New Orleans New Year’s Eve

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - December 26, 2007
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Most times, having a pint of Guinness with a friend can be a relaxing experience. You savor those rich, nutty flavors and marvel at the way the creamy head remains until the last drop is drained from the glass. But sometimes, particularly if you’re Don Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Bar and Grill, and Kurt Osaki, co-owner of the Hukilau (and the man who designed the UH logo), a quiet drink can turn into, well, something a whole lot bigger.

“We were having a drink at the Hukilau,” says Murph, “and we got to thinking about what all the Hawaii people were going to do in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve. We thought it might be fun to organize a party for UH fans.”

When the man who organizes the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in the Pacific is on the team, you can be sure the party’s going to be huge.

“We’re expecting about 3,000 people,” says Murph.

The group has rented

Generations Hall, an ex-sugar refinery built in the early 1820s, as their venue. It’s a great-looking building with a lot of New Orleans style. There’s a French Quarter garden, four dance floors, vaulted ceilings and art that depicts the history of jazz in New Orleans.

And, in a typically Hawaii-style twist, Na Koa will donate proceeds from the event to Habitat for Humanity’s efforts in New Orleans, while the owner of Generations Hall will match the donation with a monetary gift to Na Koa.

“It turned out real well for everyone,” says Murph.

The Mardi Gras-style party will feature Cajun food stations, live entertainment and live Cajun and bluegrass bands. June Jones will be there, topping off the most magical football season in history, as will the UH band and cheerleaders. And if you go, you’ll be surrounded by friends and kindred spirits. Tickets to the bash are $125, and you can pick them up at Murphy’s, Hukilau Honolulu, the aio Group, or at

And if you feel the need to let the good times roll here at home, there’ll be plenty of places adding a little sugar and some Cajun spice to their regular menus Jan. 1. There’s a big party planned at Blaisdell Arena with free admission, giant TV screens and live food stations; and at

Brasserie Du Vin on Bethel Street expect some authentic Creole cooking. Executive Chef Scott Nelson is from New Orleans and often lets his Southern spirit loose in the kitchen. He’ll be serving Cajun specials along with the regular menu on Sugar Bowl Tuesday. And one of the city’s most popular steak houses has its home in New Orleans. Ruth’s Chris Steak House was founded by Ruth Fertel in 1965, and now has more than 100 locations around the globe. Jeff Blair was corporate chef for Ruth’s Chris in New Orleans for 17 years and responsible for 50 restaurants. He’s just joined the executive team in Hawaii, and he’s making sure that the Cajun spirit is alive and well at the steak house.

“We’re reviving some favorites for the holiday, like our Porterhouse 40-ounce steak for two,” says Jeff, “and guests can expect plenty of Southern-style hospitality at Ruth’s Chris over the holidays.”

Get to either location early Jan. 1 if you want to grab one of the seats at the bar. You might not be in New Orleans, but you can toast the Warriors with a great glass of wine.

Wherever you are, and whatever you eat, have a Happy New Year. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Happy eating!

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