|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.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.