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Turtles On Parade

Submitted by on March 7, 2015 – 8:06 amNo Comment

turtleNew Orleans does celebrate in its own style. For St. Patrick’s Day — an entire weekend is required.

From March 13 through 15, 2015 the streets throughout the Louisiana city, from the Irish Channel to the French Quarter, will fill with revelers donning the ritual shamrock-green with carnations in hand.

New Orleans restaurateur Ralph Brennan will add a new tradition. The eatery has had the good fortune to adopt a family of turtles — ten of them to be exact, and as green as they come — who inhabited the fountain pool under a canopy of greenery in the legendary courtyard of Brennan’s, 417 Royal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Now, after nineteen months of displacement in a makeshift home in the backyard of corporate executive chef Haley Bittermann, the turtles will parade on decorative wagons down the green-carpet, led by a bag-pipe procession in “the slowest second line on earth”.

The festive journey back to their renovated home-sweet-home starts at 10:30 a.m. March 14, 2015 (who knows how long it’ll take?).

As “Breakfast at Brennan’s” has become part of the N’Awlins parlance — so will “Turtles at Brennan’s”. And no family pet of Brennan’s could go unnamed, co-owner Terry White, Ralph, Haley, and the Brennan’s team tapped into the traditions of New Orleans cooking and its French roots, choosing first the harmonious names of the five “Mother Sauces” of classical French cuisine, so essential to New Orleans fare: Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomate, and Velouté. But five more names were needed. In the distinctive local lingo, the good Louisiana Samaritans dubbed them “The Muthas and the Othas,” the “othas” bearing the names of five other sauces that complete a New Orleans menu: Remoulade, Ravigote, Bordelaise, Mignonette and Cocktail (the only male out of the ten.)

What’s a parade without a float? For their big arrival, the turtles must ride in style, so the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group has provided materials to the children of the Brennan’s staff to create custom-festooned green-hued wagons. There will be eleven in all – the leading float, “Home on the Range,” sets the theme for the entire procession, a play on words honoring Brennan’s old-fashioned stove top range that became the foundational “home” to the mother sauces that adorned the restaurant’s classic dishes. Following close behind is a float for every green king and queen, each portraying the meaning behind its namesake mother sauces: Béchamel will pay tribute to its components with illustrated sacks of flour and cartons of milk, while Mignonette will be embellished in rosy-vinegar-pink and sparkling pearl oyster shells.

That morning, all are invited to join in a complimentary celebratory toast to welcome the “lucky” extended family in their own parade, the Krewe of Turtles, as they return to their Court in the patio, adding fauna to the flora of their lush historic residence.

(Photo courtesy of Brennan’s)

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