New Orleans Pride, And Other Culinary Events This Weekend


This year’s New Orleans Pride celebration ( takes place Friday through Sunday with activities around the French Quarter. Voted the second most welcoming city in the U.S, and the number one festival destination for LGBT travelers, New Orleans Pride is an epic event. This year Queen Diva Big Freedia heads New Orleans Pride. Parades, parties, brunches and more are among the lineup of weekend-long events to check out.  On Friday, Pride Kicks Off as the New Orleans Baby Cakes take on the Sacramento River Cats. Proceeds from this second annual LGBT-catered game will benefit Crescent Care.

Saturday brings PrideFest at the Phoenix, home base for PrideFest, with a block party. Featuring LGBT organizations, businesses, and food and drink. The New Orleans Pride Parade kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with almost 4,000 participants, over 20 floats, and 65 marching groups.

The closing party for the weekend fete will be at The Phoenix at 5 p.m.

There is no way I would ever use this space to open the can of worms that was/is the controversy over old monuments. What I will say is Chef Leah Chase deserves a very prominent monument. Last Saturday we lost a citizen of whom every New Orleanian, really, every American, honestly, every human being can be proud. We are better as a people because this courageous lady worked to bring people together.

That said, long ago Elizabeth Williams, founder of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFab, 504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569.0405, and the National Food & Beverage Foundation, had the wisdom and the foresight to establish a permanent gallery dedicated to and named for Leah Chase. Visit Mrs. Chase’s gallery and the rest of SoFab this Saturday for FREE. In recognition of Iced Tea Month and in honor of Mrs. Chase, Luzianne is underwriting admission all day (11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.).

At 1 p.m. in the Rouse’s Culinary Innovation Center, Dan Robert, SoFab’s curator of meat science, will be conducting a sausage making demonstration with a focus on chaurice, one of  Mrs. Chase’s favorite seasoning meats. Come sample the chaurice in her honor.

Also FREE this weekend: This year’s 33rd Annual Creole Tomato Festival is Saturday and Sunday in the historic French Market (1008 N. Peters St., 636-6400, from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Succulent Creole tomatoes are essential ingredients in many of the most popular dishes served by New Orleans’ top restaurants. The Creole Tomato Festival celebrates this unique Louisiana vegetable with life-sized tomatoes strolling the grounds handing out tomato shaped fans, the auctioning off of the first tomatoes of the season to local chefs, A Second Line through the festival grounds , live music on two stages, cooking demonstrations, the Creole Tomato Parade, a Bloody Mary market, a local farmers’ market and food and beverage booths, children’s activities, and food for purchase. Participating restaurants include Pizza Domenica, Crepes a la Cart, Cafe Dauphine, Veleo’s Seafood Restaurant, Stingray’s and more. They will be selling Fried Green Tomatoes, Creole Tomato Bloody Marys, Creole Tomato with Shrimp Salad, Stuffed Shrimp with Grilled Creole Tomato over Jasmine Rice, Creole Tomato Basil Crepes, Creole Tomato Gelato, Creole Tomato Cream Crawfish Pies, Blooming Onion on a bed of Creole Tomato and more.

Performers including Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Jonny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Little Freddie King, Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, Smoky Greenwell and more. Check out the festival’s official website for the schedule.

GW Fins (808 Bienville St., 581.3467, is hosting a fundraising dinner for YEP NOLA (the Youth Empowerment Project) on June 10th. This wonderful local organization provides education, mentoring, employment readiness and enrichment programs to more than 1,200 underserved young people each year. They also provide summer camp for their program participants. The summer program is so much more than just a fun time for kids to enjoy activities– it’s a place that they can count on a nutritious meal, an educational environment and structure that will help these at-risk children from dropping out of the educational system.

The fabulous five-course menu that GW Fins’ Executive Chef Michael Nelson has created features wine or cocktail pairings with each course. Dishes include Chilled melon soup with Kaffir lime and hot chili; and pickled shrimp and crab stuffed squash blossom with herb and radish salad and pepper jelly. The cost is $200 per person, including tax and gratuity and 100% of the food and wine proceeds will go directly to YEP’s Summer Camp Program.

FW Gins co-owner Gary Wollerman is not only donating 100% of the food and beverage proceeds from this dinner to YEP, but he is also going to match this amount ($153 from each dinner) and donate that to YEP as well.  So for every ticket purchased, Gary Wollerman will donate $306 to YEP’s summer camp. This is as generous as it gets!

Have a great weekend, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love.


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