Wednesday, May 30, 2012
It came to her last spring in a St. Francisville blueberry orchard, and now the BluesBerry Festival and Cookoff is set for its second go-around Saturday.
“I was just in blueberry bliss and felt like it would be so cool to have a blueberry festival with the blues at the Blue Moon,” says Emily Neustrom, event coordinator for the 2nd annual BluesBerry Festival, set for 6 p.m. at the Blue Moon Saloon. “So that’s what inspired the festival. I love blueberries, I love the blues, I love the Blue Moon,” she says before coming clean with a caveat: “My ulterior motive is people growing and planting blueberries.”
Still, it may well be the most interactively inclusive festival in Lafayette as it celebrates fruit, restaurants and music — all local, by the way — while also offering up the BluesBerry Revolution Project, a healthy heaping of community outreach; Blue Dat, a fashion competition; and a bike ride.
“All these things are what I like to do,” says Neustrom.
While Cajun music and zydeco are considered the centerpiece of Acadiana’s indigenous music culture, Neustrom says blues should not be overlooked. “I feel like the blues needs to get more attention as well,” she says.
Neustrom, a singer/songwriter in her own right, is a huge fan of the blues, although she hasn’t really played a lot of it just yet. “I love the blues. I love ’em,” she says. “I do some blues songs, but I feel like I can’t yet do it complete justice. I think there’s more blues music in my future repertoire. It’s something that’s always inspired me. It’s such a powerful music, the stories, the history.”
The lineup includes A.J. Primeaux hosting a front porch blues jam session, Henry Gray & the Cats, and Cedric Burnside.
With a master’s degree in horticulture, Neustrom applies horticultural therapy at the Acadiana Brain Injury Clinic in Youngsville, as well as at Acadiana CARES. “I work with people and plants and produce food. It’s kind of like aroma therapy and music therapy,” she says. “We have a greenhouse and we grow vegetables with the clients, and that’s one of their therapies. So that’s my whole passion and career.”
Professionally and personally, Neustrom is all about growing your own food. “I want to promote home gardening and vegetable gardening,” says Neustrom, who also feels that the blueberry is an under-appreciated entity in the state. “It’s incredibly easy to grow in Louisiana, organically. It doesn’t have hardly any pests or fungus or diseases,” she says, adding that they cost a pretty penny at the grocery, too. “They like acidic soil [just add peat moss] and pine straw. It’s incredibly easy to grow.”
A little tip: “It’s better if you have two [blueberry bushes] so that they can cross-pollinate,” says Neustrom. “They can be used as a hedge — they can grow up to 10 feet — it’s just amazing. It’s a landscape ornament that produces food.”
Neustrom also wants “to promote healthy eating and increase food and vegetable consumption for Louisiana folks,” she says, before turning back to the fruit at hand. “The blueberry’s amazing as far as lowering cholesterol and decreasing cancer. It’s really a super food.”
A BluesBerry Festival Blues Cruise gets the festival rolling at 5 p.m. at Parc Sans Souci. Bikers must wear blue and will receive a free LA 31 Blueberry Sangria at the festival.
The ride leads to Beaver Park, along the Atakapas-Ishak Trail, where riders will receive their free drink ticket, and ends at the Blue Moon Saloon.
BluesBerry gets under way at 6 p.m. with Primeaux’s front porch acoustic blues jam. (The music variety, not the kind you spread on a piece of bread). But speaking of food, the Blueberry Dish Tasting (judging) also begins then and in order to be a judge, you’ve got to get there early.
At 9 p.m., not only is Henry Gray & the Cats kickin’ it, the Blueberry Crown for Best Restaurant and the Best Dressed in Blue winners will be announced. Cedric Burnside plans to get started at 11 p.m.
A portion of the proceeds of the festival will go to the BluesBerry Revolution Project with a goal to plant blueberry orchards at local schools as a form of agriculture education as well as for local farm start-ups to help supply the markets.
Poster artwork is by Athanase Fontenot, and it features Andy Cornett, the late blues harmonica player, bassist and promoter of Henry Gray & the Cats. The festival pays tribute to Cornett.
Competing restaurants include Café Vermilionville, Carpe Diem! Gelato & Espresso Bar, Cochon, French Press, Pamplona Tapas Bar, Saint Street Inn and Sandra’s Café/R&R Artisan Foods.
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
The look of leather
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Historic three bedroom in Crowley or contemporary town house in Lafayette
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home