“Follow me to the garden! Let’s check out the magic of nature!”
Introducing Rosemary the Garden Fairy, a new contributor to Confetti Park! We found her flitting about our beautiful corner, and realized she had much wisdom to impart about the natural world.
In this segment, Rosemary teaches us about air plants.
Have you ever heard of an air plant? It can grow without any soil!
The scientific name for air plants is “Tillandsia.” Lucky kids in Louisiana have seen one species of this plant called Spanish Moss, growing in our beautiful oak trees and throughout our swamps and bayous.
There are over 650 species of air plants, and some of them bloom pretty little flowers. You can try growing an air plant in your house…. You can even pin it to a curtain and it will grow!
The Confetti Parkhosted by Katy Hobgood Ray, features music and stories spun in Louisiana. It showcases songs that kids love, songs created for kids, and songs created by kids. Sparkling interviews, in-studio performances, delightful music medleys, jokes, local author storytime, and a little surprise lagniappe make for an entertaining show!
In this episode of Confetti Park, Katy Hobgood Ray interviews Ol’ Chumbucket, the co-creator of International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19. Chumbucket, also known as John Baur in certain circles, lives in New Orleans today (he has lived in many places including the Virgin Islands) and spends much of his time traveling the pirate festival circuit promoting his books and pirate culture.
Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter, is his latest. It’s a truly entertaining young adult book about a 13-year-old girl in colonial Virginia who disguises herself as a boy in order to sign onto a merchant ship. What drives her to such rash madness? She must rescue her father, who has been taken by terrible pirates. This book is a great ride!
Ol’ Chumbucket has co-authored at least eight books about pirate culture with his buddy Cap’n Slappy (a.k.a Mark Summers, the co-creator of Talk Like a Pirate Day), including A Li’l Pirate’s ABSeas, “a piratical romp through the alphabet with all that that implies. Sometimes rude, sometimes downright dangerous and subversive, but always fun and always funny.”
Kids in the Algiers Point neighborhood where Confetti Park is located were very lucky to have Ol’ Chumbucket come to the Hubbell Library. He and the NOLA Pyrates Society sang sea shanties and shared pirate lore. Katy recorded this interview with Chumbucket outside the library located near the river. (You can hear the wind! Sorry for the rumbles.)
Here she talks to him about the genesis of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and they uncover what it is that makes pirates so universally appealing.
Says Chumbucket: “Pirates, they’re an expression of freedom. We always tell people it’s ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’—not ‘Commit Felonies Like a Pirate Day.’ We’re not advocating you actually waylay a Spanish galleon.
But… pirates were the freest people on earth. They lived by their own rules; they rejected convention. So when you go out and live your life for YOU instead of the rules that everybody else’s putting on you, the TV ads that tell you you have to smell like this, and the magazine ads that tell you you have to wear these shoes… if you do what you want, because it’s what you want, then you’re living like a pirate.”
Enjoy this spooky, dramatic tale of a pirate who experiences the strangest vision…. a skeleton pirate crew who carry treasure aboard the island where he is marooned.
“It all started when Mr. Colt, me scurvy dog of a first mate raised a mutiny against me. I was so proud; that’s how I first became a captain, you know.”
“….At first she appeared to be nothin’ but a large shadow moving across the waves, but as she got closer it became clear that it were a ship; but no ordinary ship she was, for she was indeed made of nothin’ but shadows. ….It was then that that chill took a hold of me in earnest as I watches her crew boarding those boats, for they weren’t men, not least as we know them; they were a crew of skeletons whose bones glowed in the night.”
Based on an old pirate tale updated by David Eugene Ray, author of the award-winning book The Little Mouse Santi, and narrated by the vibrant New Orleans actor and producer Chris Lane, ‘Dem Bones is sure to thrill listeners of all ages! Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale?
By the way, wonder who this “Louis Lafitte” is? He is the made-up imaginary pirate persona of a little boy from Louisiana, who has grown up hearing the legends of Jean Lafitte! Check out this song by the Confetti Park Players.
In this episode of Confetti Park, Katy Hobgood Ray interviews Kid Chef Eliana de Las Casas, a New Orleans-based chef who is seriously one of the hardest-working kids around.
Eliana has been cooking since she was four years old! Her interested hasn't waned over the years from those early days of watching her family elders make food in the kitchen. Now at 16 years old, Eliana has bloomed as a chef, as an entrepreneur, as a cookbook author and as a culinary personality.
Eliana was born in Gretna and has a whole lot of cultural influences driving her style. She describes herself as a gumbo of Filipino, Cajun, Honduran, and Cuban.
"My whole family taught me how to cook, everyone. We always loved being in the kitchen together and having huge family gatherings," says Eliana. "There would just be all kinds of different dishes at the table. I never wanted to leave the kitchen! I was never the kid to ask for toys. I always wanted something kitchen-related."
