Rockin’, Groovin’, and Grubbing for a Good Cause in New Orleans

 Trombone Shorty (Ricky Richardson Photo)
Trombone Shorty (Ricky Richardson Photo)

By Ricky Richardson, Contributing Writer

New Orleans- The world had their collective eyes on New Orleans, and the state of Louisiana during my recent visit, November 6-10, 2019.

I was among thousands of passengers arriving into the city on the first day of arrivals at the new Louis Armstrong International Airport. Everyone is raving about the many dining options inside the airport and all the new amenities.

I was fortunate to stay at the Holiday Inn Express on O’Keefe. Location, Location, Location. This property is conveniently located wherever you need to be. It is a nice leisurely walk to the Superdome, Smoothie King Arena, French Quarters, Convention Center etc. The hotel is well maintained, and quiet. The thing that stood out for me at this hotel was the hot breakfast. You already know the importance of a good hot breakfast to start your day. Front Desk Receptionist Jody Williams was very courteous, helpful for a quick, smooth check in.

The city was in the spotlight for a variety of Fall events taking place throughout the weekend. The New Orleans Pelicans were at home against the Toronto Raptors, bars and restaurants were overflowing with fans watching LSU vs. Alabama, the Saints were home hosting the Falcons. Sandwiched (pun intended) between all of this was the 9th Annual Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, held at Champions Square. Gourmands from across the nation arrived at the event with empty stomachs and a huge thirst for fun.

TGIF might mean one thing to most people, in New Orleans, the letters take on a whole different meaning. The “F” in TGIF could stand for Food, Fun, Festival, Family and/or Friends. I apologize for dropping so many of the “F” words on you. One could have found a smorgasbord of all the above while in attendance at the 9th Annual Boudin, Bourbon and Beer.

 Kerry Seaton Stewart (Ricky Richardson Photo)
Kerry Seaton Stewart (Ricky Richardson Photo)

Lite sprinkles could not damper people’s enthusiasm for attending this awesome event for a good cause. Proceeds from Boudin, Bourbon & Beer allow Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support children’s culinary and nutrition education programs throughout the year including its signature program, Emeril Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen, a national education initiative created to enrich the lives of elementary and middle school children through a fun, fresh perspective of food.

People the world over consider New Orleans as an arts and culture playground, and that food and music is at its core. For the 9th year, Boudin, Bourbon and Beer invited foodies to explore, savor, sip and stroll amongst 70 participating chefs from all over the United States. This was a crowd that were 21 years and older, rain or shine.

Attendees were able to enjoy the many varieties of menu items featuring boudin, all in one spot. A variety of wines, beer and bourbon stations were spread out in Champions Square. The Abita Beer booth served up an assortment of Ales-Amber, Light, The Boot, and Purple Haze to name a few. Cool, refreshing, rich and tasty drinks mixed with Bourbon was also a huge hit.

Boudin, Bourbon and Beer offered first timers like me the opportunity to discover new chefs, restaurants for memorable experiences with like minded people who gathered on this chilly evening to fellowship over food, and music in support of a worthy cause.

The enclosed photos give you a sample of the great time had by all in attendance at the 9th Annual Boudin, Bourbon and Beer. Forewarning, the enclosed photos might do two things to you. It might make you hungry, most importantly, it might cause you to book a trip to New Orleans, November 2020 to attend the 10th Anniversary Boudin, Bourbon and Beer. I can’t wait for my second serving/refill of Boudin, Bourbon and Beer.

Donald Link booth featured Cajun Boudin with Cochon Mustard, Jim Richard-Stinky’s Smoked boudin & Mirliton stuffing, Nina Compton-Jerk Pork Bahn Mi, Tanya Dubuclet- Gumbo and bread pudding, Daniel Esses- Reuben Kreplach with bourbon beef consommé. Joaquin Rodas & Ryan Cantwell-Bachanal traditional Cajun boudin, Kerry Seaton Stewart- fried chicken, butterbeans with sausage & cornbread, Nathanial Zimet-Boudin grilled cheese with grilled onion mustard, just to name a few as your stomach starts to growl.

That’s not all Folks! There was a Cigar Lounge, Desserts and stellar line-up of entertainment. Motel Radio and Fruition were superb doing their time in the spotlight on the Main Stage.

Grace Potter turned up the throttle of the Wow factor. Grace Potter thrilled the crowd with her soulful vocal stylings while showcasing her awe-inspiring talents whether shredding on the Electric guitar, performing on the Hammond B-3 Organ or acoustic guitar.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue took it up a notch. Their high-octane, tight, in the pocket, funky grooves, calls to mind James Brown and The JB’s. Chef Emeril Lagasse got in on the fun, adding a nice rhythmic touch on the timbales to the delight of the crowd.

Boudin, Bourbon & Beer was the first event of Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s two-night signature fundraising weekend and is held annually the night prior to nationally recognized charity wine auction and gala dinner https://Carnivalduvin.com Last year’s fundraising weekend raised $3million for children’s charities along the Gulf Coast

Emeril Lagasse Foundation was founded in 2002 by Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden, Emeril Lagasse Foundation is a 501c (3) public charity headquartered in New Orleans. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and educate youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education with a focus on life skills development. Since its inception, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted more than $11 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs. To learn more about the Foundation and its beneficiaries, visit https://www.emerils.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.