JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2021
THE MARDI GRAS ISSUE
e k a C King dding u P d a re
IPES C E R S I GRA D R MA
COOK WHATCHA WANNA
A LOOK INSIDE CAJUN
COURIR DE MARDI GRAS
FEED THE SECOND LINE
THE KREWE THAT GREW
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PHOTO BY CHANNING CANDIES
MARDI GRAS IS STILL MARDI GRAS Even though most parades are cancelled, thankfully, Mardi Gras is still on, and we’re all determined to let the good times roll even if the parades aren’t. I’ve seen some really creative ways to celebrate with neighbors and friends while keeping everyone safe; in New Orleans, people are decorating the exteriors of their houses like floats for Mardi Gras. I love this idea, and I hope other cities follow.
Food is such an important part of any celebration, and Mardi Gras is no different. You can still have king cake this year and, yes, you still have to buy the next one if you get the baby. You can boil sacks of crawfish. You can make your famous jambalaya. You can eat moon pies, even if you can’t catch them at a parade. And you can have fried chicken for breakfast on Mardi Gras, even if you’re not out on the route. Because Mardi Gras is still Mardi Gras, and we still love to celebrate with our traditional delicacies.
No matter how you decide to celebrate Mardi Gras this year (and I hope it’s with Rouses king cake), thank you for making us part of it. - Donny Rouse, CEO, 3rd Generation W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
• T H
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Marketing & Advertising Director Tim Acosta
Creative Director & Editor Marcy Nathan
FROM OUR KREWE
ALL ON A MARDI GRAS DAY
1 Donny Rouse
12 Iko, Iko by Alison Fensterstock
5 Letter from the Editor
7 Ali Rouse Royster
9 Cookin’ on Hwy 1
Art Director, Layout & Design
14 The Krewe That Grew by David W. Brown 20 Play Me Something Mister by Jason Berry 24
Production Manager McNally Sislo
Copy Editor Patti Stallard
Advertising Amanda Kennedy Harley Breaux
Mighty Cooty Fiyo by Alison Fensterstock 30 Courir de Mardi Gras by Sarah Baird 33 We Gonna Do That Bayou Thing by Alison Fensterstock 34 Reach for the Moon by David W. Brown
Stephanie Hopkins Robert Barrilleaux Nancy Besson Taryn Clement
ES ECIP AS R R G I D MAR
COOK WHATCHA Page WANNA 38
Cover photo by Romney Caruso. King Cake Bread Pudding recipe on page 53; “Love Your City” Beadwork by Duane Cruse of the Wild Magnolias. Read all about the Krewe of Red Beans and their philanthropic founder on page 14; Muses shoe by Mollye Hardin. Photo by Erika Goldring. See Erika’s photos of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and members of his Golden Eagle tribe of Mardi Gras Indians, starting on page 24. Read about the anthemic song, Indian Red, on page 25.
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Contributors SARAH BAIRD
Sarah Baird is the author of multiple books including New Orleans Cocktails and Flask, which was released in summer 2019. A 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Saveur, Eater, Food & Wine and The Guardian, among others. Previously, she served as restaurant critic for the New Orleans alt-weekly, Gambit Weekly, where she won Critic of the Year in 2015 for her dining reviews.
Jason Berry is an author and documentary film director whose works include the music history, Up From the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II.
Emily Blejwas is executive director of the Alabama Folklife Association. She lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband and four children.
Artistic food photographer Romney Caruso is a seasoned pro. He has been styling and shooting editorial, advertising and cookbook projects for over 25 years. You see his work in this magazine, in our stores and on our website. He also shoots photos for restaurants, hotels, and real estate and large commercial clients. Romney lives in Mandeville, Louisiana.
DAVID W. BROWN David W. Brown is a freelance writer whose work appears in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American and The New Yorker. His next book, The Mission: A True Story, is now available for preorder, and will be published by HarperCollins in January 2021. Brown lives in New Orleans.
ALISON FENSTERSTOCK Alison Fensterstock is a former music critic for The Times-Picayune and Gambit Weekly, and a current columnist for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ magazine 64 Parishes. Her work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times and NPR Music.
ERIKA MOLLECK GOLDRING Fine art music photographer Erika Molleck Goldring’s portfolio features her photos of such celebrated acts as Beyonce, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson and Fats Domino. Her work is regularly featured in Rolling Stone, People and Entertainment Weekly, as well as The New York Times and other major newspapers. Erika lives in New Orleans.
I was a total marching band nerd, which meant spending many a Mardi Gras carrying a 40-lb bass drum down the streets of Downtown Houma. My favorite number involved the entire band dancing and marching in a “snake” formation between the barricades. The energy from the crowd was unforgettable! – Kacie Galtier, Designer & Illustrator
RYAN HODGSON-RIGSBEE A native of Chicago, Ryan HodgsonRigsbee now makes New Orleans home. He collaborates with New Orleans nonprofits, businesses and artists such as the Krewe of Red Beans, Feed the Second Line, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, and WWOZ to reach the public with photography that is both compelling and culturally responsible.
HAIL YES, IT’S STILL MARDI GRAS
I love a good mix of Mardi Gras traditions from my current home, New Orleans, and my birthplace, Acadiana. We go all out with weekend parades and face paint, then spend Lundi Gras enhancing our fringe and perfecting our masks for an early morning courir. Last year I finally caught a chicken! – Eliza Schulze, Art Director
Making plans to decorate the exterior of your home for Mardi Gras, maybe even joining a group like Krewe of House Floats? If so, tag us @RousesMarkets. Every tag is an automatic entry to win a famous Rouses king cake, shipped anywhere you choose! And if you’re in the New Orleans area and want to hire a Mardi Gras float builder, parade designer or artist to help you decorate, visit www.hireamardigrasartist.com. This Mardi Gras house initiative – a project of the Krewe of Red Beans - supports Feed the Second Line, which provides food and employment to the culture bearers of New Orleans. My grandmother always woke up before sunrise to get to Felicity and St. Charles to claim a Mardi Gras day spot for “her grandbabies.” My siblings, my cousins and I got to sleep in and enjoy a hot beignet breakfast before heading down to the route where our spot was taped off like a crime scene. – McNally Sislo, Production Manager 4
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR By Marcy Nathan, Creatiive Director The first year I got to ride in the Muses parade, the theme was, appropriately, Makin’ Groceries. I got so excited I threw all of my shoes before we even hit Louisiana Avenue (readers, that’s not even halfway down the route). I then threw my headdress. At one point my float was surrounded by a sea of screaming people holding signs with my name and face on them. As anyone who has ever ridden in one of the big Mardi Gras parades will tell you, it’s the closest you will ever get to being famous. So my second year — now a bit of a seasoned pro, hehe — I made more shoes. After I generously handed an elaborately glittered flip-flop to someone I already didn’t like, she tried to return it for a high heel — seriously, can you imagine? She gave me back the flip-flop, and I gave her back a dirty look. No shoes for you! Somewhere around the viewing stands close to the end of the route, I made the mistake of lifting up my mask. Your mask has to be worn at all times — sound familiar? — and I ended up with a $250 fine from the City of New Orleans. You get whipped at Faquetaique Courir de Mardi Gras in Eunice if you take off your mask, so I guess I got off easy. Like most New Orleanians, I have loved Mardi Gras since I was a child. My mother never missed a parade. She would dress us in matching clown costumes to watch Rex and Zulu and a never-ending parade of truck floats. My dad was in charge of the ladders — yes, I said plural ladders — for me and my three sisters. I still have a slew of Mardi Gras traditions that I observe. I live conveniently right off of the Thoth parade route, and my neighbors and I set up outdoor bars and indoor buffets to serve everyone who comes by on their way to the parade. There’s always a crawfish boil and a porch band. Invariably, I miss Bacchus that night.
French Quarter for lunch, and the French 75 bar next door. Eventually we make our way down the block to the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street to meet friends who lunched at Antoine’s and Galatoire’s. Invariably, I miss Orpheus that night. The Jefferson City Buzzards, the world’s oldest Mardi Gras marching club, fly down my street Mardi Gras morning. You can’t miss them, even if you try. My neighbors and I gather on the sidewalk to watch, some of us still in pajamas. I’m usually in costume by then — I graduated from my childhood clown costume to beauty queen Miss Sippy, complete with sash and crown, cocktail glass and Southern drawl. I usually go downtown on Mardi Gras, which is all about the costumes — no one is trying to pass off a Saints jersey or Mardi Gras polo shirt as a costume downtown. It’s a big walking day. We join the Secret Society of Saint Anne and the Society of St. Cecilia, which parade on foot from the Bywater through the Marigny into the French Quarter. Some years I make it to Bourbon Street for the annual Bourbon Street Awards, where prizes are given for things like best drag costume. (The Mardi Gras my boyfriend wore a silver dress and makeup, he easily could have taken a gold — if we’d made it to Bourbon Street.) Some years I make it to the Backstreet Cultural Museum to see the Mardi Gras Indians, some years to Crescent City Steak House to say farewell to the flesh with a sizzling steak. Some years, I never make it past Esplanade Avenue. But no matter how much fun I’m having, I never miss the St. Augustine Purple Knights Marching 100 band. We filmed them rolling through our Tchoupitoulas store in Uptown New Orleans one year — you could see their patterns in motion as they paraded down the frozen food aisle. The Marching 100 were the first Black marching band to take part in the Rex Mardi Gras parade. They are 100% my favorite part of Mardi Gras — I’m dancing in my chair just writing this – and they are what I will definitely miss most about no parades this year.
Muffaletta Muses shoe by Jamie Richardson. Photo by Erika Goldring.
Lundi Gras is a true social occasion. We get all dressed up and go to Arnaud’s in the
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you oughta go see the
I’m at the Royal Street store in the French Quarter so I see everything, and I mean everything. From the streets, to the balconies, even the dogs dressed up for Barkus, there’s just so much creativity. I love all of the costumes. – Jomo Smith, Store Director, New Orleans
I’ve got binders full of Rex doubloons that go back to 1960, which was the first year Rex threw them. Even though I’m not as big a collector as I used to be, I still want to get a Rex doubloon every year. – Chris Campbell, Regional Director of Operations, Baton Rouge
The best part of Mardi Gras is the king cake, although the parades are a close second. I love the smaller, local parades, like the one that rolls here in Denham Springs. Then there are the more eccentric parades, like Spanish Town. Everyone wears pink to that parade. And you’ve never seen so many pink flamingos. – Michelle LeBlanc, Store Director, Denham Springs
We live in Abita, so we go see Krewe of Push Mow every year. Instead of floats, they have decorated lawn mowers. It’s completely wacky. We know everybody in the parade, and everybody at the parade, and everybody’s having fun. – Marc Ardoin, Store Director, Kenner
Move back…move back…move back. All three of my girls played in the band at Central Lafourche. I was a chaperone when they marched in the bayou parades, and a couple of the New Orleans parades. Move back…move back. – Morris Soudelier, Regional Director of Operations, Bayou Region
I grew up in a town where a parade was the little league team riding on the back of convertibles. I tell everyone back home, you haven’t been to a parade until you’ve been to Mardi Gras. I love looking at the fans as much as the floats. Everyone is just so happy, all because it’s Carnival time. – Larry Diehl, Regional District Manager, Greater New Orleans
I just love seeing the customers who I see every day in the stores out on the route celebrating. Mardi Gras is something we all celebrate together. – Chad Seales, Store Director, Lake Charles 6
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My favorite part of Mardi Gras is the Bay Ratz Marching Battery, our homegrown youth drum corps, which marches in the Bay St. Louis parades. – Russell Veazey, Regional Director of Operations, Mississippi-North Shore
Music is how we know Mardi Gras is in full swing at Rouses Tchoupitoulas. Some of the greatest bands in the city take over our parking lot for a battle of the bands each year. There’s Carver High School vs. Kennedy High School, and the classic West Bank battle, L.B. Landry vs. Edna Karr, and so many more. Throughout the season we get thousands of parade-goers yelling for their favorite high school band. It’s just so much fun. – Stanley Duplessis, Store Director, New Orleans
I’m right there in the middle of the packed crowd trying to catch a moon pie. – Kenneth Jones, Regional District Manager, Alabama
I’ve loved Mardi Gras since childhood, when I rode on a kid’s float in the truck parade. It started in Shreveport and ended in Bossier City. It’s the only time I ever rode, but it’s probably one of my favorite Mardi Gras memories. – David Cadwallader, Regional Director of Operations, Lafayette-Lake Charles
PHOTO BY CHANNING CANDIES
JUST A SMALL TOWN (MARDI GRAS) GIRL By Ali Rouse Royster, 3rd Generation
I appreciate the spectacle of the opulent New Orleans Mardi Gras, but I rarely participate in it. I love seeing pictures of my friends decked out in ball gowns and glow-stick necklaces, or at parades in costume and glitter, but I’m more than content to just watch. Even when I lived in New Orleans for a hot minute as a college freshman, I went to a few of the nearby Uptown parades but that was it. Here I am 20 years later, and I’d still rather appreciate those magnificent parades and balls from afar. In my younger days, “big city” Mardi Gras to me meant Houma. But I love my small-town Thibodaux Mardi Gras. Our parades are held mostly on the two Sundays prior to Mardi Gras, and they’re daytime parades. In my post-college, prekid years, I had the best time watching our Thibodaux parades downtown. We’d go around 10am, sit on coolers, dance in the streets, bar-hop and mingle with the rest of town (this list sounds downright cuckoo in 2021, doesn’t it?), then go home to shower and sleep it all off around 7pm. I appreciate my small-town Mardi Gras even more now that there are little children to keep an eye on, to make sure they aren’t putting anything caught from a float into their mouths (gross!) or running into the street — unless we see a friend underneath a mask and then, yes, we can run into the street but just for a second to get a good throw and only in a grown-up’s grasp! (I can see why this gets confusing for the kids.) I also very much appreciate my brother building a house on the parade route, even though he doesn’t really like parades! I feel like he moved there just for his nieces and nephews to have a safe, clean place to potty — really, what’s more important than that?
