New Orleans resident and burlesque dancer Harper Hexx, which is her stage name, performs in the 2019 Queen of Burlesque competition during the 11th annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival at the House of Blues Saturday, September 14, 2019. The festival last three days with burlesque and other performers including escape artists, tap dancers, comedians and magicians. The main event invites burlesque dancers from around the world to perform to the music of a live jazz band and the chance to be crowned Queen at the end of the night. Hexx finished as the second runner-up to Albadoro Gala, a burlesque dancer from Italy. Hexx began as an exotic dancer on Bourbon Street at age 19 and said the first time she took her top off on stage she got a feeling of pure adrenaline. She has had her ups and downs since then dancing in the French Quarter. She is a recovering alcoholic and says one of her low points was falling down drunk. Now she uses mediation and yoga to help keep her mind clear. She recently joined Bustout Burlesque created by Rick Delaup, who also runs the festival, and has rededicated herself to learn more about the art and history of burlesque dancing including meeting Kitty West, also known as Evangeline the Oyster Girl, before she passed this year. Harper Hexx performs as least once a week and feels that dancing, like her mediations, keeps her centered. Other performers in the competition include dancers Queen Etouffante, Petit Cheire, Demi Dior, Sheila Shortcake, Lil Steph, and singer Naydja CoJoe. Photo by Matthew Hinton

Fall isn’t the only good change in the air 🍂

Happy fall, y'all!

by Mary Staes | September 26, 2019

As the weather changes, so do the days of our lives. As we get closer and closer to the end of 2019, it’s a great time to reflect, reset your goals, and give yourself that high-five for everything you’ve accomplished thus far! This week we’re highlighting three great stories about growth, progression and overcoming obstacles. And for planning your pumpkin-spiced weekend to coincide with your fall feels, we also have your picks for celebrations, scary situations and musical harmonizations. Happy fall, y’all!


Ditching Booze for Burlesque

Glitter, heels, and an occasional snake or sword — these are the tools of the trade for burlesque dancer Harper Hexx. But it wasn’t always this way; Hexx uses her craft to help her deal with the darkness of being a former alcoholic. “Getting sober has been an awakening for me and given me a new fire for burlesque and performing,” she said in this touching and behind the scenes look into the mystery of one of the city’s top burlesque performers. 


Inside the Shop: Privy Label

From design to delivery, Privy Label has grown their fashion brand right here in the heart of New Orleans to clients all over the world — all made in the USA. Click here to meet the local duo who started in coffee shops but have since exploded their business thanks to the spaces that help them thrive within The Shop. (This story, showing you about local people building a business from the ground up to across the globe was created in partnership with The Shop at the CAC.)


Keeping the Pages Turning

In between Magazine Street and Tchoupitoulas, among all of the cottages and crepe myrtles in the heart of Uptown New Orleans, stands a large gray building with a cheery Adirondack chair logo. Octavia Books has been a neighborhood staple for over 19 years now, for many good reasons. The independent book retailer opened in the year 2000 – a time when many small bookstores were closing. Click here to hear from the owners how they keep readers and authors coming back to their store in the digital age.


What’s Happening This Weekend

Fri. Sept. 27, 2019

Freelancer Friday | 9-5 p.m. | The Shop at the CAC | Free

Need a change of venue for work? Very Local New Orleans is hosting Freelance Friday, where you can come work in the gorgeous Shop at the CAC coworking space for free. It’s a great place to network, get some work and done and meet new people!

Black and Gold Fan Fest | 12-1 p.m. | Hancock Whitney Center | Free

Looking for something to do during lunch? The Hancock Whitney Center is teaming up with the Saints to hold a fan fest ahead of the Dallas game, with ticket giveaways and special appearances by former Saints players and Saintsations.

Love in the Garden | 6:30 p.m. – Midnight | New Orleans Museum of Art | Tickets start at $75

NOMA’s annual fall soiree in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden offers a night of dancing, food and drinks under the stars. This year is the first time the patron party will be held in the sculpture garden’s new expanded area. Food vendors include Antoine’s, Apolline, Fogo de Chao, Houston’s and Superior Seafood.

Sat. Sept. 28, 2019

Chevron Walk to End HIV | 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Woldenberg Park | Suggested donation of $10

This fundraiser supports the need to find a cure for HIV and support those living with the virus. The route is 2-miles long and registration starts at 8 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10 a.m.

NOLA Horror Film Fest | 2 p.m. – Midnight | Prytania Theatre | Tickets start at $35

This four-day film festival is curated by horror filmmakers for horror fans. Saturday is jam-packed with comedy and sci-fi shorts and three feature films.

Sun. Sept. 29, 2019

Harry’s Wondrous World presented by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra | 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, Loyola University | $15 for adults, children 14 and under free

Muggles, get yourselves together and gather at the closest thing New Orleans has to Hogwarts (Loyola University, of course) for the sounds of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The LPO kicks off it’s Family Series with score selections from the Harry Potter series, and if you arrive early you’ll even have a chance to interact with the orchestra members and their instruments. Accio LPO!

What Else You Should Know

Mary Staes

Mary Staes

Mary Staes is Digital Content Lead for Very Local. She works with our freelancers and crafts content for our social media platforms and website. Before Very Local, she worked with CBS affiliate WWL-TV as a web producer and weekend assignment editor for about 4 years. She has also handled broadcast coverage for 160 Marine Reserve training facilities while she served as an active duty Marine. As a native New Orleanian, she takes being "very local" to heart. She loves being intertwined with the culture and figuring out how there are less than two degrees of separation between us all, whether we're natives or not.

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