Category Archives: louisiana

Worth The Drive: Jean Lafitte National Park

The last time I made it out to Jean Lafitte National Park was in April. I grew up in the area, with the swamp butting up against our house. Armadillos frequently tunneled into our backyard and if we stood atop the levee we’d find gator eyes staring back at us. Going outside after dusk during the summer was crossing enemy lines, diving head first into a mosquito combat zone. I remember my family went to an outdoor performance of Camelot at Loyola University once, and my adolescent, humidity soaked brain couldn’t comphrend that one could sit in the city at 8:00pm and not be eaten alive by the little blood suckers. When you live next to the swamp, bugs are just a way of life. 

My mom still lives near my childhood home, and once in a while I like to stroll through Jean Lafitte when I’m on that side of the river. I know a lot of people are squeamish when it comes to reptiles and insects (minus the mosquitoes), but I look forward to these encounters. I spotted a rat snake, two alligators, a handful of banana spiders and an unending supply of katydids on my last trip. That said, I’ll jump through the ceiling if I see a cockroach in my kitchen. Hey, even this tomboy from Southern Louisiana is allowed to have her buggy fears, right?

More pictures on my Tumblr: christylorio.tumblr.com

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Valence Cemetery

Valence Cemetery
Valence Cemetery
I drive by the Valence Cemetery fairly often but I’ve never stopped by until a few days ago. I always thought it was weird to hang out in a graveyard, even in my woe-is-me goth phase. In New Orleans neighborhoods are littered with these smaller graveyards that are often overshadowed by their grander, more famous counterparts such as the St. Louis Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery. Sadly, the Valence Cemetery, established in 1867, is neglected. Weeds and overgrown grass have taken over the walkways and encroach on the final resting places of the deceased. While these smaller sites desperately need someone to maintain them, I’ll take the solitude of a dilapidated cemetery over throngs of tourists taking selfies next to tombstones any day.
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Worth The Drive: French Quarter

Eventually the perks that come with your zip code become as commonplace and mundane as stopping for a red light in the middle of the afternoon. It’s been my mission this summer to do a little exploring in my own backyard, traveling to places that I always find a reason to talk myself out of going to. Even though the French Quarter is just a 15 minute car ride (or a 30 minute bike ride) from my house, somehow I always make an excuse not to go. It’s too hot outside. It’s too cold outside. The parking sucks. I don’t feel like dealing with tourists. I’m trying not to spend money/drink/I don’t feel like walking. Sometimes you just have to say “screw it” and do something fun. I took a few of these photos on the Fourth of July, hence the fireworks, but I’ve been back twice since then. Might as well, right? 

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Splendid Pig Is Poppin’ Up All Over

By now you’ve probably heard that pop up restaurants have infiltrated New Orleans. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll sum it up: an already established business allows a chef to utilize their space during times that the kitchen is closed. Why dine at a pop up when we already have so many options? For starters, the chefs are usually restaurant veterans that are attempting to break out on their own. Many of them do it to flex their creative muscles, often serving underrepresented food in a city that frequently caters to tourists’ palate more than locals. You’ll also be supporting up and coming restaurant owners, winning bragging rights of discovering them first when they (hopefully) open a more permanent eatery. Think of it as being a satiated early adopter. 


     My friends at Splendid Pig, husband and wife team Brandon Blackwell and Jennifer Sherrod,  have been running their pop up restaurant out of Carrollton Station every Monday night since November of last year. Even though Splendid Pig has only been in operation for seven months, the duo brings years of experience to the operation.  Brandon was sous chef at Upperline, as well as a butcher at Cleaver & Co., while Jennifer filled the general manager position at Martinique Bistro for fifteen years. In other words, you’re in capable hands in terms of food and service.  Splendid Pig’s menu is comprised of small plates, ranging in price from $6-$9. As the name indicates, pork is the standout, but their offerings are surprisingly diverse. The focus is Southern, utilizing locally grown and raised produce and meats. Inglewood Farms pecans graces the seared Louisiana drum this week, accompanied by a roasted summer squash polenta, charred tomato vinaigrette and mint. Covey Rise Farms supplied the corn for this week’s chilled corn soup with pickled squash, marinated crab claws and chili oil. For those of you with a sweet tooth, two desserts are always up for grabs. The boozy brownie, the mainstay option, is based on a different cocktail recipe each week. My advice? Bring a friend or two and sample the entire menu. 
 