and help her dad bring it to life — honestly, that was her older brother’s favorite part! Last year we had a parade with just our little fam-of-five, and my husband said it was his favorite parade of the season (like me, he can live without the big parades). My plan for 2021 is to do that driveway up right — along with our homemade float, we’ll have music, throws from the ghosts of Mardi Gras past — don’t you, like me, have a bag of Carnival stuff stashed somewhere? — and purple, green and gold clothes from the costume closet. We’ll head to Rouses to get some candy and moon pies to throw too. And obviously, we’ll get at least a few king cakes! They’re not only great dessert, they’re the breakfast of champions — a surefire way to get little butts moving and off to school. But this is only permissible during Mardi Gras season! A sliver of king cake, a banana and a big glass of milk is a balanced meal, right? It is in Southeast Louisiana. Last year, my oldest child asked if I made the king cakes at Rouses, and then asked if we could make one at home. He loves to discover how things work and how they’re made, which I love to foster, especially in the kitchen. So I looked up a kid-friendly recipe to try, but between parades and school parties we never got around to it. This year, we’ve got nothing but time, so I dug out my notes, and I’m both excited and nervous about making our very first king cake from scratch at home. (I will of course have a Rouses traditional king cake hidden in our pantry in case it is a disaster.) You just can’t have Mardi Gras without king cake!
Now we’re into preschool parades — a rite of passage for all four-year-olds on the bayou! My handy hubby is in charge of float design and construction; he built a great airplane float for our oldest once. I’m pretty sure Krewe of Pre-K might be on hiatus this year with the rest of the world, but we’re still planning to build a float and have a Krewe of Kiddos in our driveway. My current four-year-old can pick the design
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Ainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gone no more!
Peeled & Ready-to-Eat BBQ Shrimp Serves 4
COOKIN’ ON HWY 1
by Tim Acosta, Advertising & Marketing Director at Rouses Markets
You can get barbecued shrimp at many restaurants in New Orleans, but my wife and I love the barbecue shrimp served at Pascal’s Manale Uptown and Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter. Neither one tastes like shrimp with barbecue sauce, unless that barbecue sauce is mostly butter and Worcestershire. We like to re-create dishes we’ve enjoyed at restaurants at home, but I always tinker with them. Manale’s and Mr. B’s both use head-on shrimp. You can great fresh, headon, wild-caught Louisiana shrimp at any Rouses. We keep them stacked fresh on ice in our Seafood Department. But I de-headed, peeled and deveined them before cooking because — let’s be honest — peeled shrimp are a lot less messy to eat. To replace the fat and flavor in the heads and shells, I used some seafood stock. Our Rouses Italian Dressing added a nice flavor — it’s a nod to Manale’s dish, which is made with butter and olive oil (Mr. B’s just uses butter). And instead of making a spice mix, I just added some of our Down Home Seafood Boil Mix. I don’t mind handling shrimp, but you don’t have to. We have our own line of frozen Louisiana shrimp, in various counts; they’re de-headed and deveined and frozen straight off the boat to preserve their flavor. Let the unopened bag thaw overnight in the fridge or submerge it in a bowl of cold water for about 45 minutes, and you’ll be good to go.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2-3 pounds (16-20 count) wild-caught Louisiana shrimp, heads removed and reserved to make a simple stock (recipe below), peeled and deveined Salt, to taste Lemon pepper seasoning, to taste 2 tablespoons Rouses Down the Bayou Seafood Boil 1 large yellow onion, diced 8-ounce bottle Rouses Italian Dressing 5-6 dashes Worcestershire sauce ½ cup Cajun Power Garlic Sauce 2 teaspoons hot sauce 1 sprig fresh rosemary, stemmed Juice from 1 lemon 1 fresh lemon, sliced 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pats Rouses French Bread, cut into 6-inch pieces Large aluminum pan HOW TO PREP: Place reser ved shrimp heads in large pot and cover well with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil to make stock, and let continue to boil as you prepare rest of recipe. Place peeled shrimp in medium aluminum disposable pan. Season with salt and lemon pepper seasoning, and sprinkle with seafood boil. Add onion, Italian dressing, Worcestershire, Cajun Power Garlic Sauce, hot sauce, rosemar y and fresh lemon juice to pan. Toss to combine. Remove shrimp stock from heat. Let cool slightly, then strain into large clean bowl. Add ½ cup of the strained stock to pan with shrimp. Any additional stock may be frozen (once cooled) and saved for future use. Top shrimp with lemon slices and cold butter pats. Cook on gas grill over direct heat on medium for 30 minutes, or in an oven at 350°F. Ser ve with French bread for dipping. Or, place the cooked shrimp on French bread to make a po-boy. W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
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IKO, IKO By Alison Fensterstock It was in the late ’60s that Quint Davis first heard Theodore Emile “Bo” Dollis singing. Both men were in their early 20s. Davis, the future New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival producer, was a Tulane undergraduate with a voracious interest in New Orleans music and street culture; Dollis, just a couple of years older, was already Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians. According to Jason Berry’s New Orleans music history, Up from the Cradle of Jazz, it was the photographer Jules Cahn, who had been shooting second-line parades and jazz funerals since the ’50s, who invited young Davis to a White Eagles Indian practice at a small Central City lounge. Davis brought a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and as he later listened to the chants and clattering percussion he’d captured, he found himself drawn in again and again by one element in particular: Dollis’ raspy, powerful, soulful voice. He sought the young chief out again with a request: Dollis should write a new Indian song, something original, and they’d make a record.
PHOTO BY GOLDEN G. RICHARD III
Davis was also a fan of keyboardist Willie Tee, who’d had several R&B hits — notably “Teasin’ You” — in the mid-’60s. Davis booked Tee, who would soon form the seminal New Orleans funk band the Gaturs, to play a show alongside Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias on Tulane’s campus. Onstage, the traditional sound of Indian chants, drums and tambourines met electric soul music, likely for the first time. “It was probably the first time that Mardi Gras Indian music had been done outside the culture,” Davis told OffBeat magazine’s David Kunian in a 2011 interview. “And Willie created the whole thing right there. He got up on piano and started playing with them and he went in and out and way in and way out, and it just happened.” Dollis went and wrote that new Indian song, and Davis put together a band led by Willie Tee, which included Snooks Eaglin on guitar, Alfred “Uganda” Roberts on congas, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste on drums and a murderers’ row of New Orleans sidemen rounding it out. “Handa Wanda,” the first single by the Wild Magnolias, came out in
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1970. Its follow-up, the first full-length Mardi Gras Indian funk album — with drumming, backing vocals and beadwork for the cover art by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux — was released in 1974 on the Polydor label. The Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau rated it among his top albums of the year in the newspaper’s annual Pazz & Jop poll, calling it “the most boisterous recorded party I know.” The Wild Magnolias weren’t the only group marrying electric New Orleans funk to the city’s older traditions in the ’70s. Along with their uncle, piano player George Landry — also known as Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians founder Big Chief Jolly — the Neville Brothers participated in the recording of a masterful platter of Indian funk with The Wild Tchoupitoulas in 1976. Zigaboo Modeliste, who also played with Art Neville in the Meters, drummed on the Tchoupitoulas release as well. In the early ’70s, the success of the Wild Magnolias’ and Wild Tchoupitoulas’ funky amalgamations drew eyes and ears from around the world, sparking new documentary
interest in what had been a relatively secret, highly localized African-American tradition. Journalists, photographers and filmmakers began chasing the story behind the wild men and women in their elaborately beaded and feathered suits who took to the streets on Carnival Day, banging drums and shouting chants in a hybrid language. But the original roots of the largely unwritten tradition remain mysterious still, as Berry writes in Up from the Cradle of Jazz: “Where does it all begin?” he asks. “Written sources offer small assistance: no letters culled from dusty trunks. Timeworn memories, lodged in the minds of aging men, guide us down the path.” Some historians note that the plumed and beaded suits of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, or Black Indians, bear resemblance to costumes seen in the carnival celebrations of Latin America and the Caribbean, regions whose cultural influence is strong in New Orleans. Another long-held piece of the tale points to Native Americans who took in and sheltered enslaved Africans in Louisiana when they had escaped their captors. The particular language of the chants, familiar
phrases like those transcribed as “mighty cootie fiyo” and “two-way pocky way,” Berry writes, are a creole dialect with possible roots in some French, some Spanish and some Native American languages. The music, critic John Swenson wrote in OffBeat in 1988, is a “missing link” — a “new world fusion” of West African roots and early American jazz, blues, gospel and parade shuffles. The first tribe of Mardi Gras Indians who masked as we recognize the phenomenon today appears to be the Creole Wild West, which was active in the 6th Ward by the 1880s; in his book, Berry cites a memoir written by a New Orleanian named Elise Kirsch, who remembers “a band of men disguised as Indians … shouting and screaming war whoops” and running down St. Bernard Avenue on Mardi Gras Day 1883. Although the screaming, costumed men were an intimidating sight, Kirsch wrote, she always looked forward to seeing them. Jelly Roll Morton, in his extensive 1938 Library of Congress recording sessions with the famous folklorist Alan Lomax, recalled
watching the Indians take to the streets in his youth at the turn of the 20th century, claiming that, in fact, he had masked as a spy boy — the Indian who scouts ahead, looking for other tribes on the move — himself. In 1956, field recorder Samuel Charters caught the first live tape of Mardi Gras Indians out in the streets on Fat Tuesday morning, consisting of raw call-and-response chants over the syncopated rhythm of handheld drums and tambourines. By that time, musicians in New Orleans had already transposed Indian words and melodies onto popular music forms. In 1953, guitarist Danny Barker selfreleased four sides of Indian-inspired rhythm and blues material, including a song he titled “Chocko Mo Feendo Hey.” The same year, Sugar Boy Crawford recorded his own version of the song, “Jock-A-Mo,” for Chess Records. And close to a decade later, a trio of teenage girls called the Dixie Cups waxed a tune inspired by the same chant, using a name we’re more familiar with today — “Iko Iko.”
brought the sound of the New Orleans streets at Carnival time all around the world, just as the Wild Magnolias and the Wild Tchoupitoulas did in the early ’70s. In post-millennial New Orleans, funk and rock bands — from Galactic to Cha Wa to the current version of the Wild Magnolias, which Bo Dollis’ son Bo Jr. inherited after his father’s death in early 2015 — continue to interpret and borrow from those unique Indian chants and polyrhythms. And over the years at Jazz Fest, founded the same year that Dollis and Quint Davis first released “Handa Wanda,” fans from all over the world can see those acts onstage — or just the tribes in all their glory, roaming the Fair Grounds on schedule. But there might be no better way to hear Indian songs than the way they’ve been delivered for at least a hundred years and change: out in the streets, on Mardi Gras Day.
The song “Iko Iko,” covered by Cyndi Lauper, the Grateful Dead and others,
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THE KREWE THAT GREW By David W. Brown It started with $60, a box of cookies and a desire to do something.
