Archive for the ‘Noche de garufa’ Tag

2008 UNA NOCHE DE GARUFA   Leave a comment

December 27, 2008

Tonight’s the Night! Una Noche de Garufa.

This is the time we all come together to break bread, and raise a glass to the passing year, and the year ahead, to each other for having survived another year to dance a tango!

9 PM – ???
Delish Buffet!
The Best Tango Music!
Midnight Champagne Toast!
Hats and Horns!
Woo Hoo!
Dress Up!
Una Noche de Garufa!
The Country Club of New Orleans

Listen to Una noche de garufa by Ricardo Tanturi

It was a balmy New Orleans winter night. Thankfully there was no fog to impair comings and goings to the Country Club of New Orleans. The grand old house was lighted up, a beacon for the revelers. La Mariposa had it all decked out. The tables were set, the banquet laid. Another year had passed, and we came to celebrate the tango and friends.

Though our ranks may be depleted by a heart breaker named Katrina, we put on our glad rags and smiles, and embraced one another.

Once a year we come together to break bread, to take a meal together, to lift a glass or two in the name of friendship and tango. Then tables and chairs are pushed back, and Tangoman cranks up the music. Dinner conversation gives way to the embrace moving us around the floor to the heartbeat of the tango.

Midnight comes, and free flowing Champagne uncorked. Toasts given to those gone, and to those here missing them; eyes shining and bright. We have lived another year to dance another tango.

Thank you one and all for making this first post Katrina Una Noche De Garufa possible again.

This year end tango party started in 2000 at Pierre Masperos. Then one was held at Antoines in the amazing Japanese Room. And the best ones were held on Octavia Street at The House of Tango. There was also a great one at The Latin American Club on Magazine Street. As ever, intrepid hosts and ring leaders Mariposa and Tangoman, planned, cleaned, shopped, hung decorations, cooked, organized, provided music (live and the best recorded tango), invited all to participate, and had a hell of a good time!

This year as in years past, together we laughed, we cried, we ate well, we drank deeply, we danced until our feet hurt!
Hope to to see everyone all through this coming year, and at its end we’ll come together again!

Con cariño y amistad,
La Mariposa is Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz is the Tangoman

2000 UNA NOCHE DE GARUFA   Leave a comment

The city of New Orleans shares an uncanny resemblance to another port city colonized by the Spaniards, culturally influenced by the French, and originally created to serve as a human dumping ground for the most undesirable characters from the Old Continent.

Settled on the banks of a mighty river, the blueprints called for a Cathedral and the Cabildo circling the central square. Today, New Orleans is without a doubt the most authentic European city in the United States. Buenos Aires continues to be the most European city in South America.

From the late nineteenth century settlements of Buenos Aires, the tango emerged as the dance and music of the disenfranchised lower class and in a little over one century it has become an international ambassador for the cult of the human embrace.

The dance floor at Pierre Maspero

We first visited the Crescent City in October 1999 invited by Casa Argentina of New Orleans to teach a four day Argentine tango workshop to about twenty couples. Actually it was Sabina_Nola (an e-mail handle at the time) who had originally asked the proverbial question, “when are you coming to New Orleans,” after she had missed us in San Francisco while visiting California. When she approached the Casa Argentina, the task to host us, promote us and introduce us to the local dancers fell upon a couple of Ecuadorians who were  having dances in Metairie, just outside the Parish limits.

An amused group watching a tango exhibition

Barely a couple of years old, tango in New Orleans had been quietly practiced in a downtown cabaret and at a quiet suburban studio fifteen minutes away. We remember getting the impression that these were two groups separated by a common passion (and a stretch of Interstate 10).

Performance by Gary and Phyllis with Alberto and Valorie

On December 29, 2000, six months after we had moved to the  Crescent City, we wanted to share with our new tango friends a taste of the good tango life that lies ahead.

So, we gathered in the heart of the French Quarter for a night of “garufa,” a night of partying the tango way, a night to thank and be thankful for the renovated spirit of friendship, camaraderie and unselfish love of the tango.


Sabina on the left and Robin on the right flank one of the group tables

The location was the second floor room of a nearly two-hundred year old restaurant, which was smartly decorated with garlands, Christmas lights, multicolored ribbons, votive candles and freshly cut flowers.

Gwen, Aaron, Linda and friend

Four round tables were set around the dance floor, each one with centerpieces topped with candelabra and individual flower vases. The open bar began serving the first arrivals at 9 PM as they gathered to greet each other, their lively conversation leading to a delicious dinner which included paella, salmon, shrimp pasta, Caesar salad and a delicious bread pudding for dessert.

Eddie, Alberto and Valorie

The evening stretched into the first hours of the morning when the last couple literally dragged their happily tired feet off the floor and marched, with the reverberation of the sounds of legendary orchestras in their hearts, into the misty gray halo that wraps around the colonial street lamps.