I can remember eating a few banana-flavored MoonPies as a kid, but can honestly say I haven't had one since. Not so for the people of Mobile, Ala. On New Year's Eve, the MoonPie madness kicks off with the annual Moonpie Over Mobile. When the clock strikes midnight, a 600-pound electronic MoonPie rises above the city skyline to signal the start of the carnival season. In 2008, the city partnered with founder of the MoonPie, Chattanooga Bakery, to serve up the world's largest marshmallow sandwich, weighing in at 55 pounds and four feet in diameter. The bakery also handed out 5,000 of the treats. In Mobile, the MoonPie obsession continues through Fat Tuesday, as the sandwiches are a popular throw for krewes. Chattanooga Bakery's website explains how the sandwich made its way to Mobile from Tennessee. "If you've ever caught a MoonPie from a parade float on the Gulf Coast, you have the 70's to thank," the site says. "Early on, paraders threw Cracker Jack boxes to hungry revelers, but those didn't feel so hot in the side of the head." According to mardigrasdigest.com, Cracker Jacks were banned as throws in 1972, and two years later the Maids of Mirth began throwing
Photo by Keyhole Photo
Mardi Gras officially began in Mobile, Alabama, in 1703, a full 15 years before the city of New Orleans was even founded. Mobile's first masked ball, Masque de la Mobile, was held the following year and the first parade in 1711. Sixteen men pushed a cart carrying a papier mache cow's head through town. Mobile Mardi Gras has evolved and expanded since its rustic beginnings, but mystery and intrigue still surround the celebration, with secret krewes and masked figures often reveling behind closed doors.
The public side of Mobile Mardi Gras has grown enormously since that first 16-member parade, with 41 parades on the schedule for this year and almost a million people estimated to attend the festivities. After moving back home to Mobile from Ohio, photographer Meggan Haller and her husband, Jeff, a native of Nebraska, decided to start documenting Mardi Gras in Mobile. Owners of Keyhole Photo, the couple has spent several years photographing parades, pageants, balls, bands and a few behind the scenes goings on.
Photo by Keyhole Photo
Photo by Keyhole Photo
"There's a lot of different ways to celebrate Mardi Gras here," says Meggan, "and I'm fascinated by all of the different aspects." "Some are very
by Erin Z. Bass With all of the hubbub over who owns the phrase, "Who Dat," Deep South decided to do some research. I'd actually seen the Wikipedia entry for the phrase a couple of weeks ago after a friend questioned the saying, so I knew it had been around for a while, but I wasn't sure when or how Saints fans started using it. I certainly had no idea that the NFL had, or thought they had, any rights to it, and assumed "Who Dat" was just one of those charming things New Orleanians like to say. The big question in the media and on Twitter this week is can "Who Dat" be owned, or is "Who Dat" for Saints fans, created by Saints fans.
According to its Wikipedia entry, the chant "Who Dat" originated in minstrel shows and vaudeville acts in the late 1800s. The first reference is believed to be in the song, "Who Dat Say Chicken in This Crowd," written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, a native of Ohio whose parents had escaped from slavery. The New Orleans connection to Dunbar seems to be that his wife graduated from what is now Dillard University.
"Who Dat?" was a common tag
by Erin Z. Bass It started with an EP of five songs, followed by an invitation to open for Brooklyn band the Dirty Projectors during their fall tour. Then came inclusion in NPR's "All Songs Considered." Now, The Givers are working on their first full-length album. And did we mention they're barely old enough to drink?
I first saw The Givers perform at Lafayette's benefit concert for Haiti. They took the stage at Parc International as the first act of the day. It was about 2 p.m., and the sky was dark and cloudy. But when they started playing, African, Caribbean and pop sounds floated out into the crowd, a beautiful voice emerged from Tiffany Lamson, and the approaching storm was forgotten. The band's MySpace page describes the experience as "sounds that gather together melodically and electronically bent forms of African, folk and pop music, but send them underwater, where they are refracted with light and space, changing the overall shape and texture into something refreshingly new, yet at the same time, familiar."