Mardi Gras had come and gone in New Orleans, and Annelies De Wulf, an ER doctor at University Medical Center, arrived home with grim news. COVID, she said to her husband, Devin, had arrived in New Orleans. Thus for them began a bleak ritual, with Annelies returning home each day and describing for Devin the cases, the strain, the fear. What she and her colleagues were dealing with was the hardest thing healthcare workers had ever encountered. No one at the time knew much about COVID, but they knew enough to know they were risking their lives. Worse, they knew they could go into work, get unknowingly infected, and bring it home to infect their families too. On March 15, however, Annelies’ daily debrief started a little differently. “A nurse brought cookies,” she said, “and it was awesome.” Devin De Wulf is the founder of the Krewe of Red Beans, a social group that marches every Lundi Gras, its members dressed in suits bedazzled in beans. The krewe also hosts an annual charity event called Bean Madness — a play on the “March Madness” name of the NCAA college basketball tournament — which involves a block party, food and celebration. With COVID-19 seemingly ubiquitous and New Orleans now known to be a Carnival-fueled hot spot, the krewe canceled its festivities. Devin, still in touch with the event’s restaurateurs, however, had an idea. “I understood what the shutdown would do to restaurants, and I knew very quickly that these are mom-and-pop businesses really important to the identity of New Orleans,” he says. He realized he could help two groups at once, and Feed the Front Line was born. He emailed his krewe. “Hospital workers are on the front lines, protecting us from a new, largely unknown and scary global pandemic,” he wrote. “Here’s one small thing we as a krewe can do: Raising money to buy food treats for hospital workers.” They would help everyone from physicians to security guards. “I know 100% they would appreciate the love right now…so…let’s buy them all a cookie! Or a brownie! Or something delicious — which will also support one of our local restaurants in this time of need!” The krewe loved the idea. Devin used $60 previously set to be spent at Tropicália Kitchen, a caterer for the now-scrubbed Bean Madness, and asked them to prepare something different from what was originally planned. He requested 60 brigadeiros, a Brazilian dessert evocative of chocolate
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truffles or bonbons. It would be enough to treat a shift’s worth of workers at his wife’s hospital. Tropicália Kitchen was glad to help, and Annelies brought the goodies to work the next day. They were an instant hit. The Krewe of Red Beans, scrappy and grassroots, beat its drum on social media and, between that and word-of-mouth, Feed the Front Line built momentum. Donations started streaming in. Eleven hundred dollars on the first day. Five hundred on the second and $1,668 on the third. Devin realized immediately that he had to make a decision about how to spend that money. Restaurants, he figured, would do better if he spent as much money as possible as quickly as possible, which would, in turn, feed as many hospital workers as possible during some pretty dark days. But it was more than a matter of buying treats and racing them to hospitals: Because of COVID’s high level of contagiousness, doctors didn’t want people to just show up, regardless of intention. So Devin worked with Annelies to figure out how Feed the Front Line could make its deliveries safely, and at the best times possible for day and night shifts, without disrupting care or risking becoming a vector of transmission. The details determined, he opened his Rolodex and started dialing. “I’ve got all these restaurant contacts, and I told them: ‘I don’t care what you make but make it delicious. They need the best meals ever right now,’” he says. The program, born of a virus, itself went viral. Within a week, krewe members who worked at Children’s Hospital and Tulane Medical Center asked if Feed the Front Line could feed their clinics, too. The answer was yes — and it snowballed from there. People from across the city reached out and asked for other hospitals to be added. Devin received an email early on that underscored just how important the program was becoming for the community: “She said her dad had died at Ochsner Medical Center West Bank, and she said the staff did a great job. She was grateful that they had tried so hard, done so much, and asked if we could send food so we can say thank you to them. And it was like…we are creating love. We are helping the grieving process.” He received an email from the wife of a doctor at one hospital. She said that morale was cratering, and could they help? “Absolutely,” Devin replied. “We’re going to hook that hospital up. Give me two hours and I will have dinner for them, and every single day we will send them food.” All of the Ochsner locations were added, EMS workers, every emergency room in the city and every intensive care unit. The money
was doing double duty, improving the spirits of healthcare workers and also saving local restaurants, which had fallen into dire straits due to the quarantine and stay at home orders. The program took on a life of its own, growing until Feed the Front Line was literally feeding every single hospital in New Orleans twice a day, every day, for six weeks. For donors as well, the money was helping. “Everybody was stuck at home and scared, and you felt powerless,” Devin says. “This was something that people could do. And the community started to rally behind it. We were this little group from the neighborhood. We aren’t wealthy or have a ton of money, but we were getting stuff done, and people were rooting for us.” At its peak, the program spent $30,000 per day, feeding 2,200 hospital workers twice a day (once for the day shift and once for the night). By the end of the program, it had delivered 90,000 meals, 10,000 cookies and coffees, and supported 49 local businesses. Devin wanted to help as many culinary
establishments as possible. “We asked restaurant owners the bare minimum they needed to survive,” he said, “because if we could hit that target with one, we could help somebody else, too.” Ultimately, Feed the Front Line raised and spent $1.2 million over six weeks. Doctors, dining and donors benefitted, and Devin found a way to add one more group to the list: musicians. When you run a successful Mardi Gras krewe, you know local musicians. Like restaurant workers, everyone in live entertainment was hurting, so the program hired musicians to deliver the food. “They had just lost French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest. From my parade organizing, I knew a lot of musicians, and I texted them.” Musicians were each assigned to specific hospitals to learn the processes for safe delivery and to build relationships there. The program built a network of 35 musicians who delivered food, and they took the job deeply seriously, Devin says, never missing a single delivery. It was for them an inspiring job: In the middle of a terrible pandemic, they were making a difference and also getting paid.
At left, bean piece created by Red Bean Krewe member Cate Swan as a thank you to New Orleans medical workers; at right, Babydoll Honey of Le Bon Ton poses while filming an FTSL promotional piece in Rouses Markers (photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee)
The program ended once donor fatigue set in. Devin is particularly proud that every penny of the $1.2 million is accounted for. “We spent zero dollars on the administration of this effort. It was all volunteer. I will forever be proud that every dollar that was given to us was spent in a way that was impactful to the community.” Feed the Front Line was only the beginning. Devin soon started plans for something bigger, that would help even more people and help preserve the culture of New Orleans during unprecedented times. Feed the Second Line was born. Devin De Wulf grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. In high school, he read Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, by Jon Lee Anderson, and it set him on a path to W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
study Latin American history at the College of Charleston. He came from a family of lawyers, and the idea was to go to Brazil and learn Portuguese, and to Mexico to learn Spanish, and on the other side of his degree, he could enroll in law school and become an immigration lawyer. He studied abroad “like a fiend,” he says, and would take extra courses each semester to maximize the time he could spend in other countries. He developed a deep appreciation for other cultures and peoples, and he would eventually spend a year as an exchange student at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil. It changed his life.
“Not being able to communicate is an interesting process, because you lose your personality,” he says. You can’t make jokes or do even the simplest things, and only over time, with great effort, can you slowly rebuild yourself and your abilities. “It’s a really good 16
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experience that every young person should go through. If you can’t communicate, you are forced to be uncomfortable and go through that tough learning process.” Devin was ever in possession of a dictionary and notepaper, listened intently to Brazilian music and watched local television, and over time he learned not only the language but also the culture, from food to music. “I learned more in that year than in all of college. That was my education.” While there, he also encountered beans for the first time. They aren’t a South Carolina staple, but in Brazil, they’re served twice a day, every day. In the university cafeteria, they served rice and beans with a protein like chicken on the side. On Sundays, he would eat feijoada (a black bean dish made in large batches and served at home or at bars, where everyone watched football) with everyone else. Beans were a culinary
revelation for him, and his new favorite food. Not long before his residency in Brazil ended, he watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. When he returned to the United States, he decided to volunteer in New Orleans as a photographer. He would take photographs for nonprofit organizations, and give them the prints for use in fundraising, marketing and archiving. “I was here for a week with a couple of friends who came too, and we were idiots exploring a city we knew nothing about,” he says. He was struck by the New Orleanian sense of resilience. In the terrible aftermath of the flood, the people, he noticed, didn’t complain. That feeling of coming back from the brink created a sense of civic pride unlike anything he had ever experienced before, and he saw vividly that the people of New
Orleans chose to come back, chose to fight for their community. On his second day in the city, he stumbled onto John Boutté singing in a church. He ate a shrimp po’boy from a corner store. He sat on lawn chairs someone had put out along Bayou St. John. The combination of those things brought home to him that certain specialness of New Orleans, and his love of culture and people found a home in the U.S. During his final year of college, every time a break came up (Spring, Thanksgiving, Christmas) he would drive 13 hours crosscountry to the city. When he graduated, no ties held him to Charleston, so he packed his belongings and drove the 13 hours — this time one-way. He moved into an Uptown apartment and got to work building a new life. He found work as a teaching assistant. The job played to all his strengths: He was fluent in Spanish, artistic, and in possession of a boundless love for the community. (As for his plans of becoming a lawyer: While still in college, he was scheduled to take a practice LSAT, the exam necessary to get into law school. It was the most beautiful day, he thought, walking into the building, 80 degrees and sunny, and when he arrived in the classroom where the test was being administered, he looked around the room and thought, “I am clearly not going to hang out with these people the rest of my life.” Five minutes into the exam, he handed in his test and went to the beach. That dream died on the spot.) His first fall in New Orleans, he was sitting at Pal’s Lounge in Mid-City brainstorming what his Halloween costume should be. He thought about the things that made New Orleans special, and he arrived at the New Orleans tradition of red beans and rice on Mondays. When the Saints played on Monday nights, that tradition, paired with (a different kind of) football, evoked memories of his time in Brazil. He had an epiphany: He would make a suit of red beans and rice.
Concurrently, he was still doing volunteer photography in the city, and a family who was part of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe invited him to their house, a place in Gentilly, for Mardi Gras. He arrived the day before, on Lundi Gras, and spent 24 hours documenting their night of final preparations. “I was a fly on the wall. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, watching months of work being pulled together.”
Back he went to his little apartment Uptown, and he holed up in his room with a hot glue gun, a sack of red beans and an old suit. You start hot-gluing red beans and rice to your clothing, and there is only one option: total commitment. He guessed it might take an hour, maybe. (He grossly underestimated the task.) But by Halloween, he had done the unusual, and his jacket and pants were now entirely and elaborately made of red beans and rice.
The Mardi Gras Indians are celebrated, among other things, for their ornate suits of beads, feathers and sequins that can cost thousands of dollars to design, and take nearly a year to make. For Devin, that night and the next day were mesmerizing. “I saw how if you put so much of your heart and soul into a suit, it becomes who you are. It can be transformative. When I saw the Big Chief put his crown on, it was like witnessing a religious moment.” Again, just as he did in Brazil, Mexico and across Latin America, he saw with clarity how the culture of a place is shaped by its people.
“I walked around Frenchman Street, and people freaked out,” he recalls. “People were taking my picture like paparazzi! And I thought there was clearly something to this.”
