New Orleans

Finding the Fun This Summer

While this summer has been, expectedly, less exciting than living in London, it hasn’t been any less busy. I’m living in Columbia and taking the second broadcast journalism class in my sequence until early July, but I got a short trip home to New Orleans before moving up.

IMG_1488I was home for about two weeks, and spent them as an absolute tourist. They were jam packed with JazzFest performances, dinners in the French Quarter and on the lake with the parents and a crash course, catch up session with my friend Rachel the night before I left. It was the first time I was in town for JazzFest in three years, and was an absolute blast to back. Two days filled with too much food, art and jewelry shopping with Mom and amazing music (Bruce Springsteen, Foster the People, Better Than Ezra, The Head and the Heart to name a few) were a perfect way to welcome me back.

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My life these days is all journalism, all the time. I have class four days a week, lab twice a week and anchor/report twice a week at KOMU. It’s all actually been going fairly well, and I’d much rather be busy than searching for something to do all the time. I’m anchoring my first full shows, which has been an exciting learning experience, and doing stories for both class and Sunday night newscasts. It was a bit overwhelming when stories started overlapping, especially on weekends, but things have calmed down now that I’m “cleared” to work at the station for my class.


It’s just bizarre going from a semester of very little traditional schoolwork and constant adventure to basically working seven days a week. Not bad really, but definitely a 180° change. I had Catherine here for two weeks before she left for an internship, and was great to catch up with her one-on-one. From ice cream excursions and movie dates to stumbling upon a concert in Downtown Columbia on a random Wednesday (it was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), she can always find a way to make a seemingly average evening fun. IMG_1528

I’ve also personally taken on the task of introducing basically anyone who comes to my house to Pimm’s. Like I now have a mint plant growing on our back porch solely for that purpose. Amateur gardener, and Columbia’s professional Pimm’s expert. Everyone who’s tried it has loved it, but I can’t say I’m surprised.


Because I didn’t have a story due in my lab today (perks of being cleared and not being able to schedule shifts because the news director is out of town), I took a personal weekend. I spent Friday night at Columbia Entertainment Company’s Spamalot. I’d never seen any community theatre here, which seems almost criminal for me, so I was excited to see a new company and venue. I was, of course, running later than I expected, and after a couple of wrong turns, I arrived at what looked like a warehouse. It was, thankfully, actually the theatre and not just a rehearsal or storage space. The theatre is set up as a black box, which I love, but only has seating in front of the stage rather than all the way around. It’s a hilariously written show anyway, but there were some really great performances. And it always helps when you tell everyone on stage is just so into it. I road-tripped to the Chesterfield outlet mall for the first time on Saturday. It was gorgeous weather to wander outside in between popping into different stores. Four hours, three calls to my mom for opinions and five shopping bags later, I had successfully visited nearly every store and was ready to head back to CoMo. It was a fun, and much needed, mental health weekend.


March has been an absolute whirlwind. The last three weeks have been packed with trips, adventures and experiences as we try to squeeze the most out of the rest of our time here…cue panic attack.

March 13-16

We started on Thursday with our tour of Highgate Cemetery. The weather was perfect, and the park and cemetery were just the right balance of manicured and overgrown. We had some time to kill before our afternoon class, so Ciera and I came back to enjoy some food and a drink at Camden Lock market. Almost 60 degrees and sunny weather makes it even harder (if that’s possible) to imagine having to leave. All of the flatmates still had parents in town Thursday night, so I hung out and made my London karaoke debut with six of the other Mizzou girls.

Saturday was another beautiful day, so we went up to Hampstead to get crepes and then Spitafields Market to wander through their vintage pop up stands. After tearing myself away from buying the place out, I met up with my friend, Andy, who was in town from Paris. It was fun to catch up with someone from home, even if it wasn’t a very long visit.

stpatsDespite a severe lack of green clothing, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday in Trafalgar Square. The parade was slightly underwhelming, but I’m spoiled by a lifetime of New Orleans parades. If I’m not dodging cabbages and beads, what am I supposed to do while standing on the side of the road? The square was full of people eating, drinking and listening to performers. I got my first Guinness and we spent the afternoon sitting on the steps enjoying the sunshine (see also: getting sunburnt). We started talking to the people sitting around us, and when I said I was from New Orleans, one of the guys asked if I had heard of Dat Dog. I said I was surprised some one from here had heard of the restaurant, but yes, and I’ve actually eaten there. I had no idea one of the business partners was from the U.K., but he is and this guy knew him. If I’ve learned anything on this trip, it’s that the world is a lot smaller than I ever realized.


