NEW ORLEANS (press release) — Blue Oak BBQ today announces its plans for “Faux Fest,” a drive-through relief initiative for furloughed and laid off members of New Orleans’ iconic restaurant and music communities. The restaurant is teaming up with local non-profit Hogs for the Cause, 10 local restaurants and renowned musicians throughout the city to create NOLA’s first ever drive-thru, CDC compliant festival experience designed to feed thousands in need.
April usually marks the busiest time of year for both industries, due largely in part to the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which has been cancelled for 2020 as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The mayor’s recent guidance called for the cancellation of all festivals in New Orleans to help limit the spread of coronavirus. This measure, while safe and prudent, delivers another blow to NOLA’s fragile economy which is largely dependent on tourism driven from these annual events and conferences.
“For musicians and restaurateurs, the cancellation of our festivals is a near fatal blow,” said Ronnie Evans, Partner of Blue Oak BBQ. “We knew we needed to use our resources to feed these vulnerable groups right now and to offer a morale boost in whatever small ways we can.”
Evans and his business partner, Philip Moseley, are converting their empty warehouse space at 3330 Gravier Street into a drive-thru relief center to cook free festival favorite dishes for those in need while acclaimed bands play acoustically for all “attendees.” Faux Fest will run for all eight festival days, April 23-27 and April 30-May 3, from 12:00 – 1:30PM.
Participating restaurants are teaming up, Hogs for the Cause style, to create unique and collaborative bites. Restaurant participants include Frankie & Johnny’s, Justine, MoPho, Frey Smoked Meat Co., Brown Butter, Junior’s on Harrison, Johnny Sánchez, Parkway Bakery and Central City BBQ. Guests can look forward to dishes that range from Cochon de Lait Poboys to Crawfish Enchiladas, Pork Chop Sammich with Red Beans and Jambalaya with Green Beans. Dishes will be paired with beers from Abita, Yuengling, Parrish, Dixie, and Port Orleans, Strawberry Lemonade from Lula Distilling and mini bottles of TABASCO. Lula Distilling will provide homemade hand sanitizers as giveaways – last week Lula and Blue Oak BBQ teamed up to distribute over 400 bottles with meals.
Musical tunes from Mojo Triage, David Torkanowsky with Alexey Marti, Stanton Moore Trio, and New Breed Brass Band will complete the experience. All musicians will be paid for their Faux Fest gigs.
In keeping with the relief lunches Blue Oak has been offering since the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading throughout the city, these “bagged lunch and beer” offerings will be offered pre-packaged, prepped using gloves and masks, and will be distributed in accordance with W.H.O and CDC social distancing guidelines. The musicians will also be exhibiting extreme caution to uphold the safety of the site. Faux Fest is largely possible thanks to contributions from the local community and a generous donation from Kingsford Charcoal.
“Our city has lost so much in an incredibly short period of time,” said Philip Moseley, Partner of Blue Oak BBQ. “It was imperative to us that we keep these meals going. We’ve already served upwards of 3,000 meals over the past couple of weeks. At the end of Faux Fest, we expect to nearly double that number.”
For more information on Faux Fest, follow Blue Oak BBQ on Instagram at @blueoakbbq where regular updates and schedules will be posted. Blue Oak BBQ’s brick and mortar restaurant at 900 N. Carroliton Ave is still open Tuesday – Sunday for pick up. Orders can be placed at www.blueoakbbq.com or by calling 504.822.2583.