Andrea Chen

How has the landscape changed over the past few years in regards to community organizations and start-ups supporting neighborhoods and the environment? 

What should someone add to their bucket list for experiencing New Orleans and the surrounding Parishes?

Morning stroll through the French Quarter before 9am and sunrise on the levee.
Bike ride through the new Crescent Park, followed by brunch at Cake Cafe.
Sipping iced coffee and watching the roosters outside of The Orange Couch.
Dancing with the tap dancers on Frenchmen Street.
Staying out late for 70's funk at DJ Soul Sister's Saturday night hustle.
Going to the Krewe du Vieux parade.
Checking out the hipsters in the Bywater.

What does it mean to be a New Orleanian?

It means you might be a lot or a little crazy. You like to lounge on your porch and know what's going on with all your neighbors.   You like to talk about what you ate recently.  It also means that you have a high tolerance for things like knocked down street lights and potholes.  But mainly that you are proud to live in New Orleans, and you don't really want to live anywhere else.

What neighborhood do you live in?

What is great about your street and block?

I live next door to the old Hubig's Pie factory that burned down a few years ago.  What was great about my block back then was that the factory workers always watched out for me, and I could always get a hot pie off the conveyor belt.  My neighbor who owns the B&B took me antiques shopping when I first moved in, and all my neighbors still ask me how my mom is doing.  Nowadays, the Chewbaccus parade and other random street parades come right in front of my front porch.
And, there are tons of places to get food, not just the Mardi Gras Zone.

Who do you respect as creators of culture and great community members and why?

I respect all the people who start their own parades, build really awesome mechanical floats, work on their costumes all year long, and host amazing parties and crawfish boils.
Basically, all the crafty people
who, in their free time, from the Mardi Gras Indians to the science teacher who makes his tuba out of pvc pipe, value finding time to have fun and make fun for other people.  I look up to these people.

Snowball flavor
Wedding cake
How do you do Mardi Gras Day?
Everyone converges at my house on Mardi Gras Day around 8am in costume.   I bake those out of the tube cinnamon rolls, make eggs, mimosas, bloody mary's, etc.  And we turn up the music and put on the final touches! We roll out to the corner of Mimi's, maybe jump into the boxing ring, check out the costumes, enjoy posing for tourist photos, and then roll with Saint Anne's.  We usually split off at Esplanade to catch the  tail end of Zulu at Basin Street.  Sometimes I try for coconuts, but I usually get tired.  In my younger days, I would head back to the French Quarter to Fiorella's for fried chicken and then on to Frenchmen Street to dance with the drum circles until it got dark.

But last year I headed back home before 2pm, everyone came back with me, and we ended up watching tv, taking naps, and eating pizza.

Your favorite Dirty Coast shirt design?

It's a toss up between DJ Soul Sister for President and DJ Soul Sister for Mayor.  I have both and wear them both equally often.

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