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The Best Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant Celebration in New Orleans

Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – Traditional Dia de los Muertos Altar

You might be looking for a Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant in New Orleans. Look no further! Let me introduce you to Casa Borrega.

New Orleans and Mexico share a tradition of honoring our dearly departed. In New Orleans we observe All Saints Day by sprucing up our cemeteries. We whitewash the tombstones and picnic in the graveyard. In Mexico, el Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated through works of art, incredible parades, dance, music, drinking and sweets (sugar skulls and pan de muerto).

Check out some of Casa Borrega’s special cocktails here: https://casaborrega.com/cocktail-menu/

Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – Casa Amigos Tequila with sugar skulls on the bar

In Mexico City, and at Casa Borrega, reminders of the dead are found in the folk art year round. At the Frida Kahlo house in Mexico City – Casa Azul – there was an altar in the garden in January when Casa Borrega co-owner Linda Stone went to visit. It was honoring women killed by violence.

Detail of altar at Frida Kahlo house – La Casa Azul – in Mexico City

Casa Borrega co-owner and artist Hugo Montero moved to New Orleans from Mexico City in the 1990’s. (See the Casa Borrega Story: https://casaborrega.com/the-casa-borrega-story/.) Hugo has been creating Day of the Dead altars in the Crescent City practically since his arrival.

Hugo Montero altar at Zeitgeist in 1999

Day of the Dead altars have typical elements such as artificial skulls and marigolds or mums that can be traced all the way back to Aztec times. They also feature photos of those who have died and food items that they liked to eat.

Best Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – 2018 altar with food offerings for the dead

Hugo Montero and his family have created Day of the Dead altars at Casa Borrega since 2013, each year honoring those who have died the prior year. People are encouraged to bring photos of their loved ones to place on the altar. Over the years Casa Borrega has also honored victims of natural and man-made disasters throughout the world. See a video of Hugo creating an altar at Casa Borrega: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yduT_GKkXg

Best Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – 2015 altar with sugar skulls, crhysanthemums and portraits of deceased

Casa Borrega often hosts a free costume party for Dia de los Muertos with live music and a special menu. At the top of the many reviews is a NOLA Eater article naming Casa Borrega as an essential place to celebrate Day of Dead: https://casaborrega.com/casa-borrega-reviews/.

In 2018, the restaurant sponsored a Frida Kahlo contest.

Best Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – Frida Kahlo costume contest
Best Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – wwinner of Frida costume contest

This year Hugo was honored by City Park, as the artist to create the annual altar in the Enrique Alferez Sculpture Garden located within the New Orleans Botanical Gardens. Enrique Alferez was a Mexican-American artist who created sculptures in the Botanical Garden and in City Park for over 60 years.

Enrique Alferez Scuplture Garden at City Park

Not only will Hugo create the Day of the Dead altar but will provide a gourmet dinner from Casa Borrega that honors Enrique Alferez and supports a fundraiser for City Park. Guests are encouraged to come in costume. They will be greeted with a special Margarita at the Garden entrance and then escorted to see Hugo’s altar. Fire Pits hang from the trees in the sculpture garden, further illuminating the light from the evening’s full moon.

Another view of the gorgeous sculpture garden where altar will be created.

Live Latin music will entertain guests as they enjoy a gourmet Day of the Dead-inspired menu:

  • Hibiscus Margaritas with Tequila and Mezcal
  • Guacamole with Chicharrón and Pomegranate
  • Enchiladas de Mole and Chilies Rellenos
  • Tres Leches Plantainscake with Italian Expresso Tequila Sauce

More information on the dinner can be found here: http://neworleanscitypark.com/calendar/category/kitchen-in-the-garden

The altar will be on view at no charge to the public from Wednesday, October 28th through Sunday, November 1st.  It will honor those who have lost their lives to Covid-19. Anyone can bring a picture of a friend or relative to place on the altar.

Best Day of the Dead Mexican Restaurant – owner photograph Dia de los Muertos, Mexico City

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