New Orleans

This is a shorty blog as I’m writing fast and furious today and I’ve three boys sick with the flu.  🙁

But before we were hit with the flu last week, and before Surfer Ty returned to Hawaii, we had our own little Mardi Gras party on Wednesday night. We wore green, gold and purple beads and I decorated with feathered masks and even made  a decadent red velvet cake for dessert (two cubes of butter and 8 oz cream cheese for the frosting! Not lowfat but incredibly delicious). And then yesterday morning I made beignets for son Ty, who is taking French in school and loved the beignets we had at Cafe Du Monde and has been asking me to make them for him.

Breakfast at Cafe do Monde on son Ty's 12th birthday
Breakfast of beignets at Cafe do Monde on son Ty's 12th birthday
As many of you know, New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the world, and probably my favorite city in the U.S.  I love going to New York, love Texas, love small towns and antique hunting and California’s coastline, but New Orleans is different from every other place. It feels foreign and fascinating and there’s magic in the old French Quarter. My parents took me there when I was in elementary school and I loved taking my kids there this past December. We did have our share of adventures in New Orleans, including the night we spent in ER getting Mac’s chin stitched closed (you can see his sore face in the pic below), but it just added color to our memories. My sister and her daughter Krysia met up with us for part of our trip which just made it more special.

virgin_na_276To celebrate Mardi Gras and New Orleans, I’ve got a very special prize for one lucky reader:  Beignet mix from Cafe du Monde, French Roast coffee from the same famous cafe at the French Market, a signed copy of The Italian’s Virgin Princess which is set in New Orleans, and more fun goodies. Contest is super short!  It starts now and ends Tuesday night at midnight. I’ll draw the winner’s name Wednesday morning. To enter tell me if you’ve ever been to New Orleans or if you’ve read  books that have been set there.  (Two of my favorite authors have used New Orleans for a setting–Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole.) So chat with me and I’ll be back Wednesday morning to draw the winner!


  1. I have’t been there yet, but I love beignets. I loved The Princess and the Frog movie from last year, does that count? Ty and Alex had whole wheat doghnuts on Sunday, not home made, but very yummy. I hope you’re feeling better. Love, Iuli

  2. I’ve never been to N.O., but my dad went several times and loved every part of it. He was a jazz musician and talked endlessly about all the wonderful musicians there who just play because they love it so much and it’s a part of who they are. I can’t think of The Big Easy without thinking of my quirky, lovable dad!!

    Love the picture, Jane. Cute, cute family.

    Shannon in Tustin

  3. I watch Ellen’s TV show faithfully and see her Mardi Gras shows every year, I catch the enthusiasm from Harry Connick Jr. and others, but no, I’ve never been to New Orleans, Jane. Can’t remember any books set there, either, but I might have read one years ago….

  4. Did you say “beignet”? You are talkin’ my talk, cher! Powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar? ; )

    I have never been to New Orleans, but it is an amazing place. Fascinating, fantasy-filled, and fateful. Julie Garwood, Stella Cameron, Lisa Jackson, Joanna Wayne, Rebecca York, JoAnn Ross, Nina Bruhns, Heather Graham, and many other authors have written great books set in New Orleans.

  5. I have never been to New Orleans but would love to go. It does seem like I have read a book set in New Orleans but for the life of me I can’t remember the name right now but if I think of it I will come back and let you know.

  6. I have never been to N.O. but it has such wonderful food, great atmosphere and the music is fabulous. I love the Zydeco. I have read books set in N.O. which are memorable.

  7. I would love to go to New Orleans to see the amazing area and taste the foods. I don’t recall ever reading a book set there but would like to. Thanks for the picture of your group…everyone looks really happy.

  8. I’ve been to New Orleans twice, last time was this past spring. You are so right- it is a special place. Went on a school trip and stopped at Cafe du Monde with a group of our grad students- we all had their special coffee and a beignet. So your contest has a great prize. Read several books set in NOLA too.

  9. I was in New Orleans years ago for just a few days with my family. We really loved it! We did go to Cafe du Monde for some beignets – they was yuuummmy!

  10. New Orleans is awesome. I have only been there once, but I LOVED it and want to return again sometime. Cafe du Monde was great, the cemetery tours were great, the dinner river boat cruise on the Natchez boat was wonderful. I have such fond memories of that trip. Oh, and a walk through the Garden District is a must. Beautiful homes! Oh and I do love to read stories set in New Orleans.

