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Mardi Gras: A World Away

Mardi Gras season is here and the parades are about to roll!  If you didn’t make it this year,  put in on your calendar to reserve your spot early for the best show on earth.  We’ll be watching the parades from our doorstep and balcony at the Grand Victorian and some of the best sights are of the parade floats themselves.

Made locally here in New Orleans, you can take a behind the scenes tour at Mardi Gras World and view the artists at work making these beautiful floats year round.

Here are photos Innkeeper Bonnie Rabe took on a recent visit to Mardi Gras World for a first hand look at what you’ll find at one of our top recommended, unique and naturally New Orleans local tours.

Mardi Gras Floats




Mardi Gras Parade












Mardi Gras Parade


Get your crocodile smile on at Mardi Gras World; we’ll be posting more from the floats along the route.  Look forward to seeing you here soon!



Grand Victorian in the News!

The Grand Victorian has been spotted many times within the last month by local news. From preparing for the Mardi Gras festivities to recent increases in property taxes, owner and operator of the Bed and Breakfast, Bonnie Rabe, has made an impact in the New Orleans community.

Bonnie Rabe was praised by FOX8 for her compliance with the new property tax in the city. The hotel industry in New Orleans caters to hundreds of thousands of residents annually, especially during the Mardi Gras season. Unfortunately, of the 150 B&B’s in the city, 16% didn’t pay for their taxes this year. The funds from the taxes fuel city services including New Orleans Parish School Board, tourism marketing, the Superdome, and public transportation. Lawmakers are working hard to make the tax collection for hotel owners, like Bonnie, fair by finding new ways to collect the taxes.

The Grand Victorian was then featured on WDSU for its Mardi Gras preparation. Bonnie Rabe is featured preparing the house on St. Charles Avenue with extra fencing, porta potty, and festive banners. Even though preparation seems like a hassle, Bonnie loves the “electricity” of the Mardi Gras season. Guests and friends enjoy the convenience of the location to watch all of the Uptown parades and easy access to Uptown and Downtown festivities.

WWLTV sought Bonnie Rabe to hear her opinion on the illegal rentals in the city of New Orleans. With the influx of visitors in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, many people illegally rented facilities to out-of-towners. Sadly, this hurts small B&B’s like the Grand Victorian. The problem does not seem to be over as Jazz Music and Heritage Festival emerges.

Our Favorite King Cake Recipe

“If you’re stuck in an elevator [in New Orleans], you could make conversation with anyone about one of the three Fs: food, fishing and football.” Richard McCarthy, executive director that oversees local farmers markets, captures the essence of New Orleans. We may not be in football season or fishing season, but there’s always something cooking in the Big Easy. You can’t visit New Orleans without tasting the best of every cuisine. The city hosts over 1,500 restaurants that will please any palette.

As Fat Tuesday approaches, King Cakes have been flying off the shelves. The frosted purple, yellow, and green cake reminds everyone that the Mardi Gras festivities are approaching. Named after the biblical three kings, the cake hides a small trinket to symbolize baby Jesus. The person who receives the piece with the trinket inside is responsible for bringing the next King Cake. Bring a King Cake to your next meeting, class, or dinner party following our favorite recipe!

The Grand Victorian’s King Cake



•               1/4 cup butter

•               1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

•               1/3 cup sugar

•               1 teaspoon salt

•               2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast

•               1 tablespoon white sugar


•               1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)

•               2 eggs

•               6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided


Cream Cheese Filling

•               2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (16 ounces total)

•               1 egg

•               3/4 cup sugar

•               1/8 teaspoon salt

•               2 teaspoons vanilla


Colored Frosting

•               3 cups powdered sugar

•               3 tablespoons butter, melted

•               3 tablespoons milk

•               1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

•               2 drops green food coloring

•               2 drops yellow food coloring

•               2 drops blue food coloring

•               2 drops red food coloring


Colored sugars

•               1 1/2 cups white sugar

•               2 drops green food coloring

•               2 drops yellow food coloring

•               2 drops red food coloring

•               2 drops blue food coloring



Prep Time: 1 3/4 hrs

Total Time: 2 hrs

1.             1 Cook first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts; Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees.

2.             2 Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes; Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth; Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

3.             3 Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes; Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top; Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

4.             4 Using an electric mixer, mix cream cheese until smooth; Add egg and blend well; Add sugar, salt and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy; Set aside.

5.             5 Punch dough down; divide in half; Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle; Spread half each of cream cheese mixture on dough; Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side; Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet; Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and punching edges together to seal; Repeat with remaining dough and cream cheese mixture.

6.             6 Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

7.             7 Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.

8.             8 Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.

9.             9 COLORED FROSTINGS: Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter; Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla; Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.

10.          10 COLORED SUGARS: Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a zip-top plastic bag; seal; Shake and squeeze vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar; Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring; For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

Race to New Orleans on Valentine’s Day Weekend

Athletes and runners from all over the country love to race in New Orleans’ Rock n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon. The route winds through Uptown, the Garden District, St. Charles Avenue, and into the French Quarter. From Audubon Park to City Park, racers get to witness the beauty of the Crescent City under the southern live oak trees.

Whether you want to participate in the marathon, half-marathon, or as a spectator, this race is one you sure don’t want to miss. Rather than stand at the sidelines, ride the Streetcar as the racers follow the tracks. All of the donations from the race help the American Cancer Society. The fun begins on Sunday, February 13!

While you’re here, extend your stay through Valentines Day with your special someone. The Grand Victorian provides a romantic escape for every couple. Nestled in the Garden District, fine-dining establishments are only a walk or streetcar ride away. Return from a lively evening in the French Quarter or relaxed evening Uptown to a charming home on St. Charles. Wind down in our parlor, which is perfect for nestling by the fireplace.

There are also special events going on throughout the city to make this Valentine’s Day one-to-remember. New Orleans Glassworks is hosting “Wine and Design,” where couples can create works of art by glassblowing, paper marbling, or monoprinting. For a more traditional Valentine’s Day, join the Windsor Court Hotel for their annual Valentine’s Tea. There, you and your significant other can sip on passion fruit tea and passion fruit champagne cocktail with passion fruit mousse. And with thousands of one-of-a-kind restaurants throughout the city, you’re sure to find something that satisfies both of your taste buds.