Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Weekend abounds with South Louisiana fun

    The storms have passed and the sun is shining. We’re gearing up for football, music and fun this Labor Day Weekend, from family carnivals and zydeco festivals to the opening game of University of Louisiana-Lafayette football.
    The Acadian Village, a collection of historic buildings that form a replica of Cajun and Creole life, will host the Last Days of Summer Carnival fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. The event includes carnival rides, games, magic shows, pony rides, face painting, food, live entertainment and more. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children, and children 4 and under admitted free. For more information, call (337) 981-2364 or visit
    This year is the 30th anniversary for the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival in Plaissance. Featured artists include Lawrence Ardoin and Traditional Creole, Corey Ledet, Dog Hill Stompers, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Step Rideau, Lil Nate, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., J. Paul Jr. and Leon Chavis. Also performing are Grammy winner Chubby

Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band and country performers Chris Himel, Dustin Sonnier, Jaryd Lane and Charley Rivers. All the fun takes places Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1-2, 2012, at Zydeco Park on Highway 167 in Plaisance, north of Opelousas and Lafayette. Tickets for the Sept. 1 show are $15, $12 in advance and $5 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are $25 for Sept. 2, $20 in advance and $5 for children 12 and younger. For more festival information, call (337) 942-2392 or visit
    Wear your red proudly Saturday as the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns football team takes on Lamar at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at Cajun Field in Lafayette. For information, visit
    On Sunday, trek over to St Martinville for the Creole Zydeco Festival at Adam Carlson Memorial Park. There will be Creole food, petting zoo, space jump and music by Zydeco Ray & The Creole Knight Riders, Same Ole' Step & Lil Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers. Tickets are $10 adults, children $3 at the door.
    For more information, visit the Lafayette Convention and Visitor’s Commission Web site.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cajun Jaming in Lafayette

    If you’re a musician, don’t be shy when visiting Lafayette and for goodness sakes bring your instrument. There are numerous jam sessions held every week throughout the town and visitors are always welcome to join in. And because Lafayette is the hub city for great Cajun and zydeco music, you’ll never know who might show up!
    Here is a weekly roundup of a few Jam Sessions in Lafayette and environs:
    Wednesdays — The Blue Moon Saloon & Guesthouse offers a Cajun jam session at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on the guesthouse’s back porch. The jam is open to all skill levels, entry is free and onlookers are welcomed.
    Fridays — the Begnaud House Welcome Center at 110 Benoit Patin Road in nearby Scott (right off Interstate 10) offers jam sessions starting at 6 p.m. Fridays and the place fills up with locals and visitors alike enjoying traditional Cajun music.
    Saturdays — Vermilionville offers a weekly Cajun Jam from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays in the historic attraction’s performance center. Special guest hosts are scheduled to lead the event; check their web site for the schedule.
    Louisiana Folk Roots offers a Jam des Amis (shown above) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the second Saturday of the month at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in downtown Lafayette. The jam coincides with the monthly ArtWalk celebration and features hosts, such as Jimmy Breaux of BeauSoleil fame or David Greely, formerly with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lafayette’s Farm-to-Table Restaurants

    It’s easy to offer farm-to-table cuisine in Lafayette, for the region is ripe with farms, bakeries and butcher shops and a long tradition of living off the land and environment.
    Not to mention Lafayette is home to some of the country’s finest chefs.
    The kitchen of Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro is helmed by Chef Manny Augello, a leader in the local farm-to-table movement and a board member of the Acadiana Food Circle. Augello recently served up a “Louisiana Summer” menu at the esteemed James Beard House in New York City that consisted of smoked boudin with pork cracklings and summer tomato–white bean cassoulet and crispy quail with roasted figs, balsamic–cane syrup vinaigrette, sugar-and-spice pecans and fried chèvre, among other delectable delights.
    Jolie’s menu features seasonal, local produce and meats that changes constantly. One visit to their web site and you’ll see the specials for the week, including a house-made charcuterie plate.
    Jolie’s is located at 507 W. Pinhook Road in Lafayette and open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday with brunch on Sunday.
    The Saint Street Inn at 407 Brook Ave. near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus was founded with farm-to-table in mind. Owners Mary Tutwiler and Nathan Stubbs frequent the city’s farmer’s markets to take advantage of fresh produce and organic products and their beef and smoked sausage comes from a Eunice slaughterhouse near Lafayette. Specialty meats such as andouille may be purchased from Johnson’s Boucanière in Lafayette and tasso from Best Stop in Scott.
    The Saint Street Inn also changes its menu to accommodate what’s available seasonally, serving up sandwiches, salads, pizza, burgers and entrées. Diners will also find that week’s menu offerings on the restaurant’s web site.
     The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and for dinner Thursday through Saturday evenings. They occasionally offer special events on the front porch or side patio, the latter of which also contains a small stage for live music, next to the herb garden. 
    For more information, visit and