  11. I’ve never been to New Orleans but have heard great things about it and Mardi Gras.

    I don’t believe I’ve read a book set there.

    Everyone get well soon and take care.

  12. I have never been to New Orleans, but I would love to go. New Orleans is one of my fave settings for books.

  13. Just stopping by to say beautiful family photo! And thank you for the awesome mystery prize I received today! Of course I’m not entering the contest…I just wanted to say thank you for brightening Monday and although I haven’t been to New Orleans, I think The Ialian Virgin Princess looks like another fantastic book by you!

  14. I have never been to New Orleans and would love to go (but not Mardi Gras time, too wild for me). I have read a few of Heather Graham’s books set there and they have gotten me wanting to go. It seems there is another book I read too, but can’t remember who wrote it off the top of my head. I love all the history and would love to visit the graveyards. Really, too many things to mention. it sounds like your party was a lot of fun. red velvet cake is one of my favorites. I love the photo of your family. Poor Mac and his accident. Hopefully he doesn’t remember it when he gets older.

  15. I have never been to New Orleans but it is someplace I would love to visit. It sounds like a really unique place. I know that I’ve read some stories set there but my memory fails me as to what they were. I hope everyone in your family is feeling better. We have been passing around a nasty sickness in our family and it was a miserable few days for me.

  16. Hi Jane,
    I have never been to New Orleans but would love to read one of your books that is set in New Orleans.


  17. Hi Jane 🙂 I have never been to New Orleans but would love to go sometime! I, too, love beignets but have never tried making them myself. I would love to win your Mardi Gras contest. Have a great week. Best always to you and your family…

  18. I haven’t been to New Orleans, but it defintely a place I would love to go to. I have many books set in New Orleans, although for the life of me, I can’t remember a single title.

  19. Sorry to hear you have some sick kiddos, Jane. I hope everyone is feeling better soon. I’ve never been to New Orleans and I don’t recall ever reading a book that took place there. I would love to make The Italian’s Virgin Princess, my first!

  20. I have never been to New Orleans but I would love to see it sometime. I have read books based there before though.

  21. Poor Mac! Poor mom and dad. That is so scary to have to take little ones to the ER.
    I hope the boys all recover from the flu quickly.

    I was really lucky to get to go to New Orleans with my Mom, Dad, two of my sister’s and a family friend.
    We were only there for three days but but boy did we take advantage of every minute we could.
    I agree, New Orleans is absolutely magical! From the food to the buildings, from the Garden District mansions to the swamp tours, and especially the people, everything in N’awlins seems to have a little extra somethin’ somethin’.

    Books…Sherrilyn Kenyon and Anne Rice have had books set in NOLA. I know I’ve read a gazillion more but those two authors came to mind.

    I just downloaded Fall In Love Like A Romance Writer. So fun to read, and your entry was so encouraging…a second and even more fabulous life can begin after 40!

    (Don’t enter me, I’ve won LARGE this year. I’m just grateful to have some girlfriend chatter while I’m stuck at home today.)

  22. Oh and one of my favorite things Bananas Foster at Brennan’s. You can get it at the Brennan’s at Downtown Disney now in Anaheim! (At least it’s within driving distance.) 🙂

  23. I’ve been to New Orleans 3 times. Love it. Love the food, music and cemeteries. Don’t like the humidity.
    Have you read Erica Spindler? She is really good.

  24. Never been there but it is one of my dreams.

    My daughter’s 12th birthday party was done with a Mardi Gras theme and we had a blast. I baked a doll in the cake, we had beads and masks, all kinds of fun…such beautiful colors..

  25. I’ve never been to New Orleans. And What is beignets ? 🙂 Never heard nor eat it. but it sounds Good !!

  26. I have never been to New Orleans but would love to one day.
    It looks like your family had a wonderful time.

  27. I have never been to New Orleans. I lived in Krotz Springs LA for a few years as a child but no Mardi Gras for me. I look forward to going after I relocate home to FL.I have never read a book about the city either.I have only watched movies about the area. Lovely picture. Thank you for sharing your adventures Jane. Although I have never been able to meet you, your blog magically brings you to Kansas. I hope your boys have a speedy recovery and momma doesn’t get sick.

  28. No, I have never been to New Orleans. I also can not think of any books off the top of my head that I’ve read with New Orleans as the setting……….

