52 Fridays: Inspiration For Planning A Festive Lunch In New Orleans
Friday lunch in New Orleans has always been a big deal. Whether it’s standing in line at Galatoire’s, shopping with friends on Magazine Street and dropping in at La Petite Grocery, or reserving a private space for a celebratory occasion, it turns out we have missed 52 Fridays of this celebratory rite of passage. As our city begins to slowly reopen, I feel we have a civic duty to get out there and support these places so they can help us eventually find our way back to normalcy.
A friend recently moved home after four years away, and she said, “I have really missed Friday lunch.” Well, so have I. So I set out on a mission to bring us back into the spaces I love. Since it was a welcome home luncheon, I picked the courtyard at Sylvain as the destination, and I sourced extra accouterments from local businesses to make the luncheon fun. Sylvain answered the call in truly perfect form. We celebrated with sparkling rosé and then they passed samples of their Lazarus cocktails. On the table, we had the new rage orange wine and chilled red wine, but it turned out the Lazarus was our new favorite cocktail so we continued to order those for the rest of the day. Beets and biscuits and burgers with hot fish sandwiches for the Lenten observers were the brunch items of choice, with mountains of french fries on the side.
I am always looking for new ideas for entertaining: party favors, table decor, and hostess gifts, so I am sharing a few of my tips and tricks with you and hope you get out there and plan a fun, festive, and safe event at a local restaurant.
1. Flowers alone are enough to make the event feel festive. Reach out to your favorite local florist (Dunn & Sonnier for the win right here), describe the type of event, and let them work their magic, including delivery to the restaurant for one less step for you. I suggest individualized arrangements so each guest can take one home as a memento of the time shared.
2. I found some white linen napkins with black trim at Jade (or you can have some made at Sophisticated Thread) and I went to David Arts Center and bought fabric markers. Guests personalized the set for the guest of honor so she could have a memory of her dearest friends in her new home.
3. If you’re standing in your closet on the day of the event not feeling inspired by what you have to wear, I loved learning Em’s opens at 9:00 am. Perfect to capture carpool traffic and ensure you’re at the event on time.
4. In addition to the flowers as party favors, I brought LED tambourines from the Mardi Gras Spot to commemorate the first day of live music returning to the city. Later, when we ventured out into the Quarter, we could bring something with us to the show. Guests also departed with bath confetti pops sourced from Magic Moments in Covington to help them cure their ailments the next day.
5. A party isn’t a party without a cake, and I loved discovering Brown Sugar Boulangerie. They had so many yummy ones to choose from, but to keep with the brunch theme I went with the mimosa cake.
6. If planning all of this is not in your repertoire, my friend Corrie Pellerin owns a business called A Lil’ Something Pretty and she can take the preparations off your plate.
We kept the event small in order to respect the current environment. It was one of those perfect New Orleans spring days, and it felt so good to get the gang back together again and celebrate life’s blessings after a strange year.