Saturday, March 13, 2010

Waxing Nostalgic about O'Harmony

I woke up this morning and had that "Did I forget something?" panicky feeling.  Then, I remembered.  For the past five years, I was up at 6:00 am on the morning of the annual Irish Channel St. Patty's Day parade.  Normally, Beau would be making the keg and ice run right about now, and I would be zhushing the perfectly tacky shamrock decorations waiting for our friend Jody to arrive and "arrange" the 300 pieces of Popeye's chicken and biscuits.  You see, we lived "on da route" of the parade and, therefore, we were required to host quite a bash each year.

This year, on the other side of the Park in a quieter neighborhood with lawns and parking, I do have a tiny twinge of melancholy, missing our first home, Little Harmony aka "Lil Harms" as we called her.  (She stands proud on Harmony Street...what a befitting street name for newlyweds, right?)

Here is the before.  A brave brave soul bought her and fixed her "for us."

Here she is in all of her MLS glory.  Pocket sized.

Naturally, after five years in a teeny tiny house, we began to feel cramped.  We put her on the market last January, and we sold her to a precious young couple in May.  It was a wonderful feeling to sell in this challenging real estate market and move on to a bigger house in a "more residential" neighborhood, but incredibly bittersweet. 

We bought Lil Harms when we had different jobs and had only been married for a couple of months.  She was tiny, but charming, and she was located one block off of a great part of Magazine Street, two doors down from a dog park.  At the time, it was the best part of Magazine (to us) because it had the most bars and lots of take out restaurant options.  I remember making the decision to buy her and saying that we could walk Indie to CC's every weekend for coffee and the paper....and we did.  Pretty much every weekend.  We sort of took a risk buying her because the block was "up and coming," and the neighborhood still changing.  Let's just say it was a decision that we made and never looked back.  No regrets! 

Lil Harms stayed strong during Katrina, not losing a shingle.  She welcomed us back when the curfews were still imposed, street lights off, and we had to eat dinner at the Bulldog each night because the grocery stores weren't open yet.  She shared her sidewalk parking space with the National Guard's military vehicles.  She housed a stream of displaced friends and family members, lending her minute guest room to my brother so he could finish his Senior year of high school back in New Orleans.  She hosted Christmas because she was the only spot for our immediate family to gather over the holidays in 2005.  She was the venue for bachelorette parties and baby showers, keg parties and graduation gatherings.  Her guest room provided respite to my brother-in-law during his tedious first year of law school and housed my sister when she moved back home to New Orleans, without a home to go to. 

She allowed us to make some serious decorating gaffes and helped me discover my true passion for home design.  Lil Harms first featured a metal futon in the guest room and my college sofa in the den and eventually "grew up" a bit to welcome our "real person" bedroom set and living room chairs.  She had no yard, but a tiny "patio" area that my mom and I worked diligently to turn into a four by four "outdoor living space." Not sure if we succeeded, but we had a fun time doing it. 

We learned how to be married (still learning!) and how to be professionals (still learning that, too!) during our time with her.  Indie learned how to be a big puppy instead of a little puppy and stopped chewing up shoes and jumping on the furniture (kind of) at Lil Harms.  We both think we grew up the most in our lives during our time there. (Someone celebrated a thirtieth birthday and passed the bar there, too...)  So many memories....hilarious, sad, fun, weird, happy. 

Ahhh, no regrets, but I felt the need to pay tribute to Lil Harmony on her most glorious day of the year, parade day!  I sincerely hope the new owners are keeping up the tradition and hosting a wild party....we are actually nervous that some out of the loop revelers may just show up, not knowing that we have moved! 

Not quite ready to retire these.

Onto some critical information regarding St. Patty's Day, whether you are in Nola for the parade or celebrating elsewhere....drinkie poos!  Of course, gimlets are green.  Let's talk about gimlets first and then I will provide you with some good (and odd) choices. 

Gin Gimlet

1/2 Gin of choice.
1/2 Rose's Lime juice (I read somewhere that the only "real" gimlet is one with Rose's, not even fresh lime!)
Twist of lime

Festive and green.  I personally prefer vodka over gin. 

Now, I love champers more than a gimlet.  Therefore, I had to search for "champagne cocktails" online.  There were some interesting "Irish themed" options.  Most of which scared me.  Naturally, I had to share them with you, too.

1 shot of midori
1 shot of Irish whiskey
1 shot of sake

What are your thoughts on this one? I think it sounds repulsive. 

The name scares me.

1 shot of creme de menthe

I think this combination could be delightful?  It looks gross in a wine glass though.  Perhaps toss it all in a champers flute.  Gotta love Domaine Carneros Taittinger...not sure if I could ruin it with Creme de Menthe!


I like to think I made this guy up.  I probably didn't, but I must say that he looks very cute, especially out on the parade route.

Vodka, chilled

Garnish with small new potatoes, corn, and carrots boiled in shrimp boil.

Add green food coloring if you truly want to get crazy.

I will try to find a pic of us with our O'Tinis one year and scan it in!

May you have a St. Patty's Day full of luck and love, and may your own home sweet home always be filled with family and friends.


P.S.  If you live in New Orleans and/or happen to be visiting this weekend for the parade, the corner of Magazine Street and Harmony Street is a prime place to watch the parade.  It gets packed EARLY, but it is a great spot.  We used to set up right next door/in front of Design Within Reach, between Harmony and Ninth.  Have fun!


P.P.S.  Don't forget to Spring forward!


  1. What a great post! I started to tear up a little reflecting on all that has happened between the time that yall bought and sold her. What a great house. So many awesome memories.

  2. I didn't just tear up like Jennifer. I am streaming tears - happy and nostalgic. The street may be named Harmony, but you and Beau created the harmony for so many people in that little house, especially in 2005-06. It will always have a little of your spirit in it. And now on to John James Street, which already has your ruah in it. I love you. Mom

  3. I wasn't just tearing up; I am streaming. The street may be named Harmony but you both gave the harmony to all who entered. So many people crossed that threshold into warmth and hospitality. Some of your spirit remained there. Now you're on John James Street breathing your special ruah into it. I love you. Mom

  4. "Arise My Irish Love"- my new favorite cocktail name!

    I am sad reading this post because I totally missed the boat on the annual Harmony St Paddy's party! Always meant to go, but never did...ah well... I will comfort myself with a glass of O'Tini and cry into the night...

    Other suggestions for green St Paddy's drinks: margaritas of course! Jennifer's Mr. Marg is ready to go! Just throw a plastic shamrock swizzle stick in there and you're good to go!

  5. It felt so weird to watch the parade on Louisiana this year - something kept pulling me towards Harmony/Magazine. I think your sentiments about your first house are right on - C and I feel the exact same way about Soniat - it is truly where we grew up and first learned to be a team.

  6. Reading about Lil Harms from Beirut seriously made me cry. A simply beautiful post. Even if you have moved away, you and B. remain pure Harms.

  7. Come by Wed. We live near Parisols on Washington Ave.
    Love Lil Harms.
    Great post.
    xo xo
    PS Please ditch moderation and having to type in those letters.

  8. Ditto to the tears ... I know I was a latecomer to Lil Harms but loved every second of it. This may be my fave post of all time.