Inspired by the Mardi Gras Indian tradition and the style of the second line and brass bands, he decided to start a parade. He made a PowerPoint presentation
The Krewe of Red Beans attracts 15,000 spectators and includes 350 members. To help manage the crowds, they’ve started three separate and simultaneous parades. (Photos by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee)
and everything. He invited the friends he had made during his teaching certification program to join him. He proposed the creation of the Krewe of Red Beans. They would march on Lundi Gras — the traditional day for red beans and rice — and they would wear suits decorated in beans, as he had done for Halloween. Twenty-five people were in, and every Sunday, they gathered in Devin’s little apartment, hot glue and beans all around. The night before Lundi Gras 2009, they had a little celebration. Musician and local legend Al “Carnival Time” Johnson even turned up at the festivities. The next day, they marched. At two in the afternoon, sharp, they met on the corner of Port and Royal streets. They had no permit, no spectators and no idea what they were doing. But Benny Jones of the Treme Brass Band joined them, and for the rest of the day, W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
they walked, 25 people in bean suits, with a shopping cart carrying a keg of beer. Hours later they were exhausted but jubilant. “We weren’t trying to be a thing,” says Devin. “We were trying to have a fun time.” They were definitely going to do it again. And they did. Again and again and again. Two on the dot every Lundi Gras afternoon. Eleven years later, the Krewe of Red Beans attracts 15,000 spectators and includes 350 members. To help manage the crowds, they’ve started three separate and simultaneous parades. “We stay true to the philosophy of a small neighborhood walking parade.” They were in their 20s when they started, and are now all in their 30s, with children. The second generation walks in the parades now, too. “It’s kid-friendly. We are all about the neighborhoods and celebrating beans and the carnival.” While running Feed the Front Line, Devin began to worry about Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Benny Jones. Both are in the high-risk categories for COVID-19, meaning a trip to the grocery store could be fatal. Krewe members volunteered to groceryshop on behalf of the music icons, but the city
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of New Orleans is filled with such cultural figures. In the past, every loss of someone like musician Allen Toussaint or chef Leah Chase was devastating; now, here was this virus that was specifically targeting some of the aging legends who make New Orleans what it is. Devin wondered if he could take everything he learned while building a million-dollar philanthropic effort in a matter of weeks, his experience building a huge operation like the Krewe of Red Beans from scratch, and his understanding of local culture, and build something long-term to help the culture bearers of New Orleans. “We have to protect the culture that we have,” he says. “Culture is built by people. If a Big Chief dies, they are irreplaceable.” How many walking cultural treasures do we have in the city, he wondered. What if half of them died? What would New Orleans do? Moreover, those artists were among the hardest hit economically in the pandemic’s wake. Mardi Gras was canceled. Most music venues were closed. Already, many of the city’s most notable cultural figures were from impoverished neighborhoods. Run out of money, and power and water could be
cut off, but you can’t cut out food. Groceries were an inescapable expense. Thus was born Feed the Second Line, a nonprofit effort to bring fresh groceries and meals to the elder cultural figures of New Orleans. In practice, the program involves a social worker checking in on vulnerable culture bearers and getting a feel for how things are going. The artist is given a penciland-paper shopping list of about 80 items. (The generation most in need is not the savviest with technology; low-tech is best in this case.) What food could you use for the next month or two? A freezer, fridge and pantry could be stocked for around $200 to $400. With the shopping list in tow, volunteers could do the shopping and bring the groceries back. Feed the Second Line is also a job creator. Like Feed the Front Line, Feed the Second Line employs younger local musicians to do the grocery shopping and delivery for the elder, more vulnerable musicians and artists of the community. Rouses Markets partnered right away with Feed the Second Line to make the program a success. For Rouses, local is everything. The company provided a credit line for the nascent effort, allowing it to do
all the shopping it needed to feed the men and women responsible for the city’s cultural identity, and to do so in a way that would be respectful and grassroots, coming from the community itself. “Grocery shopping is great because it is sustainable. You can scale up or down depending on donations,” Devin explains. Presently, the program is able to feed about nine people per day. To maximize the time available, volunteers have mapped the inside of Rouses and know the most efficient routes to get every item on grocery lists. Already, the program is helping around 75 culture bearers. There’s something in it for the donating public, too. You go to a Mardi Gras parade, and you might get a picture of — or if you’re lucky, a picture with — a Mardi Gras Indian. But there’s never before been a way to give back. Feed the Second Line is that way, and people can sign up at feedthesecondline.org to donate monthly. The average monthly donation is $22. “The only way this program is possible is if people become monthly donors,” says Devin. “It doesn’t matter how much. A dollar or five or 10 or 100. Anything. It’s a way of saying, ‘Thank you for being you. Your creation of culture has enriched all our lives.’”
With the public’s backing, Devin plans to help as many Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Club members, artists and musicians in the city as possible. His record of achievement and devotion to New Orleans says that if anyone can do it, he can. Which isn’t bad for someone whose whole destiny was determined over red beans and rice. “Over the course of all this,” he says, “I met my wife when she joined the krewe, and that’s why I have all this, have my children. That moment sitting in Pal’s Lounge and deciding to make a bean suit was the most important moment in my life.” Clockwise from left: Feed the Second Line’s motto, Love Your City (beadwork by Duane Cruse of the Wild Magnolias); Mr. Victor Harris, Big Chief of the FiYiYi Spirit of the Mandingo Warriors; Cagney Goodly filming an FTSL promotional piece in Rouses Markets; Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, Grand Marshal for the Krewe of Red Beans (photos by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee)
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PLAY ME SOMETHING, MISTER By Jason Berry The music that pours out of clubs, parties and bandstands during Carnival season revolves around a constellation of classic, well-worn hits that get people out of the chairs, onto their feet, shaking it up. The popularity of these core songs touches the heart of people across the Gulf South who put a premium on a life lived to the fullest. “Mardi Gras Mambo,” “Go to the Mardi Gras,” “Carnival Time,” “Big Chief,” “Do Whatcha Wanna” and “Hey Pocky A-Way” — the latter from The Wild Tchoupitoulas — blast out of radio stations. The songs were recorded decades ago — old songs that don’t seem old, they ripple out with a renewable energy across generations, summoning memories — or spawning new ones — for a season that thrives on dancing. First on the turntable, the granddaddy of them all: “Mardi Gras Mambo,” recorded by the Hawketts back in 1954, 66 years ago. The loping horns lay out a melodic line, followed by a loud “Uhhhh!” Then comes the honeyed baritone of 16-year-old Art Neville, who wasn’t old enough then to legally buy booze. Down in New Orleans Where the blues was born It takes a cool cat to blow a horn On LaSalle and Rampart Street The combo’s there with a mambo beat The Mardi Gras mambo, mambo, mambo … Down in New Orleans. The corner of LaSalle and Rampart, in Central City, was long a hub of Black Carnival that drew Indians and brass bands as people meandered down to St. Charles Avenue in time for the Zulu parade. “The combo’s there with a mambo beat” adds intrigue. The song was actually recorded a year earlier by country artist Jodie Levens on the Sapphire label. Lou Welsh, the label owner, and Ken Elliot, a radio DJ who steered him to Chess Records for the Hawketts’ reissue, share credits with Frankie Adams of the original band. Rhythm and blues historian Jeff Hannusch opines that Adams probably wrote the song, and who are we to doubt? The lyrics underwent a major change when Neville and the Hawketts got to work, providing rocket fuel. Mambo was a Cuban music form, African drumming married to big band arrangements with hot horns that made even people in tuxedos and gowns shake it up. The Caribbean influence on New Orleans rhythm and blues had its greatest expression in Professor Longhair, who kicked the base of the piano like a drummer riding his pedal, his attack on the keys a meld of barrelhouse boogie with a sizzling
Professor Longhair, photograph by Michael P. Smith © The Historic New Orleans Collection. Michael P. Smith, who died in 2008, documented the music, culture and folklife of New Orleans. He photographed every New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival from its beginning in 1970 until his retirement in 2004.
“mixture of mambo, rhumba and calypso” as Fess himself (Henry R. Byrd) once said. Longhair’s classic, “Go to the Mardi Gras,” was released in 1959 with a weave of horns and rocking drums as a cushion to those magic undulations of his fingers on the ivories. The wonderful whistling he does before singing gives an ethereal quality to a tune that captures a locomotive movement in the rhythm, like a train rushing down the tracks. It’s the song of a guy heading in for Carnival. Fess originally recorded a version of it called “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” in 1949 with first-person lyrics: Well I’m goin’ to New Orleans, I’ve got my ticket in my hands… When I get to New Orleans, I wanna see the Zulu King Way down in New Orleans Down on Rampart and Dumaine… Gonna make it my standing place Until I see the Zulu Queen. Rampart and Dumaine (across from today’s Louis Armstrong Park) was a 1950s main spot to watch the Zulu parade. On that corner, also, stood J & M Recording Studio, where the venerable Cosimo Matassa recorded Fess and a legion of R&B all-stars — Allen Toussaint, the Nevilles, Mac Rebennack before he became Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Barbara George, Ernie K-Doe, Benny Spellman — how long is the list? Fess’s magic lay in his transfusion of the rhythms of feet on the street into a piano style that sounded like people parading. We turn now to 1960, and “Carnival Time,” sung by 20-year-old Al Johnson in a joyous high octane with three saxophones roaring out of the box: The Green Room is smokin’ And the Plaza’s burnin’ down Throw my baby out the window And let the joint burn down, All because it’s Carnival time Whoa, it’s Carnival time … And everybody’s havin’ fun. “Claiborne used to be our street for Carnival,” recalls Johnson, now a sprightly 81, riding the clouds of local celebrity. “Carnival is fun time. I remember we used to walk from our house in the Lower Ninth Ward to St. Claude Avenue, and go across the bridge — they didn’t have a Claiborne bridge at the time. We partied all down Claiborne. The joints were jamming, packed, like I call ’em in the song. The ‘baby’ is your girlfriend.” “Big Chief (Part 2)” was a doubleheader as a comeback song for Professor Longhair in 1964, and a paean to the Mardi Gras Indians. Written by guitarist Earl King with a bouncing second-line beat, the lyrics offer a freeze-frame of the urban tribes: My flag boy, he just went by, My spy boy, he’s full of fire. My whole tribe is havin’ fun, We gonna dance ’til mornin’ come. Carnival music took a major turn in 1976 when the Neville Brothers — Art on keyboard, Cyril on congas, Aaron on vocals and Charles on tenor sax — came together behind their uncle, George Landry, better known as Big Chief Jolly of an Uptown Mardi Gras tribe. Their album The Wild Tchoupitoulas included the Meters’ rhythm section of Leo W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
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Nocentelli on guitar, George Porter Jr. on bass and Joe Modeliste on drums. With Jolly’s bravura vocals, backed by Wild Tchoupitoulas members, the eight songs set a standard that Indian groups have been riffing on ever since. Art’s vocals on “Hey Pocky A-Way” use an old Indian chant as chorus for these song lines that became a classic: Little bitty boy, with a heart of steel You can’t boogie now but your sister sure will Feel good music, I’ve been told Good for your body and it’s good for your soul Gonna do it now… Hey, hey, hey, hey Hey, pocky a-way Then, the image of a little boy with a heart of steel segues nicely into child-becomes-man:
section-riffing horns and Kermit Ruffins’ lyrics — “Do whatcha wanna, Mardi Gras morning” — lays out a verbal groove that, in one of those ironies of the music, slows down the tempo of Mardi Gras. If you’re jumping up and down to Al Johnson’s pipes on “Carnival Time,” the Rebirth message on “Do Whatcha Wanna” is hey, let’s amble, enjoy the walking, costumes, drinking, cooking, eating, and all that comes with the suspension of time on Carnival day.
Top left: Neville Brothers and Wild Tchoupitoulas; top right: Rebirth Brass Band; bottom from left: Professor Longhair; The Meters; (photographs by Michael P. Smith © The Historic New Orleans Collection)
Big chief Keep on grooving Keep on getting By the 1990s, brass bands began adapting Carnival songs for marching arrangements in parades. Even melodies from The Wild Tchoupitoulas were fashioned by big bands for high-end Mardi Gras balls. Rebirth Brass Band, founded by tuba player Phil Frazier and his brother, bass drummer Keith Frazier, in 1983, scored a big one in 1991 with “Do Watcha Wanna.” The easy-rolling circular rhythm with W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 2 3
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MIGHTY COOTY FIYO! By Alison Fensterstock, photos by Erika Goldring When the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians Big Chief Joseph Pierre “Monk” Boudreaux comes out of his front door Fat Tuesday morning to sing “Indian Red,” he’s singing history — the city’s, the culture’s and his own. The prime anthem of New Orleans’ Black masking Indians has been part of his personal soundscape since before he can remember. “I must have been about 12 when I decided to mask,” he said over the phone just a few days before his 79th birthday. “I went to the chief’s house every Sunday for practice, when Indian practice was hidden, in the chief’s yard at his house.” He’d heard the song his whole life — his father Raymond was also a masking Indian, with the Wild Squatoulas gang — “but I didn’t know what the meaning was,” he said. That first Big Chief, of the White Eagles Mardi Gras Indians, was also initiating him into a storied and mysterious tradition. “They teach you things that people wouldn’t know,” he said. “You have to be an Indian to understand what they’re saying.” The first recording of “Indian Red” is likely the one author and musician Danny Barker made for King Zulu Records — styled “My Indian Red” in Barker’s version — shortly after World War II. But documentation of the song being sung ceremonially, to open or close Indian practice or before setting out in the streets on Carnival morning, goes back much further. Also known as the “Indian Prayer,” it has a weightier and more formal tone than most of the propulsive, rattling chants that accompany Indians on the move. Somber and sacred-sounding, its proud chorus — “Won’t bow down” — induces shivers. Indian culture is rooted in Black New Orleanians’ pride and independence. The custom of sewing and parading in brightly feathered Indian suits, riotously colorful and intricately beaded with scenes and symbols that tell stories of things that hold meaning for the wearer, dates back over a hundred years or more. The Native American aesthetics of the suits are a nod of tribute to the Indigenous people who aided African Americans who managed to escape their captors during slavery. And the Indian tradition is still very much an expression of freedom — the freedom to take over the streets with loud songs, primal beats and gorgeous colors, bearing a torch for something singularly New Orleans.
