Very Local NOLA’s Best Stories of 2019

What a year! From trying out a joint that the rowdy restaurateur and cranky critic, Gordon Ramsay, revamped and getting our greasy hands on 82 inches of Popeyes, to the heartwarming stories of fighting mental health with food, we’ve told so many of your stories. Here’s the top five items on what you loved this year the most.

by Clint Durrett
December 26, 2019

What a year! From trying out a joint that the rowdy restaurateur and cranky critic, Gordon Ramsay, revamped to getting our greasy hands on 82 inches of Popeyes, and to the heartwarming stories of fighting mental health with food, we’ve told so many of your stories. Here’s the top five items on what you loved this year the most.


1. We went to the Trolley Stop post-Gordon Ramsay makeover


Trolley Stop (Jan 2019)

In January, New Orleans Twitter gathered ’round to watch the season 2 premiere of “24 Hours to Hell and Back,” featuring St. Charles Avenue landmark — The Trolley Stop Cafe. In typical Gordon Ramsay fashion, he shredded the restaurant to bits, exposing the diner’s dirty dishes: moldy cheese (for nachos that nobody orders here), handling of raw meat, and a really, really gross grill. By the end of it, we wondered if the new kitchen equipment was just an easier fix than having to clean the gunk off the old stuff. After all was shred and done, we went and tried it out. 


2. ‘Sucré’ Bleu!


Sucré on Magazine Street closes its doors after 13 years. The confectionary opened in 2007 and opened two other locations in the metropolitan area. (Photo Credit: Megan Mackel)

After the not-so-sweet news of Sucré’s confectionary’s closure this year, local business owners started rallying around those who lost their jobs or dessert orders. It started with Bywater Bakery saying it would pick up the orders for customers of the confectionary. Then y’all stepped up and gave us the scoop on the multiple businesses, like Gambino’s Bakery and Shipley’s Doughnuts, posting  job openings for those who were going to be out of work. Photographers offered free headshots for Sucré former employees that they can use for their resumes. Y’all are sweet!


3. Spread Your Wingspan


The behemoth Popeyes box won’t fit in a car.

Only in New Orleans is it acceptable to shuffle our morning meetings for 77 Popeyes chicken wings, and that’s exactly what happened this year. The Wingspan Box (named after Zion Williamson’s wingspan) was only available on draft day, because, you-know-who was coming to play for the Pelicans. And what New Orleans celebration doesn’t have Popeyes Chicken? None that we would want to attend. We put a shoutout on social media for a #ChickenKrewe and y’all joined in to help us secure one of the sacred Wingspan boxes. We still have it in our office as a trophy. 


4. Get Ya Mind Right

Blake Cressey (Photo: Noah Ingram)

The first Get Ya Mind Festival was held this year. The festival targeted breaking down the barriers that often prevent people of color and underrepresented groups from seeking help with mental health issues. Blake Cressey, the founder of the festival and owner of Tasty Treat Food Truck and Restaurant, started it with hopes the fest would bring awareness and access to services while removing the cultural stigma that often impedes minorities’ access to mental health services. For Cressey, mental health awareness is more than just another reason to have a festival. The issue was personal. 


5. Probably This

Beau Ciolino and Matt Armato (ProbablyThis)

It is incredibly difficult not to like Beau Ciolino and Matt Armato. Here they are, lounging around, looking effortlessly chic amidst their mid-century modern decor. There they go, holding hands on a French Quarter street. Now watch them shake up a new cocktail and pen a new recipe for a Thanksgiving dessert, then read about how it came to be with Ciolino’s wry humor describing the process. We met with one of the most influential social media accounts in NOLA, and y’all fell in love.


Editor’s Note: What’s next?

With 2020 on the horizon, we can’t wait to see what you guys love from us next! I’d personally like to thank all of our writers, photographers and, of course, my staff for all the hard work on putting together everything you enjoy from Very Local NOLA. Countless hours are poured into this site from us and people behind the scenes that I’ve bugged at all hours of the day (and night) to make sure this is running properly for you. I love hearing what stories matter to you. Your love and excitement for New Orleans are what drives me to keep pushing and putting together everything you enjoy. If you have a story idea, a hot tip, a funny joke (I love puns), or want to partner with us, email us at [email protected]. See y’all in 2020. – Clint

Hi. I’m Clint. I’m the Local Market Manager for Very Local New Orleans. I’ve lived in New Orleans since 2001 and been living my best life in this rad place since that year. I have 10 years of broadcast journalism and digital media experience. Before Very Local New Orleans, I worked for WDSU-TV – producing, product developing, digital media managing– I’ve done it all. I’ve seen first-hand the trials we’ve suffered in this city and the celebrations we’ve enjoyed. I love New Orleans. It’s home. I’m going to work my hardest to bring you the content and experiences you care...

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