Many of us have given up something for Lent (mostly meat, chocolate, alcohol, tobacco and couch-potatoing among my aquaintances). Might as well capitalize on the commitment — there's still six weeks of willpower to sustain — and get proactive about your health (plus get a lot of FREE STUFF). A group of Magazine Street business owners are presenting A Night of Health + Wellness on Magazine Street from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29 — (that's TOMORROW for those of us feeling woozy from lack of stimulants).
Earthsavers, LIFE Yoga + Boutique, Lululemon Athletica, Paris Parker Salon & Spa, Pinkberry, Pure Barre, Romney Pilates, Salvation Studio, Southern Runner and Whole Foods Market will have workout demonstrations, personal consultations, fitness assessments, classes and more. They'll give away samples of products, prizes, healthy food recipes, wellness information, lifestyle tips and discounts on products, services and classes. Several businesses are providing refreshments (including a healthy cocktail) aimed at proving that healthy snacks can taste great.
Participating businesses have put together a prize package worth $1,000. For a chance to win, pick up a "Healthy Passport" at your first stop and have it stamped at each of the businesses hosting the event, then turn it in.
A schedule of events and locations follows the jump.
It’s time to find your favorite Girl Scout, Brownie or Daisy and place your order for Girl Scout cookies. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts — Juliette Gordon Low formed the group in Savannah, Ga., In March 1912 — a new cookie has been added. Savannah Smiles are lemon wedge cookies (in the shape of a smile) coated in powdered sugar.
We sampled the new cookie during an informal tasting in the Gambit office this morning. It’s a good cookie, but most hands then went for the Thin Mints. The third cookie in the photo is the Thank U Berry Munch (with cranberry pieces), which is crispy, but not attracting much attention in this office.
The Girl Scouts also are selling Samoas (chocolate, caramel and coconut), Tagalongs (chocolate-covered peanut butter patties), Do-Si-Dos (peanut butter sandwich cookie), Trefoils (shortbreadd) and Dulce de Leche (caramel flavored).
Boxes sell for $3.50 each (there’s no discount for pre-orders), and the cookies will be delivered in early March. Girl Scouts also will sell cookies at booths around the metro area March 2-18 (time to start making room in the freezer).
Read about the mobile app below the jump.
The International School of Louisiana (ISL) is starting a Mandarin-immersion program that will see its first class — kindergarteners — take their seats in the Algiers Point school (502 Olivier St., 504-274-4571) in August. The school opened last year with a Spanish-immersion program. The application deadline for the 2012-2013 school year is Friday, Jan. 13. Applications are available at the school or online here.
Students and teachers in the new immersion program will speak Mandarin throughout the school day, including instruction time in all core subjects.
In 2008, the ISL made Mandarin, the official language of China, a requisite for middle schoolers at its East Bank campus (1400 Camp St., 504-6541088), but Sean Wilson, CEO/head of schools at ISL, says it hasn’t been available to lower school students until now. He says the plan is to add a grade to the Mandarin-immersion program at the West Bank school each year through fifth grade, when students will transfer to the East Bank ISL campus, where Mandarin already is available in sixth through eighth grades.
Wilson answers some questions about the focus on Chinese immersion below the jump.
Peter Mayhew, who made Chewbacca a household name in the first four Star Wars films, will attend the Wizard World Comic Con convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Jan. 28-29.
When not wearing his wookie costume on the set of George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy or its sequel, the 7-foot 3-inch Mayhew worked at Mayday Hospital in London. At Comic Con Mayhew will pose for photos, sign autographs and meet fans. In conjunction with a special kids' day of programming on Sunday, Jan. 29, Mayhew also will read from My Favorite Giant , a children’s book he wrote with his wife, Angie. That reading starts at 1 p.m.
See what he looks like out of his wookie costume below the jump.
Lafreniere Bark, a new five-acre dog park, opens Saturday, Jan. 7, on the north side of Lafreniere Park (3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and event from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend the free event, and pet owners are encouraged to dress their dogs in Saints or LSU gear (You can choose another team if you dare.) and enter them in a pet sports costume contest. If you're ready to add a pet to your family, the Jefferson Parish SPCA will have animals available for adoption. Other activities also are planned.