  29. I have never been to New Orleans, but it is on my list of places to visit in the next year or so. Definitely very high on my list, especially after you described it as foreign and fascinating and magical. And I am French so I should go!

    P.S. Love red velvet cake!!

  30. Hi Jane! I am so sorry your boys are sick. My girls had been sick…now I have it and am miserable. It seems to be a pretty bad year for all the crud going around. Hopefully your boys are better SOON!

    My husband and I have been to New Orleans once and we LOVED it! We had won the trip through a radio station. It was one of the best trips I have ever been on. It was during Mardi Gras so we were able to enjoy the crazy festivities. They also sent us to a big concert (Orpheus) where we got to meet Brad Paisley and Alan Thicke (from Growing Pains.) By the way, Brad Paisely, what an amazing guy. He is so friendly and down to earth!! One of the nicest guys you’ll meet.

    My only wish is that we would have extended our trip. We were only there a couple of days and had so much more we wanted to do! I was pregnant and had morning sickness at the time, so sight seeing wasn’t really on my agenda. I am kicking myself for not taking many pictures. I can’t believe I didn’t take more of the beautiful buildings and famous places. We did walk by Cafe Du Monde and were going to get beignets and never did. Still to this day have never had one! One day we will go back – I love that city!

  31. Hey Jane! Wow… Ouch, I had to grab my chin when I read about Mac’s ER visit. Fondly reminds me of all of the ER bracelets I had when I was little, lol.

    I have never been to NOLA. My friend Maria lives there now, and I see all the time on Facebook her commentary on the unique happenings going on down there. Sounds like a really fun time!! I know my brother-in-law has been there a ton of times. It was so close when I was in Pensacola, I don’t know why I never made it there :0/ C’est la vie; quelque jour ~

  32. Oh man, sick kids, so sorry Jane. I hope they’re feeling better soon.

    Never been to N.O. but now that we’re closer, we may end up there someday. I think I’ve read a book or two that have mentioned N.O. but at this moment I can’t think of them.

    My daughter Cera says hello!

    Have a blessed week!


  33. I have never been to New Orleans but absolutely love to make beignes. We have a recipe that is supposedly from Cafe de Monde but one never knows. It would be such a treat to try the real thing!

  34. Went to New Orleans a couple years ago and LOVED IT!!! The food there is unbelievable. Also went to Cafe Du Monde and had beignets and they were incredible. This is definetly a place I would like to go back to.

  35. LOVE the family pic, Jane!

    New Orleans is on my list of “someday”. And I really want to try beignets! Someday we’ll get there. Someday……

  36. I have never been to New Orleans. Hopefully that will change someday soon, it sounds like an amazing place.

    I hope your boys feel better soon!

  37. I have never been to New Orleans, but I enjoy books and movies set there – I loved “The Big Easy” and the music, too.

  38. Hi Jane! That’s such a great picture of you and your family!! So sorry your sons are sick; I hope they feel better soon! My parents took me and my sister to New Orleans a long time ago, and we had so much fun. We definitely ate our share of beignets. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back soon!

  39. Happy Shrove Tuesday. Yes, I went to New Orleans years ago. Unfortunately, I was on a business trip, so I didn’t have time to really “appreciate” the magic. But the Mississippi River was an awesome site.

  40. I have never been to New Orleans, but would love to go some day. I do love books that are set there though! I hope all your boys feel better soon 🙂

  41. so sorry to hear that you have the flu bug in your midst…hope they are feeling/doing better. i have never been to new orleans, but would love to go. (happy fat tuesday to you!) i would have to go there in my mom’s honor if i ever make it there. i have read some books set in new orleans. usually the descriptions that are written about it is a reason i am drawn to it; or maybe it has something to do with taking french in high school; or that i would love to listen to the music there…visiting paris is another dream trip i would love to make. take care jane…all the best to you and yours!

  42. I’ve never been to New Orleans, but would love to go some day.

    Off the top of my head, I believe Tami Hoag has a couple of books set in New Orleans and I do enjoy her romantic/thriller/suspense books.

  43. I’ve never stopped in New Orleans, just driven through it on my way from OR to FL. I loved Louisiana as a whole though, although after leaving in humid southern FL, I suspect LA would be even worse.

    I’m a big Christine Feehan fan and I’ve seen other books set there of course. Would still love to visit the city at some point.

