There are definitely things that originated in New Orleans that have been imitated elsewhere. Sno-balls, muffalettas, po-boys, and even gumbo are a few of our delicacies that people craving the Big Easy have tried to master elsewhere. While New Orleans is definitely a trendsetter, admittedly, there are some things we have adopted from other places too.
One might say that our city is often last in the list of nationwide cities to get chain restaurants, popular clothing stores, and new movie releases, and you have to respect our desire to keep our businesses small and at home. However, the last year has really changed the way that we've had to do business. More and more people have been forced to shop online as opposed to supporting their local brick-and-mortars due to COVID concerns. What that means is that New Orleanians who had once not gone any farther than Magazine Street are now shopping online at outlets all over the world. And while many still tried to support small businesses (i.e., not Amazon or Walmart), they found that there are actually some pretty cool things out there in other places.
Suddenly, there are more things created and perfected elsewhere being recreated here. Not only that, but they are being recreated with a New Orleans twist, of course! Here are my top five New Orleans recreated trends:
Hot Chocolate Bombs/Bananas Foster Bombs
When it started to get cold last year, everyone wanted hot chocolate. People's minds were blown when they realized that two half circles of chocolate could be melted together with hot cocoa and marshmallows on the inside, a luxurious dessert-drink that melted once you poured piping hot milk over it. Videos on social media created a craze, and when local bakeries and artisans began making the "hot chocolate bombs," they started to add liquor and local flavors, creating "Boozy Bourbon Bombs" and "Bananas Foster Bombs. To order local Ninja Bombs and Treats, email Lahimmaugh@gmail.com.
Stuff on a Stick/King Cake on a Stick
We focus most of our energy on Jazz Fest instead of a County or State Fair, so we often miss out on fried twinkies or various desserts or foods served on a stick. Fortunately during last Mardi Gras, Sugar Love Bakery in Slidell improvised by skewering our favorite Carnival food and creating King Cake on a Stick. Other NOLA classics on a stick will follow, I hope! You can see all of the bakery's products at sugarloveslidell.com.
Spiked Seltzers became all the rage in 2020, partially because of the pandemic and partially because of people looking for lower calorie alcoholic beverage options. While Truly, White Claw, and even Bud Light put out a ton of various flavors, none were sweeter than some local versions-Urban South's Paradise Park Rocket Pop, Zony Mash's Zony Pop, and Abita's Spring Loaded Spiked Seltzer, all of which can be viewed and ordered on their various websites.
Trivia tidbit: did you know that at one point, Louisiana was the only state in the contiguous 48 that did not have a drive-in movie theatre of any kind? That has fortunately changed now with drive-in movies popping up at JPAS, Loyola University, and even at Stor All Storage on Tchoupitoulas. The Broad Theatre has also debuted The Broadside, an outdoor space for movies and outdoor concerts. These makeshift theatres are electing to show movies that have something to do with New Orleans. For example, King Creole, Elvis's favorite movie that also happened to be shot here, aired April 17 at The Tchoupitoulas Picture Show at StorAll (tickets are free, but you are able to donate if you wish). Speaking of, make sure to search for The Tchoupitoulas Picture Show on Facebook or call 504-899-2222 for more info.
A new trend popping up in cities like L.A., NYC, and even in Mobile is to offer a location with beautiful backgrounds for photography. Whether seated in a chair swing hanging from a tree surrounded by flowers or standing in front of a life-sized popsicle, these "photo pop up shops" have become a fun place to celebrate birthdays, bachelorettes, or just to have non-standard headshots for your business website or social media pages. JamNOLA recently opened and is a celebration of art and culture, but also has some pretty sweet photo ops with NOLA flavor. My favorite is a giant crawfish pot that you can pose inside of with your best "don't boil me" expression. Make sure to get your tickets through jamnola.com!
New Orleans will always be extremely original and authentic. While I might not want us to have chain restaurants on every corner, I do think it's fun that we've been able to adopt some of these trends and make them our own!