Axios New Orleans

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πŸ₯£ Hey, friends. It's Holy Thursday, which means it's time for gumbo z'herbes at Dooky Chase's.

Today's weather: Beautiful and sunny with a high near 71.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios New Orleans member Amelia Matier!

🎧 Sounds like: "Going On" by Saturday's Freret Street Festival co-headliners Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes.

Today's newsletter is 884 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: πŸ–οΈ Spring break is here

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Spring break starts tomorrow for many New Orleans schools.

Why it matters: More Americans are traveling for spring break this year compared with last year, AAA data shows.

The big picture: Cruises and Florida beach trips are the most popular options with travelers this year, AAA says.

  • Gulf Shores, Destin and 30A are beach favorites for New Orleanians. Bay St. Louis also is an easy day trip.
  • Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are popular too.

Between the lines: Our spring break is a little later than elsewhere in the country, but schools here also get out a week for Mardi Gras.

Zoom in: Spring break is one of the busiest times of the year for cruises out of New Orleans, Port of New Orleans spokesperson Kimberly Curth tells Axios.

  • All cabins on every vessel are full, she said. Many cabins have three to four passengers per cabin this time of year instead of two.

Meanwhile, about 6% more Americans are expected to fly for spring break compared with last year, TSA says.

  • Specific numbers for New Orleans weren't available, but other big airports like O'Hare in Chicago project today will be the busiest day for spring break travel.
  • Bookings for international spring break trips are up 20% compared with last year, AAA says. Top destinations are London, Paris, Rome, Dublin and Amsterdam.

Friction point: Parking often fills up during peak travel times at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

  • Spots were available in all the garages this morning, according to the airport's real-time tracker. Note that prices went up this month.
  • Travelers are encouraged to use ride-share services or pre-book a parking space.

Go deeper to learn about "coolcations"

2. πŸ‘€ March Madness gets madder

LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey is no stranger to controversy, and a forthcoming Washington Post story may prove distracting as her team advances in March Madness. Photo: Andy Hancock/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

LSU women's basketball is getting ready for the NCAA Sweet 16 this Saturday as off-the-court drama swirls around Kim Mulkey's Tigers.

Why it matters: A forthcoming report from the Washington Post's Kent Babb could prove distracting as the team angles for its second straight championship win.

The big picture: A tweet from Sports Illustrated columnist Pat Forde that teased the Post story last weekend sent the rumor mill churning.

  • No stranger to controversy, Mulkey addressed the report in a press conference last Saturday, saying a reporter had spent two years putting "a hit piece together," requesting an interview over that stretch of time.
  • Mulkey said the reporter asked for a response to more than a dozen questions last week.
  • "Are you kidding me?" Mulkey said, calling the deadline "ridiculous" and "an attempt to distract us from this tournament."

Meanwhile, LSU plays UCLA on Saturday in Albany. The game airs at noon on WGNO.

State of play: LSU holds a 4-2 all-time-record over UCLA.

  • Whoever wins will face the winner of the Iowa-Colorado game.

What's next: The story has yet to be published, and Mulkey said she would sue the Washington Post "if they publish a false story about me."

3. Fully Dressed: Cantrell launches podcast

Photo illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Erika Goldring/Stringer via Getty Images

πŸŽ™οΈ Mayor LaToya Cantrell is launching a podcast. The first episode of "NOLA Insight" will record today with a live event. (Axios New Orleans)

🚰 Gov. Jeff Landry's SWBNO task force recommended replacing the utility's governing board with a temporary state-run version. (NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune πŸ”’)

πŸ”Ί A red clay mound was erected on the Lafitte Greenway. A project for the arts event Prospect New Orleans, it's intended to draw attention to the needs of Louisiana's native and coastal communities. (See a photo)

▢️ State lawmakers advanced an immigration bill similar to one in Texas that's already facing legal challenges. If passed, police could arrest people they suspect of being in Louisiana illegally. (WWNO)

4. πŸ‡ Easter parades, CCC and more things to do

The French Quarter is home to three Easter parades on Sunday. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

⛸️ Disney on Ice presents "Frozen & Encanto" tonight through Sunday. (Details)

πŸƒ The Crescent City Classic races from downtown to City Park on Saturday morning. (Details)

🍻 Carousel Gardens at City Park offers an adults-only night with Bunny Hops on Saturday. Tickets include beers at three open bars and an adult Easter egg hunt. (Details)

πŸ‘ Hasizzle hosts an All White & Pastel Affair at the Brass Hall on Saturday night. (Details)

🍺 The New Orleans Bunarchy, a costumed bar hop benefiting animal shelters, is Saturday. (Details)

🐰 Easter parades on Sunday include:

  • The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade rolls at 9:45am, beginning at Antoine's Restaurant. It breaks for the 11am Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral, then begins again when it concludes at noon. NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune has the route.
  • The French Quarter Easter Parade, nΓ©e the Chris Owens Easter Parade, rolls at 1pm. (Route)
  • The Gay Easter Parade rolls at 4:30pm. (Route)

🎞️ The Broad Theater hosts an annual Easter screening of "Jesus Christ Superstar" on Sunday. (Details)

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5. 🐣 Go creepy egg hunting

The Krewe of Krampus made plaster Peeps and decorated them. Some Krampus Kreeps are creepy, like this clown, while others are beautiful and look like disco balls. Photo: Courtesy of Krewe of Krampus

The Krewe of Krampus is spicing things up this Easter with the Krampus Kreeps egg hunt.

The big picture: Krampus members are hiding 100 Kreeps in the city, Metairie and the North Shore through Easter Sunday, krewe captain Mike Esordi tells Axios.

  • The Kreeps are made of plaster and shaped like marshmallow Peeps. They are decorated by hand and put in recycled paper eggs.
  • It's the third year Krampus has hidden Kreeps.

How it works: There are no clues.

  • "We just want it to be a random act of happiness that somebody stumbles on these eggs," Esordi said.

See pictures of more Kreeps

πŸ–οΈ Carlie is thrilled she was able to book a spring break child care camp for next week because Mama's gotta work.

🚧 Chelsea really wants one of those viral traffic cone hair clips.

Tell the Easter Bunny to subscribe.

Thanks to our editor Fadel Allassan and copy editor Carlin Becker.