  44. I’ve never been, but always wanted to. My job was going to send me there one year for a convention, but decided to attend one in Vegas instead. I had already visited Vegas two years before and really wanted to go somewhere I had never been.
    Its on my very long list of place to visit.
    The most recent book I’ve read set there was from Erica Spindler, Bone Cold.

  45. Jane,

    Never been there but would love to see it sometime! Last August at our Candle Business Convention we had a theme night of Mardi Gras. That was a lot of fun!!

    Happy Writing!!

  46. Hi Jane. Hope everyone is feeling better soon. We’ve missed the flu this year and I hope it keeps missing us!

    I went to New Orleans as a teen and would love to go back. It is so much fun there and I know what you mean about feeling like you are not in the US when you are in the French Quarter. My daughter hopes to take French next year so maybe that will be our excuse to head south…..

  47. We went to New Orleans for St. Patrick’s Day to have the experience of the parades without the craziness of Mardi Gras. Along with the beads, they throw cabbages and potatoes from the floats. We had a great time. We also love beignets!!

  48. Who Dat?! Heard N’awlins had proof that it was truly Heaven…after all, the professional Saints live there! My favorite history prof always spoke about “N’awlins”…it took us Easterners awhile to figure out he was talking about New Orleans! NOLA has always been on my “to go” list; just received a brochure yesterday from the Tourist Chamber. Dreaming of the day we can go to the bayou, drink French coffee and eat beignets, poo’boys, Moofalotta, and PRALINES! My husband loves jazz, zydeco and anything Cajun…the spicier the better. Planning and saving up now to make the dream a reality within the year. Going now to read that brochure. Here’s wishing you and your family feel better soon.

  49. Jane,

    I have never been to New Orleans or read a book based there. I have been on a Nicole Jordan spree on my Nook device on my iphone. Very addicting.


  50. Hi Jane! Hate to admit it but i have never been to New Orleans! Would absolutely love to go and love watching the Ellen show and her tales of Mardi Gras. I also saw Harry Connick Jr at the University i work at and in his show, he talked of New Orleans and mardi Gras and hoped everyone would have the chance to go there. I have been to a different Mardi Gras…when i was young, my dad was in the service stationed in Panama, yes Panama and i have memories of my twin sister and I peeking from a balcony overlooking a street where Mardi Gras was and seeing all these people in costumes and on stilts…if i ever talk about Panama, my memories turn to seeing this party of people happy in the streets, so if that counts, you let me relive a great memory from my past. Thanks!!!!

  51. I have not been to New Orleans but hubby has for work. He’s a truck driver. If Christine Feehan wrote a book set in New Orleans I’ve read it. It was a dark series book i believe but right now i can’t think which one it is. This is making me want to go re read some of her books though. lol I hope everyone’s feeling better soon Jane. Seems when the flu hits it hits the whole house. Hope it bypasses you. Hang in there.

    Lisa B

  52. Omg I can’t believe I forgot! One of my all time favorite books is set there-Lucky’s Lady by Tami Houg

  53. Happy FAT Tuesday! What a crazy day. All the goodies to indulge in. This could be dangerous.

    Sorry to hear you have a house full of the flu. Lots of chicken soup! Hope this passes without event.

    Love the family picture. Poor little Mac, he really did do a number on his chin. I remember hearing about him getting stitches, does seem to slow him down much!

    Look at all of that powered sugar! I know Cafe de Monde is known for absolutely burying their beignets in it! How fun! I was supposed to visit New Orleans last year and things fell through. It is definitely on my to do list. I have always wanted to experience the rich history and amazing energy it has to offer. I have been looking at next year, something I must do! What a fun give away! Whom ever wins this I know they will enjoy every calorie of it!

    Does reading a book of plantations and historical homes count as reading? The book was given to me by a friend from Louisiana. Authentic all the way! So many beautiful sites to see.

  54. I’ve never been there but I would love to go someday and I have never read a book set there before, so I need to go find one now and I need to find some time to actually sit down and read. It looks like you had a great dinner for Ty’s birthday. I hope everyone feels better soon and I hope you have a good week.

