New Perks for Connoisseurs
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience debuts its first-ever Petit Gateaux Show during the Friday-Saturday Grand Tastings, complete with burlesque dancers popping out of a tricentennial cake. The May 23-27 events include an expanded “seminars and experiences” series featuring LA Caviar, Oysters and Champagne (with pairings), Road Crossing (all things charcuterie) and the French Quarter Cellar Strut with tours (and samplings) of the city’s most impressive wine cellars, plus absinthe tastings and unique Wine Around excursions(nowfe.com).
If the Water Rises
As Louisiana braces for the 2018 hurricane season, the Louisiana Cajun Navy says that readiness preparations have recently included their first competitive boat-rescue training sessions held in Henderson Bay. New volunteers can perform a variety of roles by simply downloading a walkie-talkie style app (Zello) and undergoing simple training sessions for such duties as dispatching rescue requests throughout Louisiana (info: 888-372-2586; 833-225-8616; facebook.com/LaCajunNavy/). Meanwhile, Kenneth Graham (meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office serving Baton Rouge and New Orleans since 2008) has been appointed to lead the prestigious National Hurricane Center in Miami, responsible for disseminating vital storm info to our federal, state and local officials.
In conjunction with Eat Lafayette, the 2018 Louisiana Seafood Cook-off is held June 19 at Lafayette’s Cajundome. Some of Louisiana’s top chefs are competing for the title, “King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood” (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Grab an Eye Patch
Dust off your sword, peg leg, eye patch and cavalier hat, then dance like a pirate at the first-ever Pirate Festival Costume Ball, held in a setting with parrots, palm trees and plenty of Bayou Rum. Staged May 11 in the Buccaneer Room of the Lake Charles Civic Center during the annual Louisiana Pirate Festival (May 3-13). Also new (May 6) is the Pirate Festival Street Parade Extravaganza (louisiana-piratefestival.com).
A Bigger Bank
Louisiana Community Bancorp’s five subsidiary banks (City Savings Bank, Coastal Commerce, Kaplan State Bank, Teche Bank and Trust and Tri-Parish Bank) have officially united and are now Pedestal Bank, with approximately $1.2 billion in assets, making it one of the 10 largest banks rooted in Louisiana.
Merging Cuisine and Medicine
A $1 million project resulting from a grant awarded to Southern University at Shreveport is bringing a new, 5,000-square-foot kitchen incubator and community kitchen (with training components modeled after Liberty’s Kitchen in New Orleans) to Milam Street. Designed to connect new chefs to resources and support existing food-related businesses, the incubator is within walking distance of a targeted housing site slated for development. The second phase will incorporate a “culinary medicine center” with initiatives based on Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine.
Fun on the Bayou
Thanks to a recently announced $89,900 federal grant from the Recreational Trails Program, new docks for canoes and kayaks are being installed in towns bordering the Bayou Teche (from Port Barre to Berwick).
Makin’ Groceries from Home
The nation’s largest on-demand grocery delivery service, Instacart, has services underway for approximately 442,000 households in areas of Louisiana that include New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Covington, Mandeville, Belle Chasse, Marrero, Lockport and Baton Rouge. Deliveries hail from Costco, Rouses Supermarkets and Petco (Instacart.com).
Power to the Francophiles
On April 26, CODOFIL (now celebrating its 50th anniversary) received the 2018 International Achievement Award for promoting Acadiana’s ancestral French language and culture. Past recipients since 1998 have included Robert John Angers (founder and former publisher of Acadiana Profile magazine, which is owned by the same company that owns this publication, Renaissance Publishing LLC).