Monk Boudreaux, who was honored as a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow in 2016, has brought that culture all over the world. In the ’70s, he famously collaborated with the late Big Chief Bo Dollis in the Wild Magnolias, the first band to build its sound around Indian chants and traditional Indian handheld drums, cowbell and tambourine shot through with the gritty, electric funk that was becoming the city’s new musical signature; the sound has reverberated through the generations, influencing acts from Dr. John to the Grammynominated Cha Wa, a next-generation Indian funk group whose members include Boudreaux’s son and nephew. He’s performed around the world and on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with his own Golden Eagles and as a member of the Voice of the Wetlands AllStars, as well as alongside acts like Galactic, Anders Osborne and Papa Mali. Boudreaux was also a focus of the award-winning 2010 documentary film Bury the Hatchet, which followed three Mardi Gras Indian Big Chiefs as they worked to rebuild their lives and their culture in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Big Chief Monk is an icon and an ambassador for New Orleans and Mardi Gras Indian culture. Over more than five decades, he’s represented his city and his tradition around the world. But probably no stage is more important than the front steps of his own Uptown home as dawn breaks on Carnival Day, when he walks out into the holiday and sings “Indian Red,” as generations have before and, he hopes, will continue to do. “It’s not just masking,” he said. “It’s who you are. It’s a spirit within that automatically comes out.” It’s like a prayer.
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Wildman Charlie Martin of the Golden Eagles on Mardi Gras March 5, 2019, in New Orleans, LA.
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It was just after Hurricane Katrina that photographer Erika Goldring struck up a friendship with Monk Boudreaux. She’d returned to the city to cover the music scene, and the Golden Eagles Big Chief was in and out of town as his flooded home was being repaired. Goldring had moved to town in the early ’90s to be with her then-husband, whose family knew the Nevilles — whose uncle, of course, had been Big Chief Jolly of the Wild Tchoupitoulas. She dove into the culture of the Mardi Gras Indians, which turned out to mesh perfectly with her new vocation. “I started taking photography classes at night, and by the late ’90s I had taken all the beginner’s classes, so I quit my job to take the advanced ones, and it eventually became a career,” she said. Both Erika and Monk were frequently called on to speak to the press about the community’s recovery — and in her case, to document it. One Mardi Gras morning, as Chief Monk was posing for a portrait, he saw his new friend and asked her to walk with him and his family. Goldring is now one of the most prominent local shooters of live music, with her images of festivals and concerts turning up regularly in national publications. But one of her favorite subjects is still the Big Chief; she’s documented his kids, grandchildren and even great-grandkids. Today, her photos are part of a mural honoring him at their new neighborhood Rouses Uptown. “He invited me out that Mardi Gras morning after Katrina,” she said, “and I’ve done it every year since.” - ALISON FENSTERSTOCK
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Naquan Pleasant, grandson of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 5, 2019, in New Orleans, LA
Suit detail of Second Chief Joseph Boudreaux, son of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians on Mardi Gras, February 25, 2020, in New Orleans, LA; Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, second from right, outside his home with his grandchildren on Mardi Gras, March 5, 2019, in New Orleans, LA. Grandchildren (L-R): Nigel Pleasant, Naquan Pleasant and NatchĂŠ Pleasant; Nigel Pleasant of the Golden Eagles meets another tribe at Second and Dryades streets, a popular meeting place of the Uptown Indian tribes on Mardi Gras, March 5, 2019, in New Orleans, LA
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COURIR DE MARDI GRAS by Sarah Baird, photos by Denny Culbert Unless you’re tossing out beads from high atop a float, or marching with a hip-shaking dance troupe, it’s safe to say that Mardi Gras in most cities is, well, a pretty passive time.
Sure, we all holler and jump (and maybe throw a few elbows) at the chance to get our paws on a MoonPie, but after the heat of the moment has passed? We’re mostly back to just ogling the beauty of the procession and debating who has the best king cake in town. Parade watching is, by its very nature, mostly a spectator sport. In rural communities across Acadiana, though, a different kind of Mardi Gras reigns. The Courir de Mardi Gras (loosely translated, “running of the Mardi Gras”) is a high-spirited, heart-racing procession that requires a lot of enthusiasm and a decent helping of athleticism. This is not for the meek or uncoordinated; the courir requires full and complete audience participation. And, yes, you’re probably going to have to run — in costume. The courir is a tradition that can trace its winding lineage back to the shores of France, and involves going house to house asking for “charity” (read: foodstuffs) on the day before Ash Wednesday. In Cajun country, asking for these edible gifts morphed quickly into the ritual of “begging” for the ingredients to make a gumbo (think: chickens, sausage, rice, onions), which would then be cooked up later in the afternoon. Each year, after a sunrise wake-up and an all-day march down country roads on the hunt for fixings, runners would gather around the pot for a fortifying and justly rewarding meal based on the alms they’d been given for their hard day’s work (and party). Today, the roux for the gumbo is already usually bubbling by the time the runners take off (and there’s plenty more chicken and sausage than that which runners gather), but the loose cast of courir characters has remained the same. There are the runners (also called the Mardi Gras — that’s the bulk of folks), who grovel and whine and belly crawl towards preordained stops at houses along the route, pleading for the makings of a gumbo with a cry of, “Pardon! Pardon!” There’s the capitaine, who — along with a small band of old-line revelers — oversees wrangling the (occasionally, ahem, inebriated) runners and keeping the jovial lot in a state of controlled chaos throughout the day. Often mounted on horseback (and the only person allowed to be unmasked), the capitaine commands massive amounts of respect. Step out of line — or pull a wildly dingbat move like trying to remove your mask — and the capitaine will sic les villains on you. Traditionally dressed like fiendish members of the Queen of Hearts’ court
(think: red, black and scary all over), they’re law enforcement for the day. Villains aren’t afraid to wield their power, whether by the bark of, “Tighten it up, Mardi Gras!” or a light flogging with a traditional burlap whip. (All in good fun, of course.) Specific traditions shape-shift from town to town, and can involve a host of additional events revolving around the nucleus of the courir. A larger swath of communities proceed on foot and horse throughout the day, skipping and singing all the while. Others make use of wagons to haul merrymakers between neighbors’ homes. Many now combine the two methods of transportation for maximum jollity. After all, what’s better than a truck full of fiddle players rolling along beside you while you’re dancing towards the next stop? There are post-courir concerts and boucheries and street parties galore. There are runs specifically for children, like the Enfant Courir de Mardi Gras in Church Point; runs specifically for men (per the antiquated tradition) and those for women; but — most commonly — the courir is waiting with open arms for any and all community members ready to share in a good time. At the mist-shrouded crack of dawn during my first courir a few years ago, I realized I had arrived to this hamlet just outside of Eunice woefully underprepared. Not because I wasn’t wildly ready to chase after live chickens and crack open an early morning beer (I was!), but because my costuming left a lot to be desired. I kind of felt like I was wearing sweatpants to a cocktail party; one glance around at the elaborate, glorious outfits of my fellow runners and my own attempt at masking seemed downright sheepish. The traditional dress code for a courir carries with it a strict set of guidelines. A tall, conical hat resembling a dunce cap and known as a capuchon is key, as is covering your pants, shirt or overalls in rows upon rows of patchwork fringe, rounding out a decidedly bucolic, quasi-jester look. Being anonymous is necessary at courir, so masks — typically oversized and made of wire mesh with a clown-like face glued or painted on — are a must. (Runners must stay masked — no exceptions.) Today, though, the level of complexity and detail added to the (handmade, of course) costumes is downright awe-inspiring. There are masks shaped like ferocious bears, capuchons made from fast food themed fabric, and glamorous, jewel-dappled masks worthy of the Met Gala — even a man dressed head to toe like a swamp thing from the bayou. My sparse fringe and haphazard, ZorroW W W. R O U S E S . C O M
like mask made me thankful no one could identify me. As we prepared for the run, repurposed school buses, flatbed trailers and other hauling devices of questionable sturdiness all awaited the bounty of musicians — fiddle players and guitarists and accordionists — who would provide a live soundtrack for the day as we journeyed along the road. A lack of music and dancing definitely isn’t a problem at the courir, where everyone — and I mean everyone — quickly gets swept up in reels and high kicks in the middle of the street. People dance solo if they don’t have a partner, and I quickly went from spinning like a top on my own to being twirled furiously by a man masked like a frog. (Insert your own Prince Charming joke here.) Throughout the day, I joined my fellow runners with the kind of wild-eyed enthusiasm that can only be fueled by a potent concoction of adrenaline, competitiveness and a few nips from someone’s flask. I was initiated as a first-timer, and sang “La Vieille Chanson de Mardi Gras” in a calland-response with the capitaine at the top of my lungs. I chased after the live chickens offered to us as “charity” at neighbors’ homes, collapsing in a dogpile with my fellow Mardi Gras runners. At one stop, I narrowly missed becoming the lucky runner
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to capture the chicken and deliver it to the capitaine. Later, we watched a ten-year-old scale a greased pole to unlock a guinea hen caged at the top while we paused to snack on a little mid-run boudin. The sense of comradery at courir is palpable; it isn’t just a time for a little bit of liquor-fueled revelry and flipping your identity topsy-turvy for the day. It’s a twostepping, fiddle-playing, beer-swilling love letter to the rich history of Acadiana and the communities that ensure that these traditions will be honored for generations to come. A place where the land, music and food are plaited together in a braid so tight it would be impossible to pull out a single strand without it all unraveling. A place where sharing and togetherness are paramount to not just Mardi Gras, but day-to-day life. As “La Danse de Mardi Gras,” a classic of the Cajun-French canon, instructs: Captain, Captain, wave your flag… Let’s go to the next neighbor To ask for charity, you all come and join us You all come and join us for the gumbo tonight!
WE GONNA DO THAT BAYOU THING By Alison Fensterstock When Horace Trahan wrote “That Butt Thing” more than 20 years ago, he didn’t quite expect it to have the lifespan it does. “It’s just a party song, you know,” he laughed. As it turns out, some parties can last a really long time. The musician has been performing live since age 16, booking his first professional gig only six months after beginning to study the accordion. Almost immediately after graduating Carencro High School, Trahan joined the band of legendary Cajun musician D.L. Menard and got a whirlwind real-life education as a performing artist, traveling the world backing up the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow, who passed away in 2017. Leading his own group, the Ossun Express, Trahan began
recording for the venerable Southwest Louisiana label Swallow Records in his early 20s, and over the years, he’s demonstrated himself to be a thoughtful, versatile writer and performer. He pays tribute to traditional standards in Louisiana French and in English, and in his original compositions, he doesn’t shy away from tough topics like politics and spirituality. But his most popular tune remains that rollicking ode to the rear, a Carnival season must-play out in Cajun country that echoes from parade floats and jukeboxes alike. On YouTube, a search for “That Butt Thing” brings up at least half a dozen instructional videos on how to dance to it. “You just never know how long something’s going to last when you put it out,” he said. He’s still tickled by the longevity of the tune, which almost didn’t even make it to recording. “It was just a joke that wasn’t gonna be on the record,” he told New Orleans magazine in 2017. A friend convinced the band to keep it, and the rest was history; in what you might call hindsight, it was a good call indeed. During a normal Carnival season, Trahan said, his band would have gigs every day of the long Mardi Gras weekend, with fans clamoring to hear “That Butt Thing” and shake their own on the dance floor to the whomping two-step. Due to the pandemic, this year’s holiday is going to look a little
different. “It’s okay, though,” he said. “I can stay home and play my accordion, and not get sick.” Fans, of course, will probably also be doing that butt thing at home this Mardi Gras Day — after all, it takes more than a virus to stop the Louisiana party spirit.
