|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.
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.