Christmas Amid the Oaks

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     It’s Christmastime in New Orleans, and while that doesn’t bring forth images of snow covered driveways and chimneys thick with smoke, it does conjure images of mighty oak trees adorned with lights. The sound of a small train horn reminds locals that the holiday season is once again in full swing as City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks opens its gates to invite visitors to bask in the magic of the season. Complete with Santa Claus, hot chocolate, and the light display of a Cajun Night before Christmas, Celebration in the Oaks combines all of the elements of a perfect New Orleans Christmas.      Every season, thousands of park visitors gather to embrace the joy of the season in what has truly become a New Orleans tradition. The beautiful carousel that...

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Restaurant Dining: Myrtle Beach, SC...

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     Now that Labor Day is behind us, you might want to consider heading to the beach. It's still warm, the crowds are gone, and prices are falling with the first of the leaves. Myrtle Beach is a great place to go in the off season. As with many beach towns though, dining can pose a quandary. Where can you eat that isn't a chain restaurant, that is still good, without breaking the bank?       Back in the spring, Drawl staffers did some tasty research. International food is the way to go in Myrtle Beach.  The Fat Greek's      We sauntered in to The Fat Greek's at 3:00 in the afternoon during the off season and found it packed with customers -- some of whom were Greek. This is definitely a good sign. The...

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How Prepared Are You?

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     Anyone living on or near the coast understands the internal tension that comes from hearing weather professionals declare that hurricane season is upon us. Every June 1st, meteorologists turn their eyes to the oceans and await the development of a circular pattern of stormy weather that may eventually become a hurricane. They create tracking maps and use historical models to predict the storm’s ultimate destination. Unfortunately, despite the high level of technology available, Mother Nature is unpredictable. In order to alleviate some of the stress that comes with the hurricane tracking, it’s a good idea for individuals to develop a plan for their families. That way when a storm does pose a threat, it’s a smoother process to prepare. When hurricane season begins, it’s imperative to confirm that you have the appropriate supplies...

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Seasons of the South

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     Living in New Orleans, I actually had to check my calendar to verify that summer had ended. There are no colorful trees with leaves of bright orange, yellow and red. No gently flowing cool breeze brushes my cheek to usher in the change in seasons here in south Louisiana. No magical environmental changes symbolize the transitions from season to season in our warm, often unbearably humid climate.      Now that fall has officially made its annual debut, the countdown begins to my favorite season, the Christmas Season. As soon as there are fewer than 100 days until Christmas, the shopping pressure is on. Every year I tell myself that if I diligently plan ahead, I can have all shopping done by the first week in November. As many times as I have tried to instill...

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Thanks and Giving

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     You send the kids back to school, turn around once, and it’s Halloween. Before you can sneeze, it’s Thanksgiving and you’re about to get hit by the Chrismakkuh bus.      Our time is scarce, and many of our other resources get stretched awfully thin this time of year. We want to do it all; we want the cleanest, best decorated house, the most delicious dinners, the perfect homemade gifts and baked goods. Some of us drive ourselves crazy and get there; many of us beat ourselves up for not getting it done. Some of us feel guilty for not doing as much unto others as we would like.      Here are a few ideas to help you get a handle on the holiday insanity while working in good deeds in a manageable fashion. You may remember...

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Southern in L.A. II: The Heart of Barbecue...

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     When I think about barbecue, I think about backyards, family, a down home easiness emphasized with beer, and inevitably secret sauce on your face and fingers. Park's Finest BBQ had all of that, but I didn't expect to find it in Filipinotown.      Between the sign for Historic Filipinotown and the skyline of Downtown Los Angeles, you could easily pass this new storefront. The sign is a sagging banner and the parking is less than inviting--that is to say there is none. But inside, the place offers a casualness of a family joint and the crux of any barbecue joint: delicious sauce. I dropped in on a Wednesday, when all they serve is what they call their Worker's Plate. It's a little bit of everything: pulled pork, barbecue chicken, smoked sausage, coconut beef,...

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