Last month Splendid Pig expanded, taking over Milk Fish in Mid-City once a month. Starting in July, they will be in Coulis every Tuesday night.  I took these photos for them six weeks ago; keep in mind the menu changes weekly. For the entire month of June, Splendid Pig is participating in the Locavore Challenge, which challenges diners to eat 100% locally sourced ingredients. Several dishes adhere to the local stipulation, even down to the pecan oil.
 
Check out this week’s menu here, and make sure to get on their weekly mailing list. Catch them tonight at Carrollton Station, or this Wednesday at MilkFish in Mid-City. Pssst! Yours truly will be working Wednesday’s dinner service, so pop in (see what I did there?) and say hi. 
 
 
 
Splendid Pig Schedule:
 
Every Monday 6:00-9:30pm (ages 21 and up):
Carrollton Station, 8140 Willow St. 
Liquor: Carrollton Station is a bar.
 
Every Tuesday 6:00-9:30pm (starting July 1st):
Coulis, 3625 Prytania St.
Liquor: BYOB, mocktails and mixers available for purchase. 
 
Wednesdays 6:00-9:30pm (once a month, date changes):
Milkfish, 125 N. Carrollton Ave. 
Liquor: BYOB
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Worth The Drive: Abita Mystery House


Unexpected free time this summer has afforded me the luxury of taking random day trips from New Orleans. My first stop? A trip across Lake Pontchartrain to Abita Mystery House. Tucked away in the charming town of Abita Springs, this quirky museum houses owner John Preble’s impressive collection of tchotckes, vintage arcade games, painstakingly detailed dioramas and taxidermy that looks straight out of Rob Zombies’ House of a Thousand Corpses. I mean that in the best way possible.

 I was downright giddy when I first drove up to the museum. My friend Rebecca described it as a “Pee Wee’s Southern Folksy Playhouse” and I couldn’t agree with her more. The collection is split up among a vintage gas station, a 100 year old Creole cottage and the House of Shards. Each building contains an amalgam of the ordinary, the odd and the downright delightful. Make sure to allow yourself a few hours to explore. While the Abita Mystery House is small, it’s chocked full of wonders. Photos are highly encouraged, so bring your camera and a roll of quarters if you want to fiddle around with the arcade games. 

The Abita Mystery House is definitely worth the hour drive from New Orleans and the three dollar admission fee. 



Abita Mystery House     
22275 Hwy 36 
Abita Springs
 Louisiana 70420 
985-892-2624


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French Quarter Fest

 
I’ve been in a festin’ mood thanks to the balmy, seventy degree weather (finally!) so I decided to head out to French Quarter Fest with a friend to indulge in alligator sausage, po-boys and a frozen daiquiri to wash it all down with. The main music stages and food booths can bring out the claustrophobia in most anyone, so if you’re not the crowd lovin’ type I’d suggest hanging out at the equally entertaining yet relatively more intimate stages away from Woldenberg Park and Jackson Square.  It was also the perfect day to play around with my camera (no iPhone snapshots here!) and get some practice in. We’ve had the most beautiful, picturesque skies that just beg to have their photo taken. How could I not comply?
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Born on the Bayou: Jean Lafitte Park