You can’t keep a good krewe down. The Krewe of Orpheus’ second annual 13th Night party — the group’s official kickoff of the Carnival season — naturally falls on the 13th night after Christmas: Saturday, Jan. 7 — the same time as the Saints’ first-round playoff game against the Detroit Lions. In true New Orleans style, instead of perceiving the playoff as competition, Orpheus is making it a feature of its party, setting up a big screen as well as smaller screens around the venue.
The 13th Night party is from 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) to midnight at Generations Hall (310 Andrew Higgins Drive) and features live music by the Gashouse Gorillaz and a special performance by the 610 Stompers. Refreshments include an open bar, a raw bar by Acme Oyster House and a variety of dishes from other local restaurants.
About 1,000 New Orleans public school students will learn the benefits of attending class every day during a special party for scholars with perfect attendance. The event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, at Mardi Gras World (1380 Port of New Orleans Place).
More than 600 Recovery School District (RSD) students in the fifth through eighth grades who have perfect attendance for a year were invited to the event. Each of thos students is allowed to bring three guests, and each child who attends receives a gift. Party goers also can play games, enter Wii tournaments, meet and take pictures with Hornets forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Carl Landry, guard Marco Belinelli and center/forward Jason Smith. Head coach Monty Williams and some assistant coaches also will be on hand, as well as Hornets mascot Hugo, the Honeybees and Santa Claus.
Emerge is an attendance incentive initiative for middle school students in the RSD, and the Salvation Army Greater New Orleans Area Command, the Hornets, Richard’s Disposal and other groups provide incentives (including passes to special events at the Audubon zoo, a Hornets pep rally and more), throughout the year to encourage students to attend school every day. The Hornets organization said in a news release that since the program began, the total number of students with perfect attendance for an entire school year has more than doubled, and monthly attendance has increased 14 percent.
Though Warren Leruth died a decade ago, the legacy of this New Orleans chef, food scientist and restaurant consultant is still palpable. You can taste it in such local staples as oyster and artichoke soup, one of the original standards at his renowned restaurant LeRuth’s; in Green Goddess salad dressing, which he developed in the early 1960s; and even in the recipes for biscuits, red beans and dirty rice from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which he created for that company when it was based in Louisiana.
But Leruth’s legacy also lives on in the success of the many other restaurateurs who count him as a mentor and in those touched by the philanthropic generosity for which he was known. To honor that spirit, St. Michael’s Special School today unveiled a new seven-foot statue of Leruth at its Uptown campus before a gathering of local chefs, Leruth family members and the St. Michael’s student body.
The school, which serves developmentally-disabled children, has for more then 30 years been the beneficiary of the Chefs’ Charity for Children. This culinary fundraiser was created in 1978 by Leruth and his longtime friend, the late journalist Phil Johnson of WWL-TV, and has since raised more than $1 million.
“My father was at a point then where he wanted to give back and especially to people who really needed it,” explained Larry Leruth, the late chef’s son. “One of the things my father annunciated throughout his life was love — love for his fellow chefs, love for each other and love for God.”
The hotel will also house Sweet Olive, a neo-American restaurant by Coquette chef and co-owner Michael Stoltzfus; the Burgundy Bar, a speakeasy-inspired spot that will host live jazz music; and Halo, a rooftop bar and lounge that will open in the spring.
It’s a good weekend to enjoy some crisp fall weather amid Cajun, zydeco and country music, cultural activities and demonstrations, and a variety of food and crafts vendors Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6 at the Louisiana Swamp Festival at Audubon Zoo. Activities include opportunities to interact with animals and watch them being fed in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. There also will be musica performances there.
Food choices include shrimp and crabmeat gumbo, spinach and crawfish bread bowls, cochon du lait po-boys, cochon nachos, grilled alligator sausage, soft-shell crab po-boys — and for extreme decadence, there are fried Oreos, Twinkies and bananas.
The festival is free to Audubon Zoo members and is include in the cost of zoo admission for nonmembers.
Check out the music schedule below the jump.
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