FROM ACADIANA TO NEW ORLEANS
Playing It Forward
When the late Anthony Bourdain launched Chef Toby Rodriguez during a 2011 episode of “No Reservations” filmed in Eunice, the pork-centric Cajun boucherie master attracted abundant national media for his traveling Lâche Pas Boucherie culinary production until it wrapped in 2017. Bourdain’s producers then tapped Rodriguez to formulate the 42-minute “Parts Unknown: Cajun Mardi Gras” episode that aired June 17. He has since moved to New Orleans and is planning to open a new restaurant named after his grandmother, who taught him how to cook. “Cajun Mardi Gras” aired just nine days after Bourdain took his own life in Kaysersberg, France. “My hero is gone,” Rodriguez says. “I moved to New Orleans directly after filming the episode. I’m here to give the city a real taste of Acadiana, and to possibly send some of those dollars back home by purchasing all of my meat from Acadiana. It’s a neighborhood restaurant that will have a Cajun meat market and a bar where you can hang out. I’ll also be doing some butchering classes at the facility. It’ll be like a Cajun embassy.” Updates to come about Maebelle (hint: Uptown).
LAFAYETTE, LAKE CHARLES, GONZALES
All Hail, New Seafood King
Crowned the 2018 King of Seafood at the 11th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off in June, Chef Ryan Trahan is kicking it up a notch at the Blue Dog Café in both Lafayette and Lake Charles. “We are planning special pop-ups featuring great Louisiana chefs starting this fall, and we’ll also feature seasonal seafood dinners with wine pairings,” Trahan says. “We’ve been rebranding and modernizing the Blue Dog concept for months. It will keep evolving until we find our comfort zone.” Congrats to Chef Joshua Hebert of The Cabin in Gonzales for being named runner up at the competition.
Get a Free House
The first-ever St. Jude Dream Home built in Lake Charles will be raffled off on Sept. 23 live on KPLC. The two-story, 5,000-square-foot giveaway home has two fireplaces, high-end finishes, appliances, a landscaped yard, and is being built by Salvador Custom Homes for one lucky family in the Graywood community (the first planned community in Lake Charles). Tickets are $100 each; call 800-232-4783.
French is Cool in School
The Vermilion Parish School Board has approved a new French immersion program to begin in the 2019-2020 school year. It debuts with kindergarten classes in Vermilion Parish. Merci beaucoup to CODOFIL President, William (Bill) Arceneaux for the wonderful news.
Café Jefferson at Jefferson Island’s Rip Van Winkle Gardens hosts a special night of dining and strolling through the tropical gardens on Aug. 23 (two seatings: 6 to 7:30 pm and 8 to 9:30 pm). Enjoy bisques, gumbos, sauce piquante and étouffée while overlooking Lake Peigneur (formerly Lake Simonette) and ponder summer’s end beneath the ancient, moss-draped oaks. Reservations: 337-359-8525; ripvanwinklegardens.com.
Climb That Pole
Jump in and enter the Potato Dance crowd or the women’s beer drinking and arm wrestling contests and while you’re in the zone, try your hand at the boudin eating, egg throwing and greased pole climbing matches while enjoying Cajun bands at the lively Mamou Cajun Music Festival, held Sept. 14-15. The 2018 honoree is Camey Doucet, whose hits include “Who Stole the Pies,” “Mom, I’m Still Your Little Boy” and “Hold My False Teeth.” (Pas de bêtise!) mamoucajunmusic-festival.com
NEW YORK, LAFAYETTE, SHREVEPORT
You Go, Girl
The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) announced their prestigious 2018 50/50 Applause Awards ceremoniously in New York. Two winners hail from Louisiana: The Acadiana Repertory Theatre in Lafayette, and the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, Centenary Theatre Program of Louisiana in Shreveport. Congrats!
Feet Were Made for Walking
A new multi-use path along Lakeshore Drive will soon be under construction. It will be used to connect Broad Street to Clarence Street along the west side, and Lakeshore Drive to Ryan Street. Designed to increase walkability and enhance pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly areas, the project’s completion is anticipated in February 2019, thanks to a grant provided by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Call 337-491-1429 for details.