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NOLA by Day: Mondays in New Orleans

Mondays aren’t mundane in the Crescent City.

Folks in New Orleans are immune to contracting a case of the Mondays because every day of the week is packed with fun. Mondays have special significance in New Orleans history, as well, mainly because it’s the day for that classic Creole dish, red beans and rice. The reason so many people eat red beans and rice on Mondays in New Orleans is that it’s so easy to make. Traditionally, Monday was “wash day” for many households, and that was a big production, particularly after a busy weekend. Before the days of washing machines with timers and automation, back when “dryer” meant “clothesline” out in the backyard, there wasn’t a lot of time in the day to give cooking much attention. Still, the family had to be fed, so the easiest thing to do was to put a pot of red beans on and let them simmer most of the day. And Monday traditions don’t stop at eating. Keep reading for a few other ways you can live your best Monday in the Crescent City.

Fried chicken and red beans and rice from Dunbar’s (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Eat

In modern-day New Orleans, red beans and rice has gone from being a practical dinner tradition to a New Orleans menu staple at restaurants across the city. Grab some exceptional beans at Joey K’s on Magazine Street or Sammy’s Food Services & Deli on Elysian Fields. Other hotspots include Johnny’s Poboys, Mother’s Restaurant, The Praline Connection, and Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Remember, it may sound like a vegetarian dish, but many red beans and rice preparations include meat. Check with your server if you have any special dietary requirements or restrictions.

NOMA
The New Orleans Museum of Art (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Work Out

To help you detox from a debaucherous New Orleans weekend, Monday is a great night for some Tai Chi at the New Orleans Museum of Art with Terry Rappold from the East Jefferson Wellness Center at 6 p.m. Tai chi is a great way to cultivate focus and energy, which are much needed to start the week off on the right foot. The class is $5 to drop in and free for NOMA and East Jefferson Wellness Center members.

Enjoy live music at Snug Harbor on Mondays (Photo: Justen Williams)

Jam Out

Monday is a good a night as any in New Orleans for some stellar live music. Head over to The Irish House at 7 p.m. for some great Irish eats as you listen around the fireplace to the music of a Traditional Irish Session, and even join in if you like. If you’re around Frenchmen Street, catch one of Charmaine Neville‘s two shows at Snug Habor at 8 and 10 p.m. You can also go next door and hit d.b.a. to see Glenn David Andrews at 10 p.m. For the real local New Orleans experience, check out King James and the Special Men for their Blue Monday set complete with red beans and rice. There’s no bad day to catch a live band and never a shortage of live music in this town.

Author of five books on the history of New Orleans, Edward Branley is a graduate of Brother Martin High School and the University of New Orleans. Edward writes, teaches, and does speaking engagements on local history to groups in and around New Orleans. His urban fantasy novel, "Hidden Talents," is available online and in bookstores. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, @NOLAHistoryGuy.

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