|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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.