The familiar could come from the fact that you've probably seen these musicians before. This isn't their first band. Guitarist Taylor Guarisco used to turn up at events and gigs
by Erin Z. Bass I became a Saints fan the year after Hurricane Katrina. My husband is an avid fan, and I realized that the Saints were just what a grieving city needed to give them hope. At the time, cheering for the Saints on Sunday was something that took people's minds off of the hurricane and gave them something to look forward to. They came together and cheered for a team that represented the future of their city and also kept New Orleans in the media spotlight around the world. The Saints seemed to be playing on a magical mission, one that's led them to this monumental moment. It's been heartwarming to see all of the Saints love pouring out all over the country this week. The Saints, and New Orleans, are back, and I'm glad everybody knows it.
Here are just some of the examples of recent Saints love from near and far:
The Wall Street Journal called the Saints the "Sentimental Team of the Century" on Jan. 19.
USA Today followed suit Jan. 22 with an extensive article titled "A City's Patron Saints." (A Google news search today pulled up over 2,000 articles about the Saints.)
NBC's 30 Rock Jan. 21 referenced
by Darrell Bourque
Since that afternoon years ago
when my mother put us on our knees
and told us she was leaving,
I have placed myself in the world,
measured myself against the horizon,
let the sky cover me like some angel bird
hovering. I have seen wide ribbons
of pine making a trot-line at the earth's edge.
I have studied things up-close; stunted trees
growing out of rock. I have gone beyond
tree lines where grasses open seedpods
like prayers. I have stood at the water's
edge and wobbled, and still no one
knows who knifed the unreadable lettering
on my mother's new cedar chifferobe
that day. She and my father drove to town
to buy garfish for our usual Friday supper
at my aunt's house. We were questioned again
on her return but no one confessed -through
the fish cleaning, the seasoning, the frying.
I can't remember when exactly we laughed
and ran through the yard with our cousins.
It was night when we went home. We were happy.
Just last week, some fifty years later,
one of us brings it up in my mother's
presence. She has not walked for years
and it is no big matter to her now,
but none of us are fessing up today either.
We all know who didn't do it,
and one of us knows who did.
Bourque's poem tells the story
Photo from Green Wedding Shoes
Goin' to the chapel this year? Deep South asked two of its favorite wedding planners what brides can expect to see in 2010. As Valerie Metrejean, owner of Southern Fete in Lafayette, La., preaches, though the South tends to be more traditional, there are lots of brides out there looking for something a little bit different. But different doesn't always have to cost more, and the movement toward detailed, homemade weddings is building.
Alabama wedding planner Dana Goodman predicts that brides will get "back to basics" this year. This could mean downsizing your wedding and having an intimate gathering at home, making your own favors or letting bridesmaids choose their own dresses. "This trend is all about couples prioritizing what's important to them and keeping their day intimate and meaningful. A day full of homespun charm and hospitality," Goodman says. Read on for our full list of 10 trends and plenty of gorgeous photos to help you get the look.
Trend No. 1: Eco-friendly Weddings
Couples are keeping the environment in mind when planning their wedding. Being eco-friendly can mean using local vendors and products, an organic caterer or borrowing instead of buying.
Photo from Jasmine Star
When planning our road trip to McComb, Miss., just over the Louisiana border, I consulted Jane and Michael Stern’s trusty “Road Food” guide to find out where to eat. Only one listing for McComb comes up: The Dinner Bell. It’s noted as a “Top Pick” with five stars. I scanned the description until the term lazy Susan caught my eye and immediately got visions of a table crowded with people and heaping with food. Turns out, I wasn’t too far off from how things are done at one of The Dinner Bell’s huge round tables, but there are rules to follow when engaging in this more than 80-year-old tradition of dining.
You have to wait to take your place at the table. Dishes must be picked up and served lest the lazy Susan spin away from you. And you have to try the fried eggplant. (You can hear the official rules as read by Owner Buddy Davis on our Featured Video.) Since we were visiting on a Saturday, the spread included BBQ ribs, smoked sausage, fried chicken, the famous fried eggplant, yams, chicken ‘n’ dumplings, cabbage, green beans, lima beans, red beans and rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the