Pork and Piggy Banks
Hogs for the Cause raises appetites and funds
Let me start with an apology to my vegetarian and vegan friends. Once one of you, I could deny the siren song of bacon no more, and I now have an undeniable love for all things barbeque. So it is with guilty conscious and anticipating taste buds that I encourage everyone to attend the tenth annual Hogs for the Cause barbeque cook-off and music festival March 23-24 at the UNO Lakefront Arena Grounds.
Hogs for the Cause is the little fundraiser that could. It has grown each year to the point of relocating to bigger venues and attracting not only the best local musicians but national acts as well. The barbeque teams are par excellence, and each work hard to compete against each other for the best Q and to raise the most money. As a nonprofit organization, Hogs for the Cause provides aid and relief to families with children being treated for pediatric brain cancer. The organization reported that it has given grants to over 400 families in need, and has donated to children’s hospitals in New Orleans, South Carolina and Atlanta.
One team that takes special pride in fundraising is “Gootee Que,” located at Booth A8. Its co-captain, Jennifer Kelley Killian, said they are working hard toward to achieve their $15,000 goal and credits the talent of her co-captain, Brett Cook, and the generosity of the team’s main sponsor, Gootee Construction, with their success.
“Everybody at Hogs is working toward the same goal,” said Kelley Killian. “There are 85 teams with maybe 10 or more people on each. That’s more than 1,000 people all working to raise funds to help families suffering with pediatric brain cancer.”
You know how you can taste the difference when food is made with love? I can promise you that of all the festivals celebrating food in New Orleans, Hogs for the Cause stands apart because of the love and generosity each team puts into their barbeque.
The teams will compete in categories such as Ribs, Whole Hog, Pork Shoulder and Porkpurri. Attendees can judge the teams too by purchasing a Judge’s Pass.
The music at this event is outstanding as well. The lineup on three stages for both Friday and Saturday presents a conundrum of choice. Kelley Killian said her top local choices this year are the Iko Allstars and N.M.O. (North Mississippi Osborne) featuring Anders Osborne. I second her picks and also throw in for the Turnpike Troubadours, The Band of Heathens, Hot 8 Brass Band and Samantha Fish. But really everyone booked to play this event brings tremendous talent and entertainment.
“Hogs is a very unique festival in a city full of festivals,” said Kelley Killian. “Visitors can’t miss this event because like most things in New Orleans, they’ll never see anything like it anywhere else. It is a large-scale barbeque competition but with all the awesome local flare of New Orleans.”
It’s important to note that this year Hogs has shifted to digital payment with RFID technology. Now a cashless event, attendees need to create an account that will be linked with a wristband and “top-up” in the account for purchases of food, beverage and merchandise. Tickets for admission and “top-up” actions can be purchased online in advance, and there will also be tickets sold at the event and “top-up” kiosks located throughout the Arena Grounds to add money to your wristband throughout the day. More information about ticketing and the RFID technology can be found on their website.