Some of you who follow me on Instagram (here too) might know that I’ve been taking photography lessons for the past two months. I’ve wanted to improve my skills, or lack thereof, essentially since I started Slow Southern Style back in 2009. SLR cameras always frightened me, but I finally got myself one this past December and now I practice whenever I can. Annie Leibovitz I ain’t, but hey, I’m getting better. Just don’t look at any of my old, cringe inducing photos, which is basically every single picture taken before oh, last week. These photos were taken in Jean Lafitte Park just a few days ago. I didn’t run into any wildlife this time, but the alligators and snakes usually start poking their heads out around this time of year. This park was my backyard growing up, and I still enjoy trekking out there sometimes for a little solitude.
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Yeah, You Write

After clocking far too many hours on my laptop this semester, I’m happy to say that I’ve been chosen to read my original work “Blue Laser Beams” at the University of New Orleans’ Yeah, You Write series. If you’d like to listen to me attempt to not stumble on my own written words, check out the event this Thursday night. My non-fiction story is about a teenager whose fashion choices alienate her from the rest of her classmates. She wants to stand out, yet secretly wants to fit in as well. Here’s a sample:


         

Baker’s neon sign was a laser beam cutting through my fog of teenage angst. I was a product of the 1990s grunge era: a crushed velvet dress, worn with a flannel shirt tied around the waist, and clunky shoes is the look I lusted after. I blended in at school about as well as a duck hunter sporting a safety orange vest on Wall Street. “Sassy Magazine” was my fashion bible, but the clothes featured in the editorial spreads were either too expensive or unavailable to me. Shipping costs were deemed a waste of money in our household, so catalog orders were off limits as well. Little did I know that my shoe fantasies would be fulfilled at Baker’s. And sure enough, tucked away in a forgotten corner of the store were the flashiest shoes I could find and they were seventy-five percent off! Of course they were deeply discounted; no one in my town would be caught dead wearing platform lace ups with the veneer of a diner seat booth. The baby powder blue vinyl, embedded with a million holographic sparkles, reflected the joy I felt in being  one sales transaction away from being just as cool as my rock star idols. The white platform rubber soles with the wrap around faux blonde wood would proclaim my status as someone more worldly than my suburban roots. Everyone I encountered would think “That girl! She listens to Mazzy Star and Nirvana and would pierce her nose if her mother let her!”

Yeah, You Write: UNO Undergraduate Reading
Thursday, March 20 6:00pm
Sandbar at the Cove, UNO Campus 
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Mardi Gras: Look ma, no pants!

Oh, Mardi Gras. It was one of the coldest and rainiest Fat Tuesdays ever, but that didn’t stop the die hard crazies from heading out, including us. Since I never take the weather into consideration when planning a costume, wool socks under wool tights under green tights under fishnets was the only way to go. I felt like a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race underneath all that hosiery. Despite how nasty it was, we managed to laissez les bon temps rouler anyway. Needless to say, I didn’t bring my camera in fear of getting it wet, so these were the only non iPhone pics we took. 
This year, I decided to make our hats. With about 12 hours total of hand stitching ( I rarely glue anything, unless sewing isn’t an option) I gave myself a bit of a break and thrifted our tops, minus some embellishments that I added. It’s always fun to play dress up, but I’m allowing myself a sweatshirt and jeans day today after freezing my toes off. Hopefully we’ll have better weather next year but hey, a little rain never stopped me from having a good time anyway. 

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oh hey now

Oh hey now, I went and started a Slow Southern Style Instagram. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite snapshots of New Orleans culture, served with a side of personal style. Of course y’all can still keep up with my personal account if you’re so inclined. We’re in the thick of Carnival season this weekend. Parades are rolling all day, every day and I’ll be out on the streets snapping pictures all weekend long. Of course Mardi Gras Day is basically my Christmas morning; I’ll be up at the crack of dawn on Fat Tuesday, ready for some carnival adventures. See y’all on the parade route. 

Necklace Bayou Bohemian| Sweater LnA via Rise| Jeans Banana Republic|
Jacket vintage Levi’s via Buffalo Exchange| Oxfords Frye via Buffalo Exchange

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