I don’t like golf I don’t like swimmin’ I just like chasin’ Dem big butt women We goin’ do that butt thang Kinda like that nookie thang We goin’ do that butt thang We gonna make that butt swing (Musical Interlude) I don’t like golf I don’t like swimmin’ I just like chasin’ Dem big butt women We goin’ do that butt thang Kinda like that nookie thang We goin’ do that butt thang We gonna make that butt swing
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REACH FOR THE MOON By David W. Brown Before this article was about Moon Pies (spoiler: This article is about Moon Pies), it was about people who use mayonnaise to make red beans and rice. Dear reader, my editor has previously asked me to write about ranch dressing on pizza (an abomination) and about okra (slimy at best, and similar to what it would be like to eat a live caterpillar). But using mayonnaise to make red beans and rice? That’s like 2020 in culinary form, and I had to draw a line. So she came back with the idea of discussing Moon Pies instead, thinking I would have harsh opinions of them. (I bleed for you in Microsoft Word, and this is how she treats me.) But how wrong she was! Reader, I love them.
Moon Pies (or “MoonPies,” as the Chattanooga Bakery styles the name) are elegant in their simplicity: marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate. (You might recognize that trio as s’mores, and yet somehow the two treats taste nothing alike.) The snack was born in 1917 when Earl Mitchell, a traveling salesman for Chattanooga Bakery, met a Kentucky coal miner and asked him what sort of snack he might like when hewing ore from the earth. Something “as big as the moon,” said the miner, something filling, and Mitchell returned to the bakery and told them to get to work on something scrumptious and supersized, worthy of a working man’s lunch pail. The Moon Pie was born, and it was an instant hit. The snack reached new heights during World War II, when it crossed paths with service members from every corner of America. After the war, soldiers returned home with a newfound love of Moon Pies, and a Southern tradition became a national one. Baby Boomers were practically raised on the stuff. And the Moon Pie hasn’t looked back since. As for my own love of them, it was accidental. It’s not the sort of thing I would ordinarily reach for, but I’ve spent the last
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seven years writing a book about a quirky team of NASA scientists. That has meant reporting from countless conferences across the country. What clever treats do space scientists fill bowls with at reception tables? Starburst, Milky Way, and — you guessed it — Moon Pies. This is to say I’ve eaten roughly 8,000 Moon Pies in recent years (I mean, you can’t say no to a free Moon Pie) and I’ve put a lot of thought into what it is I love so much about them. The chocolate is subtle, balancing the sweetness of the marshmallow. The graham cracker zigs where you’d expect it to zag. Rather than being crispy or crunchy, it yields to the bite — but is not chewy, exactly. It has a hint of firmness — a suggestion, really — just enough to match the outer chocolate layer, and it, too, brings balance to the texture of the soft marshmallow. (Maybe I’ve spent too much time thinking about this.) Moon Pies manage to avoid the overt and overpowering sweetness of Easter candies. This is a confection to take seriously. As fun as it is to eat, though, Moon Pie is even more fun to read. It has become something of a celebrity brand on Twitter, laying the smackdown on anyone who dares question the obvious greatness of the snack. Just ask Kaela Thompson, a Twitter user who taunted Moon Pie (I do not know the source of her anger), saying: “They should call you MoonBye because nobody likes you.” Responded Moon Pie: “They should call you Kayla because that’s how it’s supposed to be spelled.”
That sort of sass is one reason why the South has so gleefully adopted the snack aisle wonder. It has connected generations for more than a century, and inspired annual festivals, songs and competitive eating competitions. (I have finally found my sport.) In Alabama, the New Year is rung in not by a weird glowing ball in Times Square, but by a 12-foot Moon Pie in Mobile. Moon Pies, moreover, have become a staple Mardi Gras throw across the Gulf Coast. Indeed, since 1984, the Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie has held annual parades in Slidell, Louisiana. (In 2018, the eccentric krewe abandoned Mardi Gras altogether, opting first to celebrate the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and subsequently relocating on the calendar to the Saturday before Halloween). It was founded, according to its website, by two artists and their husbands, because they were all sick of having to drive to New Orleans to take part in arts parades. Today the krewe is known for its carts overflowing with over 50,000 Moon Pies, all thrown to grateful parade-goers. The krewe promotes the city’s thriving art scene. There’s just something wholesome about all of it: the parades, the parties, the pies. Though they come in different flavors — banana and vanilla and such — for me, only the original will do. Anything else is like…well, it’s like mayonnaise in red beans and rice. As for that crowd of freaks, drop me an email if mayo is part of your unholy recipe. I need to know: 1. If you are OK, and 2. If there’s something to your idea. I can be persuaded but you’d better bring your A-game. As astronomer Carl Sagan used to say, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
MANY MOONS AGO…
The chocolate is subtle, balancing the sweetness of the marshmallow. The graham cracker zigs where you’d expect it to zag. Rather than being crispy or crunchy, it yields to the bite — but is not chewy, exactly. It has a hint of firmness — a suggestion, really — just enough to match the outer chocolate layer, and it, too, brings balance to the texture of the soft marshmallow.
THE MISSION David W. Brown began contributing to Rouses magazine in 2018. He has produced a masterful, genre-defying narrative about modern space exploration, centered on the most ambitious science project ever conceived: NASA’s deepspace mission to Europa — the ocean moon of Jupiter, where the first known alien life in our solar system might swim. In the spirit of John McPhee and Tom Wolfe, The Mission follows a motley yet brilliant team of obsessives and eccentrics who are pushing the furthest frontiers of human exploration. The book comes out January 26, 2021. You can get it at your local independent bookseller or order it from Amazon.
MARDI GRAS TIME IN THE M.O.B.
Somehow, Carnival (whether in Mobile, New Orleans, Cajun country or wherever revelry can be found on Fat Tuesday) manages to put its stamp on every genre of music to emerge from the Gulf Coast. “Mardi Gras Song” by Wesley and Whitney Grant — twin brothers who together are the Mobile-based rap duo 2 Major Twinz — is a familiar and beloved part of Mobile’s Carnival soundtrack. Its rattling
hi-hat, booming brass and celebratory lyrics (“Moon pie, moon pie, throw me some beads/It’s Mardi Gras time in the MOB!”) make it a dependable spin for live DJs who want to hype up crowds before parades. Mobile’s main hip-hop and R&B station, 93BLX-FM, drops it into heavy rotation during the party season. - ALISON FENSTERSTOCK
Before Moon Pies came on the Carnival scene in Mobile, early Mardi Gras throws (dating back to the 1800s) were typically French bonbons or trick prizes, like small bags of flour that burst when caught. These were eventually banned, and throws did not play much of a role in the celebration again until after World War II, when they became an increasingly integral part of Mardi Gras parades. In the 1940s and 1950s, taffy candy and serpentine (rolls of unraveling confetti) were the most common throws, and it was considered a feat to catch a whole roll of serpentine. “Throw me a whole roll, Mister!” became a common parade shout heard on the route. In the late 1950s, city officials banned serpentine, claiming that people choked on it, but some Mobilians insist the serpentine actually choked the gutters — not the people — and thus was a chore for the city to clean up. To replace the serpentine, float riders began throwing new items like rubber balls, beanbags, candy kisses, doubloons (coins bearing mystic society insignia), bags of peanuts, bubblegum, hard candies, Cracker Jack and, of course, Moon Pies. But it wasn’t until the early 1970s that Moon Pies assumed their prominence as the throw of Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration; that’s when the city of Mobile banned Cracker Jack (the thenfavorite Mardi Gras throw) because the sharp corners of the boxes were injuring spectators. Since they were soft, easy to throw and catch, and affordable — and had been a Southern favorite for decades — Moon Pies became the perfect substitute for the hard boxes of Cracker Jack. Embraced by the maskers on the floats for their economical value and by the spectators for their uniqueness, Moon Pies are still the most popular throw at Mobile’s Mardi Gras. - EMILY BLEJWAS W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 3 5
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RECIPE PHOTOS BY ROMNEY CARUSO
41 Hwy 1 Ribs 42 Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Mississippi Mardi Slaw 43 Chicken & Sausage Gumbo Rouses Gumbo Dinner Mix Mardi Gras Potato Salad 44 Down the Bayou Crawfish Boil 45 Carnival Chili 47 White Beans Red Beans Collard Greens 48 Big Batch Jambalaya Rouses Jambalaya Dinner Mix 49 Chicken Big Mamou 50 Beignets Breakfast Casserole 53 Moon Pie Cake King Cake Bread Pudding Mardi Gras Milk Punch
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Hwy 1 Ribs You never want to put honey or sauce on ribs until the last hour of cooking, because it will burn and get bitter if you put it on too soon. — Tim Acosta, Rouses Advertising & Marketing Director WHAT YOU WILL NEED: FOR THE RIBS 2 (or more) racks of St. Louis-style ribs Dry rub (recipe below) ½ cup yellow mustard ²⁄₃ cup apple juice ½ cup honey Barbecue sauce of your choice FOR THE RUB 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons paprika powder 2 tablespoons salt 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon black pepper 2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 teaspoon Colman’s dry mustard HOW TO PREP: Soak a handful of applewood, hickory or pecan chunks in water. Remove the ribs from the package and rinse under cold water. Pat dry or set on paper towels to dry. Remove the membranes on the hollow side of the ribs by inserting a thin knife or other sharp object between the membrane and the rib. Scrape the membrane off the bone, grab it with a paper towel and pull it off by hand. Repeat with the remaining ribs. Mix together all ingredients for the rub. Coat the ribs with the yellow mustard to create a sticky base for the rub. Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with the rub and rub it in a bit, making sure you have full coverage. Place in fridge for a couple hours or overnight. Set up your smoker for cooking with indirect heat at about 225°F and add the soaked wood chunks. (If your smoker has a drip pan, use it.) Once the smoker is ready, place the ribs bone side down on the smoker grate. Smoke the ribs for 3 hours, unwrapped. Remove the ribs from the smoker and place the first rack on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and pour ¹⁄₃ cup of apple juice over it. Wrap up the ribs well. Repeat with the remaining rack. Put the packages of ribs side by side on the smoker. Close the lid and leave the ribs to cook for 2 hours. Take the foil-wrapped rib packages from the smoker and carefully remove the foil. Top the meaty side of the ribs generously with honey. Place the ribs with the flesh side up on the smoker, close the lid and leave to cook for 1 hour, opening every 20 minutes to add more honey. Take the ribs out of the smoker, and slather them with barbecue sauce before serving.
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HOW TO PREP: In small bowl, combine paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to make a spice rub. Thoroughly coat pork shoulder with spice rub. Place meat in the slow cooker. Add chicken broth, cover with lid, and cook on low until pork is pullapart tender, 8 to 10 hours. Using 2 large spoons, carefully transfer meat to rimmed baking sheet or cutting board. Use a large knife to cut it into two pieces. Set aside to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, insert two forks into first piece of meat and pull in opposite directions. You want to get long, thin shreds. Discard excess fat. Repeat with other piece of meat. While meat is cooling, pour cooking liquid through strainer into medium saucepan. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, 30 to 40 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, ketchup, and brown sugar, and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in liquid smoke. Pour half of the sauce over the meat, reserving remaining sauce to serve alongside the sandwiches. Toss to combine, and let stand until meat has absorbed most of the sauce, around 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with white bread, coleslaw and pickle chips for sandwiches.
Mississippi Mardi Slaw Serves 8 The secret to our slaw is that it uses sour cream and mayonnaise. It makes a great topping for pulled pork sandwiches.
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Serves 8-10 We went with a sweet and smoky, slightly tangy homemade sauce that’s thick and sticky, but you can use any bottled sauce. You will need a 6-quart slow cooker for this recipe. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: FOR THE SPICE RUB 4 tablespoons paprika 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 2 teaspoons salt
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FOR THE PORK 1 boneless pork shoulder, 5 to 6 pounds 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth FOR THE SAUCE 1 cup apple cider vinegar ¾ cup ketchup 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1½ teaspoons liquid smoke Salt and pepper, to taste FOR SERVING Soft white bread or hamburger buns Coleslaw (recipe below) Pickle chips
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1/2 medium head purple cabbage ½ medium head green cabbage 2 carrots, peeled and shredded ½ small white onion, shredded 2 teaspoons salt ½ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup sour cream 1 tablespoon white vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar ¼ teaspoon pepper HOW TO PREP: Cut the cabbage into quarters, then trim away and discard the solid core. Separate the cabbage into small stacks of leaves that flatten when pressed. Cut each stack of cabbage leaves into ¼-inch strips. Toss cabbage, carrots, onion and salt in colander set over a bowl. Let stand until wilted, about 1 hour. Rinse cabbage mixture under cold water, then drain and dry well with kitchen towel. Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar and pepper in large bowl. Stir in cabbage mixture and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes. Serve with pulled pork.