March 21-22

I started interviewing, filming and editing videos for my internship’sWhat does the EU do for you?” campaign. It’s nice to be back in the broadcast realm and to see all of the background work I’ve been doing finally coming together.

Friday night was House of Lions single release party for their new song “Uncruel,” and it was possibly the most fun and definitely the most British night I’ve had in London. It’s the only time I’ve actually hung out with an entire room of British people my age because my building and classes are both fully American. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and they thoroughly enjoyed making me try to say things in a British accent and laughing at me when it was terrible. It’s truly unfair their American impressions are so much better than my British one. The concert itself was fantastic, and ending with a cover of “Twist and Shout” was almost too perfectly British for me to handle.

storehouseI left to meet Ciera, Kelsey and Christi in Dublin on Saturday morning, and it was the most stressful experience of my life. I’m still not sure if I turned off my alarm or if it never went off, but I woke up in a panic at 8 am realizing I slept over an hour longer than I intended. I flew out of bed, got dressed and ran out the door in approximately three minutes. Shaking from adrenaline and nerves that I was going to miss my flight, I took the Tube from Camden Town to Victoria, the Gatwick express from Victoria to the airport, and finally made it to my gate by 9:29. The gate supposedly closed at 9:30. Not something I ever want to do again. I eventually made it to Dublin in a better mental state with make up on and contacts in, and met up with the girls at our hotel. We regrouped, got lunch and went on a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. On the way to the brewery, we ran into a guy wearing a Mizzou sweatshirt who said his brother just graduated from MU and he is starting there next year. Again, the world is just too small. During the tour, we learned to pour the perfect pint and then headed up to the gravity bar on the top floor. It was a beautiful view and gave me a good crash course in Dublin landmarks. We trekked back to our hotel, rested for a bit and got ready for the evening. We started with dinner at Porterhouse then moved on to O’Neill’s and Temple Bar for drinks and live music. We all fell in love with Dublin because the trip seemed more about experiences rather than seeing big attractions.

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March 28-30

oxfordLast Saturday, we took a day trip to Oxford. We hopped off the bus, and about 10 minutes later, were at the top of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin overlooking the city. We successfully shimmied around the top of the tower in what felt like a gutter, and then went to wander through the city and around Christ Church College. We went punting after we, thankfully, were able to switch our reservation from a self-driving boat tour to chauffeur-guided one. None of us wanted to end up in the river or stranded along a bank like the many of the self-driving boats we saw while waiting in line. Ciera’s jacket sleeve took a little swim, but compared to what would’ve happened if some one trusted me to steer a boat, it was a fixable problem. We made our way to the Eagle and Child pub for dinner and drinks. Along the way, we completely stumbled upon a priory run by Dominican Blackfriars. I got way too excited (you can take the girl out of Dominican…), took a couple of pictures, and then we kept walking to the pub. Nods to Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were sprinkled throughout the bar where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to chat. It was fun to people watch and chat in good company. Similar to Dublin, we had certain things we planned to do, but it was more about just exploring Oxford.

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Sunday we finally took a trip to Abbey road and took a proper touristy photo. We got lunch at Chipotle, which was I was probably more excited about than I should have been, and went to 221b for the Sherlock Holmes museum. It was interesting to see the replicated rooms, but I don’t think I’m a big enough fan to appreciate it like some others were.


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I can’t believe it’s already April. March was so full and busy, but somehow still seemed to fly by. I’m looking forward to making the most of this last month here, especially if it’s as fun as March was.


The Newseum

Over spring break, my family and I visited DC for the first time. Along with all of the classic tourist sites like the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II monument, I wanted to go to the Newseum. My parents hadn’t ever heard of it, but a few of my friends told me it was definitely worth seeing since I like journalism.

We started with the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. I’d seen a few of the photos in previous journalism classes, but after taking photos for my multimedia journalism class, I have a newfound appreciation for both the photos and the photographers. They are not only experts with the technology, but these photographers have the ability to capture an event that is evocative and real. My mom saw photos from the Oklahoma City bombing and started tearing up. I admire they’re ability to relay emotion so effectively.

