By New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition, whoever receives the slice with the baby inside provides the king cake for the next “king cake party.”

As this week’s title says…It’s still Carnival Time in New Orleans. Yeah!

Our toddler is so excited about the season, every morning he jumps out of bed and races to the oversized plastic bin in the closet and starts pulling out various hats, spats, and more and announces “time to parade!”

Last week we went to the former ground zero for parades, Mardi Gras World on the Westbank, now transformed into New Orleans Film & Event Studio.  Congratulations to Blaine Jr. and Tammy Kern on their exciting new venture!  The caricature above of our toddler was crafted in the French Quarter promenade at the grand opening of the Studio last week.  Thanks Kerns!

Now let’s get on to the pleasure of getting Out and About in New Orleans.  Getting Out and About in New Orleans is more than an outing.  It is an outing that encompasses layers of arts, culture, and creativity.

Ideally it is an opportunity to take your time to enjoy the magic of the crescent city – whatever part of the crescent you find yourself in.

On my Carnival mind this week (besides parades) is King Cakes.  The King Cakes that step out of the box. You know, outside the standard King Cake box with the check mark list on the side to indicate if the sugar inside is plain, cheese, apple, etc.  As I said, you know.

What you may not know but probably should, is that there are plenty of alternatives.  The one that piques my interest the most is the Elvis King Cake at Cochon.  Look out, this decadent treat’s ingredient list includes: peanut butter, bananas, bacon and a plastic pig (substituting for the baby).  You might as well get the moonshine to go with it.

Cochon is located in the Warehouse District.  Tie your trip to Cochon in with a daytime outing of gallery hopping in the neighborhood.  Or date night with dinner and a show.  This Thursday is a perfect night for that. After dinner (hopefully you won’t need a nap following that Elvis King Cake), you can head around the corner to the Howlin’ Wolf for a party with a purpose.

Thursday night at the Wolf is THE SHAKEDOWN a benefit for the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic with an explosion of healthy New Orleans musicians – thanks to the loving care of of the clinics NP Catherine Lasperches.  THANKS CATHERINE!  Line up features the New Orleans Suspects with special guest Dr. John (A suspect for sure), George Porter Jr., the Bonerama Horns and…..

Another King Cake outing could take you to the Faubourg Marigny (Fau – false, bourg – city = false city aka suburb, Faurbourg Marigny originally considered a suburb of the French Quarter). Get your day started at Loretta’s Pralines for her – your guessed it – her praline king cake.  Filled with cream cheese and Authentic Pralines plus topped with pralines and of course the obligatory sprinkling (dousing?) of purple, green and gold sugar.

After your praline king cake breakfast, stroll down Frenchmen street to the foot of Esplanade.  Take note on your stroll of this fabulous entertainment corridor with restaurants, dives, clubs, and perhaps a stop for an espresso drink at Cafe Rose Nicaud.  The Old U.S. Mint sits at the food of Esplanade Ave.  At noon on Wednesdays they host their jazz piano hour in the magnificent new(ish) theater on the third floor.  The astounding Joe Ashlar will perform on piano and B-3 Organ this week.  While there, don’t miss the remarkable exhibit: “Preservation Hall at 50.”

If I am in that neighborhood and hungry, I hate to miss an opportunity to indulge at Port – o – Call restaurant further down Esplanade.  Or try another King Cake at The Cake Man on Chartres Street.  This brioche style cake is a delightful alternative to the traditionally sweet sweet sweet king cake dough.

For other King Cake outings, ask a local or your neighbor who bakes their favorite King Cake.  Then get Out and About to try it.  Feel free to ask me to help plan your outing!

OH YEAH! And for parades this week, the Krewe du Vieux parade rolls Saturday at 6:30 PM through the Marigny and French Quarter. The KDV Doo follows. I can guarantee you we will NOT be taking the toddler to this parade!!  You’ll understand if you see the sub krewe floats filled with innuendo, subterfuge, and double entendre based on the Krewe duVieux theme: “Krewe du Vieux Comes early!”

In lieu of a Mardi Gras parade, you can always catch a second-line parade on Sunday.  This Sunday, January 20, 2013, is the Perfect Gentlemen (postponed from last week).  If you go to last week’s highlighted museum – The Backstreet Cultural Museum – then you know all about these Social Aid and Pleasure Club second-line parades.  Now is the time to check one out.

For more information or a personalized itinerary / outing: please call or email me, [email protected].

Every thing lovely,

Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.