In these crazy times, there are not many things to occupy our time since festivals, parties and events have been cancelled. Each issue, I will come up with five fabulous ways to hopefully help you relax, put a smile on your face or get you out of your head so you can focus on something else other than the insanity that is 2020.
#5. NOAGE Walking Group
The New Orleans Advocates for GLBT Elders does a weekly walking group every Monday starting at 6:10 p.m. at Lafitte Greenway. Walkers meet in front of Bayou Beer Garden at 326 N. Jefferson Davis Parkway before we begin. This is an excellent opportunity to exercise and meet people in a safe and socially distant environment. All are welcome no matter what your age.
#4. Blue Giant Restaurant
I love trying new places and Blue Giant, located at 1300 Magazine Street, is amazing. Blue Giant is a Chinese-American restaurant located in the Lower Garden District. Chef/Owners Bill Jones and Richard Horner pay homage to the Chinese-American food of their youth, reimagining dishes like egg foo yung and crab rangoon with quality, local ingredients from South Louisiana.
I fell in love with this place during a recent dinner there with friends. Every dish we tried was equally delicious; it was quite the dining experience. This restaurant scores high marks on all fronts from excellent service, delicious food and trendy atmosphere. Under the appetizers, I recommend the chili oil cucumbers, pork potstickers, egg roll and shrimp wontons. The dan dan noodles, crispy beef and duck lo mein are divine. Even the sides were delectable. Spicy stir fried eggplant, stir fried broccoli and braised mushrooms were all winners. And to finish off the meal, their egg tart and roasted pineapple meringue for dessert are both heavenly. They also haven a nice bar with lots of craft cocktail choices. So if you are looking for a great place to dine, try Blue Giant. I also suggest making reservations because this place is becoming quite the hot spot. Also you can order take out if you do not feel like being social.
#3. Vampires vs. the Bronx
It is Halloween time and there is nothing better than watching a good scary movie. All the streaming services have plenty of choices. Netflix has a brand new movie they premiered at the beginning of the month that is funny, scary and has lots of feels to get you into the spirit. Vampires vs. the Bronx is directed by Osmany Rodriguez. The film follows a group of teenagers who are forced to protect their neighborhood in the Bronx when a gathering of vampires invades. It stars Jaden Michael, Gerald W. Jones III, and Gregory Diaz IV. The cast is cute and very likable and the vampires are somewhat sexy. It is sort of like an urban Lost Boys but with less homoeroticism. I do not see this film winning any awards, but if you are looking for good escapism, this fits the bill.
#2. Halloween New Orleans and Lazarus House
Because of COVID, many events have been cancelled in the city and the big Halloween New Orleans three-day weekend of events benefiting Lazarus House is one of them. Normally there would be three parties, the Friday Night Lazarus Ball, the huge Saturday costume dance extravaganza, and the Sunday Tea Dance. For the safety of the guests, large gatherings had to be cancelled which has put a strain on the budgets of many non-profits.
Halloween New Orleans with the help of the City of New Orleans Riverboat is able to offer a one-day socially distant festive Halloween event on November 1. HNO is doing a Halloween brunch on the CONO Riverboat at 2:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear (and make, of course) costumes. All COVID rules and restrictions will apply and guests are able to socially distance themselves on the boat. Tickets are $150 and include brunch, an open bar, a HNO cap and tee shirt, the boat ride, entertainment and entrance to an on-site raffle. This is the only official Halloween New Orleans event for the weekend. It is a great way to have fun, catch up with all your friends in a safe environment, dress in costume and help a worthy cause. For tickets, go to https://tickets.neworleanssteamboat.com/#/Events?Event=CITYSUNBRU&CompanyID=10&CustomerID=7416&EventDate=11%2F01%2F2020.
#1. CoCoNOLA Skincare
Skincare is extremely important for everyone and yet it is mostly neglected by people, especially men. I have discovered this great local skincare line that uses no chemicals or preservatives and is completely handmade. CoCoNOLA Skincare is awesome.
Created by Tiffany Wallace, this line of products incorporates the essence of plants and flowers as well as other natural ingredients. I have tried their Essential Bug Spray and love it. And being in the South, we need everything in our power to fight off mosquitoes. I have also tried their lip balm, energy essential oil and their Lavender/Rosemary body balm and I am hooked. They have so many great products to choose from. So go to https://coconolaskincare.com/ and check them out. It is important during this time to also support local businesses.