I could object, I was pulled by the arm into the bar and marched up onto the stage. A harness was lowered over my head. It had a washboard attached that covered my chest.

“Une! Deux! Trois!”

The band launched into some rollicking zydeco and a pair of hands bearing spoons materialized in front of me. Rhythmically, vigorously, the spoons strummed my washboard.

Laissez les bon temps rouler. Continue reading