|OK, I admit it, I went for the food. When someone invites me to a party and tells me the chefs will be Restaurant August owner John Besh, the ubiquitous John Folse, Donovan Solis from Randol's and Phil O'Donnell from O'Donnell's in Pontchatoula, I'll even get on a plane to have dinner. Which is what I had to do — the coterie of stellar chefs were cooking at Epcot in Orlando. The occasion was a closing party celebrating Louisiana's new relationship with Disney. This year, the state was invited to participate in Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival, a 45-day exhibition of food, music, art and culture.
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu emceed the evening. “Nobody does it better than Disney,” he said, talking about combining culture and economic development into an engine for marketing our state. The exposure? More than 350,000 visitors to Epcot ate Louisiana crawfish étouffée, heard Dixieland jazz and walked away with purple strands of Mardi Gras beads that proclaimed they had been to the Louisiana experience. The intent? Once those folks got a taste of Bayou State cooking they would be persuaded to visit and experience the real deal.
Last Friday night, the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians led the parade into a vast tent set up for the occasion. While champagne was served, I went straight for the Sazaracs — after all they are New Orleans's official cocktail. Soul Queen Irma Thomas kicked off the evening, or as Lafayette's Louis Michot joked later, opened for his band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers. LCVC chief Gerald Breaux couldn't sit still any longer, and swung his fiancée, Helen Gardiner, onto the dance floor. Meanwhile partygoers gobbled up Besh's sumptuous shrimp and grits, washed down Folse's creamy butterbeans and ham with big gulps of Abita beer, bit into Solis' crab cakes and followed it all with bowls of Bananas Foster. We just had to dance it all off to Grammy Award winner Terrence Simien's zydeco set. Even the politicians caught fire, and before the evening ended, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden was scratching the rubboard to Simien's funky groove. It all goes to prove no matter where you go, nobody parties like Louisiana.
Party On! — PG
Randol's chef Donovan Solis
Lost Bayou Ramblers
Cajun and Zydeco Grammy award winner Terrence Simien
Chef John Folse
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden plays the rub board
It's not a party without Mardi Gras Indians and Louisiana cooking.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seenh on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage
Snuggle worthy wear
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Louisiana's Republican governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
Newly established honor recognizes outstanding local attorneys; Neuner and McGoffin win President's Award; and Blanchard named Outstanding Young Lawyer.
Daily paper constructing new digs near production plant on Rieger Road at Siegen Lane, near I-10.
Investigation finds Arnaud’s Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties and Crazy Charlie’s Shoes running misleading going-out-of-business sales.
Critics say workers and retirees are being held responsible for the Jindal administration's mismanagement of their program.