I didn’t know the museum contained so many artifacts. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to see there, but it definitely wasn’t sections of the Berlin Wall and Katrina-damaged TV monitors. Seeing these pieces of history really help put the stories into context. From a mock-up of Tim Russert’s office to vehicles damaged during international reporting, the Newseum displays the many different careers journalists can have. The journalists’ memorial was almost surreal. After walking through international equipment, it was very humbling to see a wall of people who died for journalism. Everyone in the room was speaking quietly, and seemed to pay respect as they read about the journalist’s lives. That exhibit and the September 11 exhibit were the most solemn and powerful. An entire wall is covered with newspaper front pages from across the country alongside the pictures and equipment of a photojournalist who died documenting the tragedy. I was only in third grade when it happened, so seeing the coverage brought up some new perspectives for me.  I think it’s so admirable that this museum it highlighting the importance of journalism when the media is changing so much and trust  in journalists if  lower than it used to be.

Photo of the West Berlin Wall at the Newseum on Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Photo of the West Berlin Wall at the Newseum on Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Outside of teh Newseum entrance, the museum displays the day's front pages from every state.

Outside of teh Newseum entrance, the museum displays the day’s front pages from every state.

A replica of the late Time Russert's Meet the Press office wall.

A replica of the late Time Russert’s Meet the Press office wall.

Hurricane Katrina damaged TV monitor and cell phone from New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU.

Hurricane Katrina damaged TV monitor and cell phone from New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU.

Snoball Season

Snoballs are only in season in New Orleans when it’s over 60 degrees. A summer staple, snoball stands are packed starting in late spring until they close for winter around November.

Not to be confused with northern snow cones, snoballs aren’t shaved ice that’s been refrozen. It’s shaved, brought to a point with a funnel, and then covered in colorful, sugary, flavored syrup. There are standard flavors, but specific snoball stands have their own concoctions. And everyone has their staple snoball stand. Three of the most popular stands are Hansen’s Sn0-Bliz (just Hansen’s to most people), open since 1939,  Sal’s Sno-Balls, which opened in 1960 and Plum Street Snoballs, open since 1945.  The stands have their signatures, like Plum Street serving snoballs in traditional pails, which are Chinese take-out boxes, and Sal’s stuffed snoballs and $7 bucket. They take soft serve ice cream and stuff it in the middle. If they aren’t stuffed, most stands can put soft serve on top or condensed milk, another staple snoball topping.  Original flavors, like orchid vanilla, king cake, and strawberry shortcake, are constantly being added and keep things interesting.

More than the delicious dessert, snoballs and snoball stands have countless memories attached. Plum Street catered big school events like volleyball games and the senior’s last day of class. My friends and I would go to Plum Street on our breaks during rehearsal for the spring musical, and leave our plastic wrapped pails in the bleachers while we practiced. Sal’s is on the Metairie St. Patrick’s Day parade route, so my friend and I would always stop by sometime during the day. In the summer, I did community theatre at a church across the street, and we’d get snoballs after rehearsal and sit on the log benches for hours. One night, seven of us split the giant $7 snoball after an exhausting dance rehearsal. I’ve never seen a snoball eaten so fast.

“They got music always playing. Start in the daytime go all through the night.”

I saw DRUMLine Live tonight for one of my classes, and remembered how much I love marching and brass bands. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I didn’t know what to expect from the concert. While it had some forced dialogue, the band music was fantastic. It centered on the marching band culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which I know about through the battle of the bands. Every year, Grambling and Southern meet in the Superdome and perform huge marching band half time shows. The city is always packed, and it’s a huge tourist event for alums and students. While I’ve never been to the actual event, it’s too big for me to be totally oblivious.

I also grew up going to Mardi Gras parades, and marching bands are an essential part of each one.  Every local has a favorite high school band to see, and it’s always fun to have bands from out-of-town. New Orleans is such a music hub, it’s no wonder that we have good musicians teaching in high schools. The marching band sound crosses over into professional groups, like the Rebirth Brass Band. They’re often featured on HBO’s Treme, which really authenticates itself by using local actors and artists. Maybe I would have loved performance marching band music anyway, but New Orleans definitely fostered the interest and love.

The title come from “Down in New Orleans” by Dr. John from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog soundtrack.