Eliana’s mom is notable Louisiana children's author Dianne de las Casas, and she encouraged Eliana to start a food blog when Eliana was touring with her at book signings around Louisiana. From there, Eliana's abilities as a media mogul too grew! Soon Eliana was doing cooking tutorials for kids on Youtube, and before long she declared her intention to publish a cook book. She was only ten years old when her first cookbook came out; today Eliana has three published cookbooks: Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit, Cool Kids Cook: Louisiana, and Eliana Cooks: Recipes for Creative Kids.
In this interview, Katy and Eliana dive deep into Eliana’s early inspirations and her current aspirations, which include launching her own line of spices. They also talk about some of Eliana’s adult mentors, such as New Orleans-based chefs Tory McPhail (Commander’s Palace), Chef Adolfo Garcia (Primitivo, RioMar) and Chef Ryan Hughes (Purloo).
Today Eliana is a full-time student at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. She takes traditional academic classes in the morning, and in the afternoon, she studies in a culinary arts program funded by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. She is also a radio host! Every Friday at 6pm CT, listen to Kid Chef Eliana’s weekly radio show, Let’s Get Cookin’, on 102.3 FM WHIV.
Learn more at http://www.kidchefeliana.com
Today Lashon is pursuing a PHD in Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. But for a while, she lived in New Orleans, and was inspired to write her sweet book about our favorite produce vendor.
In this interview Lashon talks about the first time she ever saw Mr. Okra, and how she went about creating a children’s book featuring his life’s calling.
Says Lashon: “It was an early Sunday morning, and I remember hearing the truck coming down my street and I thought, is that an ice cream man? And he was calling out these fruits and vegetables, saying there were strawberries and mangoes and bananas, and I thought to myself What kind of ice cream truck man is this?… I found out how well loved he is by the city.”
Mr. Okra Sells Fresh Fruits and Vegetables was published by Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. It is available in bookstores in New Orleans, Berkeley, and on Amazon.
Here’s what Mr. Okra has to say about the book (from the back cover): “I love selling fruits and veggies to the people of New Orleans because there are people who can’t get to the big stores and people who don’t really like to go to the big stores. . . . They depend on me and I depend on them. We are all family; even if they don’t buy nothing, they still come out and we talk. The fact that this young lady has put me in her children’s book means a whole lot to me. I’m very thankful.”
Thank you Lashon!
It’s a music memory brought to you by Confetti Park!
Jimmy Caskey lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he and his wife Jacques own and operate a beloved lunchtime restaurant called Jacquelyn’s Cafe. Jimmy has been playing guitar all his life, and has performed in several different bands around north Louisiana.
Whenever people go to Jacquelyn’s Cafe, in addition to enjoying the shrimp salad and Monte Cristo sandwiches, bowls of gumbo and red beans and rice, they’re getting a musical education (whether they know it or not!). Jim Caskey is the deejay, and he lovingly shares his large and eclectic recording collection with everyone who steps through the doors. He will talk music with anyone who is interested in learning about what they're hearing.
Jimmy’s love for music is lifelong. In this music memory, Jimmy discusses discovering his parents' turntable and records when he was small child:
“I was around 5 or 6 in Mississippi, I remember my folks had albums and a turntable. And I remember sitting there listening to the albums and was fascinated by music. And I’ve been fascinated ever since then by recorded music.....And when I was 13 I started playing guitar, and I don’t know why I can’t explain it, but I was always infected and amazed by music of all sorts. Except for heavy metal.”
Thank you, Jimmy, for sharing your childhood music memory with Confetti Park!
It’s Confetti Park Storytime! In this episode, we hear a wonderful New Orleans tale based on our favorite contemporary street vendor, Mr. Okra. The story was written in collaboration with Mr. Okra by Lashon Daley, and illustrated by Emile Henriquez. We are so lucky to have the story narrated for us by the author!
And who is Mr. Okra? He is Arthur Robinson, a real life man who lives in New Orleans today! He a street vendor who sells produce from a truck. We all New Orleanians love to hear his recognizable call. From the inside flap of the book:
“Up and down the streets of New Orleans, Mr. Okra drives his brightly painted truck. All over the city, you can hear his call: ‘I got oranges and bananas! I got tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocadoes!’ His fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables are as colorful as Mardi Gras floats, as green as the St. Charles Streetcar, and as different as the animals at the Audubon Zoo. Taste and tour New Orleans in this colorful story.”
Lashon Daley came to New Orleans to work with a nonprofit rebuilding organization as an AmeriCorps member. During that time, Daley discovered the joys of performing as a storyteller, sparking her interest in New Orleans folklore and the stories residents tell. Today she is in Berkeley, California, where she is pursuing her PhD in performance studies.
The colorful illustrations in the book were created by Emile Henriquez, a native New Orleanian who was born in the French Quarter. An art teacher, he also illustrated The Oklahoma Land Run, Toby Belfer Learns about Heroes and Martyrs, The Battle of New Orleans: The Drummer’s Story, D.J. and the Debutante Ball, D.J. and the Jazz Fest, and D.J. and the Zulu Parade.
Thank you, Lashon, for sharing your lovely book on Confetti Park!