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo Serves 10-12 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 cups canola oil 2 cups all-purpose flour 3 cloves garlic, minced 3 stalks celery, diced 1 small green bell pepper, diced 1 small red bell pepper, diced 2 medium yellow onions, diced Salt, to taste 2½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning 4 quarts chicken stock 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs 2 bone-in chicken breasts 1 pound andouille sausage, halved and sliced into ¼-inch rounds 2 teaspoons gumbo filé powder 1 bunch parsley, chopped, for garnish Cooked white rice, for serving HOW TO PREP: Heat canola oil in 8-quart Dutch oven until it begins to shimmer. Gradually stir in the flour. Reduce heat to medium-low to make roux. Cook, stirring constantly, until roux is chocolate in color, about 35-40 minutes. Add garlic, celery, green and red bell peppers, and onion; cook, stirring constantly and scraping the pan bottom well, until vegetables are soft, 1012 minutes. Add salt, black pepper and Creole seasoning. Add stock, stirring vigorously, until the roux and the stock combine. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Add chicken and andouille, stirring well to incorporate. Cook until chicken is falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly; pull meat apart with a fork, discarding skin and bones, and return to pot. Stir in filé powder; cook 15 minutes. Add chopped parsley at the very end. Serve with rice or potato salad.
Rouses Gumbo Dinner Mix Serves 4-6 Chef Nino’s quick and simple version of Gumbo made with our down-home mix. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 pound Rouses Rotisserie Chicken, shredded 1 pound Rouses Smoked Sausage, thinly sliced 1 box Rouses Gumbo Dinner Mix 8 ounces Rouses Fresh Dressing Mix, or frozen okra 2 quarts water 4 cups cooked rice HOW TO PREP: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
Combine gumbo mix and dressing mix with the water, stirring until well-blended. Add chicken and sausage, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Serve over rice.
Mardi Gras Potato Salad Serves 8 This colorful vinaigrette-tossed potato salad is lighter than a traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad — and more flavorful. We dressed the potatoes while they were still hot so that they absorbed some of the dressing. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 pound small red bliss or purple potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar 8 cups water 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste ¹⁄₃ cup extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives 3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon 2 tablespoons capers, drained and minced HOW TO PREP: Combine potatoes, vinegar, 8 cups water, and 2 tablespoons of the salt in a large heavybottomed pot or Dutch oven, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook at a strong simmer until potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and zest, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in extra-virgin olive oil until emulsified. Stir in onion, parsley, chives, tarragon, and capers; set aside. Drain potatoes thoroughly, then transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the dressing over hot potatoes and toss gently until evenly coated. Let potatoes cool, about 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooling. Taste before seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Down the Bayou Crawfish Boil A Rouse Family Recipe Our seafood boil mix is a happy blend of seasonings, including mustard seed, coriander seed, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, dill seed and allspice. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 sack (about 35-40 pounds) live Louisiana crawfish 1 4Â˝-pound container Rouses Down the Bayou Seafood Boil Mix 1 8-ounce bottle Zatarainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil 1 32-ounce bottle hot sauce 1 bag small red potatoes (about 3 pounds) 3 pounds yellow onions, halved 6 lemons, halved 4 heads garlic, halved 1 bunch celery, cut into large pieces 2 whole artichokes, cleaned, untrimmed 1 package (about 10 ounces) whole white button mushrooms 1 pound Rouses Smoked Sausage, cut in chunks 8 frozen mini ears corn on the cob 2 large bags ice 80-quart boiling pot with slotted basket HOW TO PREP: Open the sack of crawfish and pour them into a large washtub. Add enough water to cover the crawfish and allow them to move around a bit. With a gloved hand, pick through the crawfish and remove dead crawfish, baits, sticks, grass and any other foreign objects. Wearing gloves, transfer the crawfish into slotted basket by hand. Dump the water from the galvanized tub, refill with crawfish and add fresh water to cover. Repeat the earlier check for debris. Keep crawfish in a shaded area while preparing for the boil. Place the basket in pot and fill pot halfway with water. Place the lid on the pot and set propane burner on high. Bring water to a boil. Add all of the seasonings and vegetables except the corn and place the lid back on the pot. When the pot begins to steam, set a timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove lid. Add the crawfish and stir with a cooking paddle. Add the corn on top. Place the lid on the pot. Once water is boiling again, cook for 5 minutes. Shut off the propane flame. Stir with a cooking paddle. Add ice to help the crawfish absorb the seasoning and to stop the crawfish from continuing to cook. Let soak for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to release heat from the pot. Pull the basket out of the water, let drain and toss crawfish onto newspaper-covered table or seafood trays.
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Carnival Chili Serves 8 There really is no right way to make a batch of chili. With beans or without, with tomatoes or without, a base of beef, pork, even chicken — I think the way you make your chili mostly depends on where you’re from. In Texas, where I have cousins (and the place where most food historians agree, chili likely originated), they don’t use beans or tomatoes. True Texas Chili, aka “A Bowl of Red,” is a thick and hearty beef stew made with fiery red chiles. The Texas legislature made A Bowl of Red the state dish back in 1977. In Kansas City, they make a bean chili with barbecued brisket (and sometimes, pork); in New Mexico, they use pork shoulder and tomatillos. But I’m from Louisiana, so I’m a kitchen sink cook. I put everything in my gumbo — and my chili. — Rob Barrilleaux, Designer, Rouses Marketing WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 pound ground turkey 1 pound 85% lean ground beef 1 pound green onion pork sausage, removed from casing 3 stalks celery, diced 2 large onions, diced 1 large bell pepper, diced 1 (10-ounce) can diced Ro-Tel Original Tomatoes and Green Chilies 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 (15- to 16-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles 1 (12-ounce) amber beer 1 tablespoon brown sugar ½ cup cola ½ cup chili powder ¼ cup powdered cumin ¹⁄₈ cup paprika Pinch of cayenne (optional) 2 cups beef broth Salt and pepper, to taste FOR SERVING Shredded Kraft Cheddar Cheese Sour cream Sliced avocado Saltine crackers or corn chips Lime, cut into wedges
HOW TO PREP: In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, brown turkey, beef and sausage. Add celery, onions and bell pepper, and sauté until tender. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil, stirring often. Cover pot, lower to a simmer and cook for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve hot with cheese, sour cream and avocado for garnish and with corn chips or saltine crackers and lime wedges on the side.
Spanish Town — the largest Mardi Gras parade in Baton Rouge — started 39 years ago as a sort of improvised neighborhood art project and grew from there. The community’s richness and vibrancy made the parade’s success inevitable. The Spanish Town district is perhaps the loveliest illustration this side of the French Quarter of how diverse cultures can intersect and then elevate a place and its people. The mantra of its thoroughly pink-flamingoed community: “Bad taste is better than no taste at all.” In retrospect, the creation of a parade seems like the perfect and obvious offshoot of this unique neighborhood. - DAVID W. BROWN
At the Spanish Town parade each year, there are more plastic pink flamingos on floats, throws and costumes than there are living flamingos in the wild.
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White Beans Serves 12 If you like thick and smooth white beans, use Navy beans, which get creamy when cooked. If you want a bean that will better hold its shape and texture, use Great Northern. Though slightly larger, Great Northerns cook more quickly than Navy beans, so adjust cooking time accordingly. Serve with white rice or spooned over jambalaya. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 pounds Navy or Great Northern beans, rinsed and sorted (soaked overnight) 2 tablespoons bacon grease, like Hot Belly 1 pound Rouses Smoked Sausage, sliced in ¼-inch rounds 1 large green onion 1 yellow onion, chopped 2 large stalks celery, chopped 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 bay leaves 1 pound tasso, salt meat or pickled pork Salt and black pepper, to taste Cooked rice Hot sauce or vinegar, for serving HOW TO PREP: Soak beans overnight in a bowl. Drain, rinse and sort them before cooking. Warm a heavy-bottomed 12-quart pot over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add bacon grease and heat for 30 seconds. Add sausage and cook, turning as needed until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Trim and discard the root end and very top of the green onion. Chop the remaining part of the onion, separating into two piles. Add green onion tops, yellow onion, celery, garlic and bay leaf; stir to combine. Add beans and pork meat, and cover with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the beans are tender, scraping the bottom of the pot, about 2 hours. Turn off heat. Remove and discard bay leaves. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with green onion bottoms. Serve beans over rice or jambalaya.
Red Beans Serves 12 No, you don’t have to soak your beans overnight, but they will take longer to cook if you don’t. We recommend soaking beans the traditional way: Cover dry beans with 10 cups fresh water and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Let soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2-pound bag dried red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted (soaked overnight) ¼ pound bacon, roughly chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil 1 medium yellow onion, diced 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 large celery stalk, diced 1 green onion, white and green parts separated 2 bay leaves 1 large ham hock 2 quarts chicken stock 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter 1 tablespoon salt Hot cooked rice Hot sauce or vinegar, for serving HOW TO PREP: Warm a heavy-bottomed 12-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and oil, and cook until fat drippings are rendered, around 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and green onion bottoms, and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add bay leaves.
no longer appears in bottom of bowl. Remove collard greens from water and set aside. Put the bacon in a large Dutch oven over high heat to render its grease. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add water, ham hocks, garlic, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes and vinegar, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add collard greens and stir until collard greens wilt slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until collard greens are very tender, about 2 hours. Do a taste test. If the greens taste bitter, add a little more white sugar. Remove turkey wing and transfer them to a cutting board; let cool for 10 minutes. Remove meat from turkey wing, chop, and return to pot; discard skin and bones. Season collard greens with salt to taste. Serve with hot sauce.
Drain, rinse and sort soaked red beans; add beans and ham hock to pot. Pour in chicken stock, covering beans. Increase heat to high, and bring mixture to a rolling boil for 10 minutes, skimming off and discarding foam from surface while the beans boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until beans are tender, 3 to 4 hours. Turn off heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove ham hock and transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Stir in butter and salt. Remove meat from ham hocks and chop it, then return it to pot. Serve beans over rice. Garnish with green onion tops and serve with hot sauce or vinegar on the side.
Collard Greens Serves 6-8 Don’t drain the pot when you’re done simmering the greens. The savory, brothy water fortified with pork is known as “potlikker” (or pot liquor), and is the best part of the dish. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 pounds collard greens 6 strips of bacon, diced 1 onion, chopped 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock 2 (12-ounce) smoked turkey wing 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 2¼ teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon distilled white or apple cider vinegar Hot sauce, for serving HOW TO PREP: Trim collard stems to base of leaves; discard trimmings. Cut leaves into roughly 2-inch pieces. (You can roll them into “cigars” to speed this process up.) Place collard greens in large bowl and cover with stock. Swish with your hand to remove grit. Repeat with fresh water, as needed, until grit
PURPLE, GREENS & GOLD
Cooking times, like flavors, vary between different types of leafy greens. Collard greens, which are thick, with very large, tough leaves, will take the longest. They are also the most bitter, so you may want to use less vinegar and more sugar (pro tip: blanching the leaves in salt water will help them cook faster). Mustard greens are smaller and thinner and more tender than collards, so they require less cooking time, as do turnip greens, which are also smaller and more tender than collards. WHATCHA FIXIN’?
You need salt, acid and fat — typically some kind of smoked pork — to take the bitterness out of greens. Fat also adds flavor to beans. Ham hocks, marrow-rich bones cured with salt and then smoked, will add a bacon-y flavor to greens and beans. Ham-like tasso (pronounced “TAH-so”) will add a smoky, spicy flavor. Pickled pork, also known as pickle meat, adds a tangy, vinegary flavor, which we love. Salt meat is simply salt cured pork cut from the front leg or shoulder. If you’re using salt meat, wait to salt and season beans and greens until after tasting them, because salt meat releases a lot of salt and flavor when cooked. An alternative to pork is a smoked turkey wing. W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 4 7
Big Batch Jambalaya Serves 30 Making big batch jambalaya for Mardi Gras at home is not as easy as just doubling or tripling your recipe. You have to take into account a variety of things, including the size of your pot (as the pot gets bigger, the ratio of liquid to rice gets smaller). WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ½ cup Rouses Vegetable Oil 3 pounds boneless pork, cubed 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed 3 pounds Rouses Smoked Sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices 2 pounds Rouses fresh Green Onion Sausage, removed from casing 6 (32-ounce) containers Rouses Fresh Cuts Seasoning Mix 2 tablespoons chopped garlic 3 quarts chicken stock 3 quarts beef stock 3 (10-ounce) cans original Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chiles 2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet 2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, to taste 12 cups instant rice, uncooked HOW TO PREP: In a 40-quart cast-iron jambalaya pot, heat vegetable oil. Season and brown all meats separately, starting with the pork, then chicken and the sliced smoked sausage. Remove each meat from pot as it is finished browning and set aside. Remove excess oil from pot. Add the Rouses Fresh Cuts Seasoning Mix, fresh green onion sausage and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes, then return pork, chicken and smoked sausage to pot. Add the chicken and beef stock, Ro-Tel Tomatoes, Kitchen Bouquet, Liquid Smoke and Creole Seasoning. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes. Add instant rice and stir until rice is completely covered with liquid. Cover pot and turn off heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove cover, fluff rice and serve.
