Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Propose with a $90k dessert in New Orleans

            The Crown Jewel Dessert at the Windsor Court in New Orleans just took the word “decadent” to a new level. In honor of the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the hotel is serving up a $90,000 dessert.
            Yes, that’s correct.
            The Crown Jewel by Pastry Chef Shun Li consists of a dark chocolate fondant cake encrusted with edible 24K gold and topped with a Cristal champagne sauce infused with raspberries and passion fruit. The dessert is then garnished with gold-dusted berries and a golden-chocolate crunch.
             But that’s not all — thankfully for $90,000. The centerpiece of this confection is a 3.95-Carat ruby and diamond ring from M.S. Rau Antiques of New Orleans.
Make sure you order it in advance for it takes three days to prepare.
             Gosh, we sure hope so.
             The hotel began the birthday celebration April 21, the queen’s birthday, and will continue the fete for three months. If $90,000 is too rich for your blood, try the Queen’s Prerogative by the hotel’s mixologist Kent Westmoreland, a twist on the queen’s regular lunchtime cocktail. The Queen’s Prerogative features gin, Dubonnet, Maraschino juice, orange and Angostura bitters, and an orange peel garnish.
              If too many Queen’s Prerogatives leaves you loopy, you can opt for a “Royal Stay at Windsor Court,” which includes three royal birthday packages ranging in price from $2,779 to $119,260.
              The latter and a Crown Jewel Dessert will only cost you about $200,000, but it does include airfare and much more.
              For more information on the packages, visit http://www.windsorcourthotel.com/packages-and-offers.

About M.S. Rau Antiques
M.S. Rau Antiques offers a 30,000 square-foot gallery in the heart of New Orleans’s historic French Quarter, filled with rare and important fine art, antiques and jewelry.

About Windsor Court
The 23-story hotel is located in the heart of the Central Business District, steps from the French Quarter, and features 316 oversized guestrooms and suites, the Grill Room Restaurant, the storied Polo Club Lounge, Le Salon for afternoon tea and an extensive art collection with mostly works of British origin, among other amenities and services. The hotel’s recent $22 million restoration included the addition of the lobby Cocktail Bar and Spa at Windsor Court. Windsor Court is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Legend Collection and is a member of the Southern Living Hotel Collection. For more information, please visit www.windsorcourthotel.com.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Name's changed and content expanded — this week we're heading to Lafayette for Festival International

            I’ve made a couple of changes here at Weird South, mainly our title. Although I will swear there is always something weird going on in the South, I wanted to branch out and spotlight the many wild things happening as well.
            The blog has been re-christened “Weird, Wacky and Wild South.” How's that for covering all bases?
            I travel the South on a regular basis as a food and travel writer — it’s my niche and I love it — so I will be spotlighting all kinds of weird, wacky and wild things going on. And to be honest, when I’m wearing my travel writer hat on assignment, I see so many awesome things I want to write about and they are not always weird, so this gives me an opportunity to fill up my blog pages more often. Which makes me very happy.

            So what will I be writing about?
            Festivals devoted to strange things, such as the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival where you can view crawfish races in addition to eating really well and listening to outstanding music.
            Austin’s Museum of the Weird because, as they say, “Keep Austin Weird!”
            A giant peanut in Plains, Georgia, dedicated to a former president.
            Worm charming in northern Florida. Yes, you heard right.

            This week I’m going to discuss one of my greatest loves — Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, Louisiana, North America’s largest free franchophone festival which celebrates its 30th year in 2016. I heard about this festival for years but, being from New Orleans, would attend the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival instead, held on the same weekend. When I moved to Baton Rouge to work at the newspaper there, I finally got over to Lafayette and have been hooked ever since.
            Here’s how it works and what’s special about this unique event.
            Festival International was created in 1986 to celebrate the region’s French cultural heritage but also the influences of African, Caribbean and Hispanic cultures. Bands visit from all over the Francophone world, including the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Europe, the French-speaking areas of Asia and various provinces of Canada, as well as artists hailing from the United States and, of course, Louisiana.
            The festival is held the last full week of April — this year April 20-24 — which is also the first week of Jazz Fest in New Orleans. The coordination of festivals allows foreign bands to afford to travel to Louisiana, playing one festival one weekend and the other the next.
            As for Lafayette’s Festival International de Louisiane, there are five stages throughout downtown Lafayette with all the music free! In addition, there’s arts and crafts, food and special events such as cooking demonstrations, theatrical performances, cultural discussions and the Courir du Festival 5K Run.
            Want a taste of what’s being offered this year? Check out the festival’s YouTube video of visiting artists. Also, the Lafayette Convention and Visitor’s Commission has been spotlighting “30 Years of Festival,” a retrospective by Lafayette photographer Phillip Gould.
             And when you go, be sure and greet others by saying, "Happy Festival" or "Bonne Fete de Festival." It's what we do.
             For a complete lineup, information on other events and to create your own schedule, visit the Festival International website: www.festivalinternational.com.