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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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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Something Old, Something New: A First-time Fly Fishing Experience...

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     “That stuff is for the birds, man,” Jerry Alfonso said to me when I first mentioned the idea of fly fishing a few years ago. Jerry is one of the old-timers from Delacroix Island that taught me how to catch redfish. For Jerry, the idea of casting a bundle of feathers back and forth was somehow ludicrous enough to be left only for men in fancy vests and silly hats. Even worse was the idea that they didn’t keep the fish they caught, as most fly fisherman practice catch and release.      Jerry grew up on the bayou and could tell a good fishing spot by simply glancing it over. His method for catching the fish was foolproof: Put a fresh shrimp on a hook and suspend it under a cork. When the...

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$10 Travel: New Orleans

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     When planning a vacation on a budget, the first thing that comes to mind is how to make dollars and cents stretch to accommodate everything you want to see and do. It comes as no surprise that vacation costs can cause even the most frugal travelers to overextend themselves. Given the current state of the economy and my limited funds, over the past year I have become a tourist in my own city. Lucky for me, I live in New Orleans, so the opportunities for finding new activities are endless. Because I, like most travelers, am suffering from Empty Wallet Syndrome, I have found ten fantastic things to do in the city for ten dollars or less. Some of them are even FREE! City Park’s Sculpture Garden 1 Palm Drive neworleanscitypark.com/sculpture.html Price: Free...

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