Rouses Jambalaya Dinner Mix Serves 6-8 Chef Nino’s dresses up our Jambalaya Dinner Mix with chicken, but you can use sausage or shrimp, or a combination of meat and seafood. Adding tomato — and including shrimp — makes this a Creole “red” jambalaya. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 Rouses Rotisserie Chicken, deboned and shredded 1 tablespoon Rouses Olive Oil 1 box Rouses Jambalaya Dinner Mix 2½ cups water 1 tablespoon butter 2-4 tablespoons tomato sauce (optional) HOW TO PREP: Heat olive oil in a 2-quart pot over medium-high heat. When olive oil starts to shimmer, add chicken and contents of jambalaya dinner mix, water and butter to the pot. (Optional: Add tomato sauce.) Stir until well-blended. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2030 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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Chicken Big Mamou Serves 4 Paul Prudhomme’s recipe for Chicken Big Mamou was included in his first cookbook, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. The sauce has some of the same flavors as a Creole tomato sauce, but without the Worcestershire. It’s simmered for a really long time, which helps the tomatoes develop that deep, rich flavor. The onions and bell pepper are chopped very small, almost minced, so that after they simmer, they almost dissolve into the sauce. Chef Paul used diced chicken, but we think thinly sliced chicken also makes a pretty presentation. MORNINGS IN MAMOU WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 large garlic cloves, peeled 1 cup very finely chopped onions ¾ cup very finely chopped bell peppers 1 bay leaf 3 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Poultry Magic® 1½ teaspoons minced garlic ¾ teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne) ¼ pound (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 cups tomato sauce 2 cups chicken stock ¾ cup finely chopped green onions ¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves 1½ pounds chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces (or thinly sliced) Hot cooked rice (preferably converted), pasta or egg noodles
HOW TO PREP: Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat until hot. Add the garlic cloves and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes; remove garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. In the same oil, sauté the onions over high heat until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons of the Poultry Magic®, the minced garlic and red pepper; stir well. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the tomato sauce, stirring well. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1½ cups of the stock; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer 40 minutes, stirring fairly often. Add the remaining ½ cup of stock; simmer and stir until sauce reduces to 2¾ cups, about 30 minutes more. Remove from heat and, if not being used immediately, allow to cool and refrigerate. Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons Poultry Magic®, and stir well. Add the green onions, parsley and chicken; sauté about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the reserved sauce and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Discard bay leaf and serve immediately over rice, pasta or egg noodles.
On the Saturday preceding the Courir de Mardi Gras years ago, I found myself winding through an early-morning street party towards the sound of an accordion ringing out bright and tinny from a tiny nearby bar. But this kind of pre-noon merriment isn’t just a Carnival-specific happening. Every Saturday for over 65 years, Fred’s has opened its doors at 7 a.m. for a morning full of tunes, hobblestepping and beers, broadcast live on local radio station KVPI-FM from nearby Ville Platte. A pinprick of a town with no more than 3,500 residents, Mamou has become a touchstone for all things fiddle-and-accordion, and a destination point for visitors from around the globe. After all, it isn’t called the “Cajun Music Capital of the World” for nothing. Cajun music traditionally orbits around a triptych of fiddle, accordion and triangle, with lyrics warbled in Cajun French or, occasionally, their English translation. Themes of lost love, family and — of course — celebration are often the heartbeat of traditional ballads, and they have the unique ability to make even the deepest cynic get misty-eyed (or a complete klutz try out the floor at a dance hall). As master accordion maker and Cajun music expert Marc Savoy writes, “[Cajun music] is a people’s music that expresses … an entire cultural history. It exposes the culture’s heart and soul. It makes no difference if the songs are in a language that the rest of the world can’t understand. What they do understand and connect with is the rhythm of life this music possesses.” Stumbling out of Fred’s that day, squinting and blinking in the harsh light of the sun, the band played on as I wandered into the crowd of revelers, singing along quietly to myself: Mardi Gras, what do you bring with you? We bring only a bottle. Oh my dear, oh my dear. We bring only a bottle. And the bottle is drunk … - SARAH BAIRD W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 4 9
Beignets Makes about 2 dozen beignets Even if you don’t have the Café du Monde mix, you can still make beignets from scratch. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 cup water 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 tablespoon instant or fast-rising yeast 3 cups all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 2 quarts canola oil Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar HOW TO PREP: Activate the yeast: Heat water to 110°F. Combine hot water, 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and yeast in large bowl, and let sit until the yeast dissolves and foams, about 5 minutes. Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and salt in second bowl. Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons of the oil into yeast mixture. Add flour mixture and stir vigorously with rubber spatula until dough comes together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Line second sheet with parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. When the dough has rested, turn out half of it on well-floured surface and pat into rough rectangle with floured hands, flipping to coat with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll dough into ¼-inchthick rectangle, roughly 9"x12". Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 (3-inch) squares and transfer to floured sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Add enough of remaining oil to large Dutch oven to measure about 1½ inches deep, and heat over medium-high heat to 350°F. Place 6 beignets in oil and spoon oil over the top of each of them. Fry until a consistent golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping beignets over halfway through frying. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325°F and 350°F. Using slotted spoon or spider, transfer beignets to prepared wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Return oil to 350°F and repeat with remaining beignets.
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Dust beignets with confectioners’ sugar, or place them in a paper bag, a few at a time, with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar, and shake for a few seconds to coat. Serve hot.
Breakfast Casserole Serves 8 to 10 This casserole has everything that’s great about breakfast — and you can make it ahead of time, so it’s perfect for Mardi Gras morning. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 (14-inch) French bread, ends trimmed 1 pound fresh green onion pork sausage, casings removed 2 green onions, finely chopped ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped 3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese 12 large eggs, lightly beaten 4 cups whole milk 2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce 1½ teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper Bacon, feta cheese and chopped green onions for garnish HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lowermiddle positions and heat oven to 400°F. Slice bread in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise into ½-inch-thick pieces. Spread bread in single layers on 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping bread and switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through. Let cool 15 minutes. Cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Grease 9"x13" casserole dish. Shingle half of the slices of bread in the casserole dish so that edges overlap slightly. Top with half of sausage mixture and 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, remaining sausage mixture and remaining cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt and pepper in large bowl. Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole, pressing it into the bread as you go. (You want the bread to be really wet.) Cover casserole with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 1 day. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Let casserole stand at room temperature while oven is heating. Bake uncovered until the edges and center have puffed, cheese is bubbling and top is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Garnish with bacon, feta cheese and chopped green onions and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Moon Pie Cake
King Cake Bread Pudding
Makes 1 cake
Serves 8-10 We can’t imagine having leftovers of our traditional king cake, but just in case, here’s how you can turn dry king cake into a fabulously gooey, purple, green and gold bread pudding.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: FOR THE CAKE 1 box white cake mix, like Betty Crocker’s Super Moist White Cake Mix Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box FOR THE MARSHMALLOW FROSTING 1 (7-ounce) jar Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallow Creme 1 cup butter, softened ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1-2 tablespoons whole milk 2¼ cups powdered sugar FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMBS 1-2 graham crackers, crumbled FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon light corn syrup ½ teaspoon vanilla extract HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F at least 15 minutes before you plan to use it. Grease two shiny metal 9-inch round cake pans with butter, shortening or nonstick cooking spray. Make cake batter as directed on box. Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake as directed on box for 9-inch round pans. (Cakes are done when a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.) Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes; remove from pans to wire cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cakes can be stored loosely covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 10 cups dry traditional, iced king cake, cut into ¾-inch chunks 1 cup granulated sugar 9 large egg yolks 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1 tablespoon cinnamon ¾ teaspoon salt 2½ cups heavy cream 2½ cups whole milk 2 tablespoons butter, melted Purple, green and gold sugar, for decorating Sweetened condensed milk or vanilla ice cream, for serving HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions, and preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish with butter, shortening or nonstick cooking spray.
until soggy, about 30 minutes, pressing king cake occasionally into custard so that cake chunks absorb more liquid. Spread 2 cups reserved king cake chunks evenly over top of soaked mixture and gently press to flatten into the custard. Using pastry brush, dab melted butter over top of unsoaked king cake pieces. Place bread pudding on rimmed baking sheet and bake on middle rack until custard has just set and is not easily jiggled when shaken, about 50 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool until pudding is set and just warm (not piping hot), about 45 minutes. Cut the bread pudding into squares and decorate with purple, green and gold sugar. Serve with sweetened condensed milk or vanilla ice cream.
Mardi Gras Milk Punch Makes 1 gallon WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ½ gallon whole milk 2 pints melted Blue Bell vanilla ice cream (place in refrigerator overnight to melt) 16 ounces Buffalo Trace Bourbon ¼ cup simple syrup (recipe below) 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Spread king cake chunks in single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until dry but not browned, about 15 minutes, switching trays from top to bottom racks halfway through. Cool king cake chunks about 15 minutes; set aside 2 cups.
HOW TO PREP: Combine milk, ice cream, bourbon, simple syrup and nutmeg in an empty gallon container. Shake until well mixed. Place in freezer until slightly slushy.
Whisk sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon and salt together in large bowl. In a slow thin stream, whisk in cream, then milk, until combined. Fold in 8 cups cooled king cake chunks. Transfer mixture to the greased 9"x13" baking dish and let stand
SIMPLE SYRUP: In a medium saucepan combine ¼ cup raw sugar and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
In large bowl, beat marshmallow creme, softened butter, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in powdered sugar until fluffy. If necessary, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time, until thin enough to spread. Set one cake on a cake stand. Working quickly, spread about 21/2 cups marshmallow frosting over one cake round with an offset spatula. Top with second cake round and spread remaining marshmallow frosting on top and sides of cake. Lightly coat sides of cake with graham cracker crumbs. Refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes to set. In a double boiler over hot but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla. Spread warm chocolate glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.
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LIVE ART READABLE TEXT RESTRICTION
LIVE ART READABLE TEXT RESTRICTION
Sara Lee® Artesano™ the original artisan-style sliced bread gives you a new potato variety to love.
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L'Olio Novello e' finalmente arrivato This highly prized extra-virgin olive oil — Sicily’s finest — is in-stores now. True Italian food lovers know, there’s extra-virgin olive oil, and then there’s olio novello. This is the first batch of oil made from 2020’s olive harvest in Sicily. Italians line up to buy bottles the day they are released. Why all the fuss? The flavor. The olives are picked early, and pressed immediately, which preserves the flavor and aroma of the olive fruit. The oil is then bottled unfiltered, so it’s green and clear. This is truly the most flavorful of all olive oils. Serve it as a dip for bread, pour over salads, or use it to dress meats and fish, soups and grilled vegetables. Our exclusive Olio Novello is produced in limited quantities and we expect it to sell out fast. Reserve your bottle today. Visit www.rouses.com for details.
First to Arrive in the United States!
Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Hazelnut & Strawberry Pizza Makes 1 12-inch pizza WHAT YOU WILL NEED: Pizza dough (check at our Deli Department for fresh, premade dough) 1 jar Rouses Hazelnut Spread 1 dozen large strawberries, washed and stems removed Red, pink and white decorative sprinkles HOW TO PREP: Roll out the pizza dough into a circle (extra points, guys, if you can make it into a heart shape). Bake the pizza dough at 375Â°F with nothing on it, for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pizza crust from the oven, and allow it to cool slightly. Lightly warm the hazelnut spread in the microwave, and spread it evenly over the crust. With a paring knife, cut the strawberries in half and trim the tops of them to the shape of a heart. Distribute the strawberries and sprinkles atop the hazelnut spread, and ser ve.
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with the best on the Gulf Coast
Order online at www.rouses.com
Get the Best King Cake on the Gulf Coast Shipped Right to your Door! For 60 years, the Gulf Coast has celebrated Mardi Gras with our hand-crafted, gourmet cinnamon dough king cakes. Choose traditional or your favorite filling, shipped anywhere in the Continental U.S. Order online at www.rouses.com.