  55. Hi Jane,

    I haven’t been to New Orleans
    and actually I have never read a book played out there either.
    Feels like I’m missing out on something great.
    But maybe I can go there on vacation some time soon.
    Or the easy thing would be to just read your Harlequin 🙂

  56. Oh my gosh Jane, I too LOVE New Orleans!! I feel the same way about Honolulu too for the same reasons. Yhey are both so rich with their own unique, wonderful culture, language, food, gracious ways, architecture, and history. It feels like you’ve entered a foreign country without leaving the US! I love the magic of it too, the beautiful, eerie above-ground cemetaries, and the voodoo shops! Such incredible architecture. Anne Rice’s vampire series really brought this city to life for me.
    My mom’s family is from Louisiana orginally, she spent summers on her great aunt’s plantation “Oak Alley”…now a national treasure.
    So glad you had a chance to introduce this rich, wonderful place to your boys. =)

  57. What a great family picture!

    I never been to New Orleans but I do hope to be there one day.

    I read a few books set in New Orleans- the latest one was Southern Exposure by Karen Kelley.

  58. Happy Mardi Gras Jane,

    I have never been to New Orleans, but I have been to Lafayette which is about 1 hour north. They have the best food of any city I have have ever been to. I have never read any books that take place there, but have watched Most Haunted shows about the city 🙂

  59. Hola Jane, Hope the boys are feeling better. My 8 yr old had it about 4 wks ago and was not fun. She wanted why she got the injection if it didn’t work!

    Been to ‘The Big Easy’ several times, love it. Nothing like drinking a Hurricane at Patty’s after walking around the quarter.

  60. Now you’re talking. Can’t pass up this contest.

    I’ve been there many times as I grew up in Mississippi, my hometown only 3 hours away. I have MANY books on New Orleans, mostly non-fiction to fuel my long held fascination with the Storyville district. My favorite is a memoir by a Storyville Madame in the late 1800s / early 1900s, my favorite quotes of hers can be found here:

  61. I’ve never been to New Orleans, but do hope to visit someday. I love books set in New Orleans, especially those by Heather Graham.

  62. #51, Mary J you our my Mardi Gras New Orleans winner! Send me your mail address by a private email and I will get your signed book and fun New Orleans treats out to you ASAP!

    Love to all,


  63. Jane, Jane, Jane! I’m so excited…actually bouncing in my chair and there is no one around to tell…will be on the phone shortly to tell my Hubster! THANK YOU so very much<3. Hope everyone in your family is feeling better today.
    Mary J #51

      1. Yay Mary J! I could feel your enthusiasm coming through your post. You’ll have to tell us how those beignets cook up.

  64. Have been to NOLA several times and love it. Best eating, drinking, dancing, music town in the world. My last trip was a solo getaway just before Christmas and I got to see Aaron Neville and his band do a Christmas concert at the House of Blues … if you get the chance, see this man perform live, it is good for the soul. Have not read a book set there but open to suggestions.

  65. I have never been but definitely on my list! Sounds wonderful! I have seen the Princess and the Frog…LOL does that count? I can’t think off the top of my head anything else.
    I hope I win!

  66. I love New Orleans. The first time I went was on Union Business and I fell in love with this city. I continue to go back every year and it seems as I can never get enough. There is so much history in this city. Cafe du Monde is well known for its beignets. They are scrumptious..Hope you enjoy your trip and be safe…

  67. I LOVE New Orleans. I went there with my company (and my first ex husband) back before Katrina. We spent Halloween on Bourbon Street. I love the art and music that is simply EVERYWHERE you go there. You’re right, it does have a foreign feel to it. Very interesting culture.

  68. Hi Jane,

    Hope everyone is feeling better soon. Never been to NOLA, but it is a place I feel needs to be experienced. One of my favorite authors using that locale in her books… Anne Rice.
    (pardon my french… spelling)

  69. Congrats Mary J!

    Jane, could you please share your recipe for red velvet cake and frosting?

  70. I have never been to “nawlins” but I really want to go! With all the great food, music and mysticism who wouldn’t. As hard as I try I cannot think of a specific book that takes place in New Orleans but I have read a few Anne Rice books and I believe some of them take place there.

  71. Hope your guys are feeling like themselves very soon. I have never been to New Orleans but would love to. Right off hand I can’t think of any books I’ve read set in New Orleans either. I think I’m deprived.

  72. I’ve been to New Orleans–in July! It was so hot and humid, but that didn’t stop the tourist in me. I loved the food, history, and feeling. It was a great experience I’d love to repeat.

  73. Jane, I think it’s awesome that your Harlequin Presents can be downloaded as ebooks on Amazon. The Italian’s Virgin Princess has such a clever plot.

    And Congratulations to Mary J!

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