Sunday, February 3, 2008

It's Carnival Time!

It's that time of year when one of our favorite cities becomes a hot bed of fun! All over New Orleans tourists are swarming, costumes are being donned and krewes are lining up as Mardi Gras arrives! In honor of this annual celebration we want to introduce you to one of our favorite NOLA broads and a cause dear to her heart that will be instrumental in keeping the sounds of New Orleans alive.

Last summer during my annual New Orleans pilgrimage I had the pleasure of meeting Elisa Speranza. A native Bostonian, Elisa fell in love with NOLA during her annual trips to Jazz Fest. She describes the city as "not like anyplace else on earth." Approximately five and a half years ago she made the move and relocated.

For the last seven years Elisa has worked for CH2M Hill, a full-service engineering, consulting, construction and operations company. Working in both the governmental and industrial sectors, CH2M Hill handles everything from transportation and infrastructure projects to the construction of power generation facilities to disaster relief. Elisa, as a Vice President in the Water Business Group, is head of the management consulting team and does work for municipal water/wastewater facilities domestically and abroad.

Elisa is dedicated to community service both locally and globally. She serves as Vice President of Water for People, a non-profit organization that facilitates water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in developing countries and is active with Save the Wetlands and the Arabi Wrecking Krewe.

The Arabi Wrecking Krewe, Inc is a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving the music and culture of New Orleans. The Krewe is assisting musicians with all post-Katrina needs in order that they can return to New Orleans. Currently they are raising funds to build Al "Carnival Time" Johnson a new home.

Al "Carnival Time" Johnson penned one of New Orleans most popular anthems. "Carnival Time" became synonymous with Mardi Gras and the spirit of NOLA. Unfortunately, for the first thirty years of it's existence, Al received no royalties for his famous hit. After Katrina destroyed his home in the Lower Ninth Ward, Al left for Houston. The Arabi Wrecking Krewe, realizing the importance of music in the history and soul of New Orleans, is raising funds to build a new home for Al in the Musician's Village.

So during this Carnival we raise our glasses and hopefully some funds. Here's to you Elisa and Al!

Vieux Carre
1 oz Rye
1 oz Brandy
1 oz Italian Vermouth
1 tsp Benedictine
2 dashes Peychaud Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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