Snap Beans Ain’t Salty
Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Fest brings dancing when we need it
We’ve had a rough go of it lately y’all. So many of our Louisiana cultural icons have passed in the last two weeks. We barely had time to process the loss of culinary powerhouse Leah Chase when the news broke that Mac Rebennack, our mystical musical Dr. John, had also passed. Then, we lost two more musicians the same week – guitarist and storyteller Spencer Bohren, and blues and Zydeco guitarist and singer Paul ‘Lil Buck’ Sinegal.
So, we have wept, we have second lined and we have cooked and eaten food in honor of those who have gone on. We probably also have listened to the wonderful DJs at WWOZ who have found rare recordings of our beloved artists, and played them along with the hits. The one thing that’s left to do, beside let the passing of time work its magic, is dance for two days at a festival.
The 13th annual Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23 from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. both days at Louis Armstrong Park. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation organizes this free festival as part of its cultural enrichment programming, and it welcomed Sinegal to its Cajun-Zydeco Festival in past years, as well as to its New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
“The entire Jazz and Heritage family mourns the loss of ‘Lil Buck’ Sinegal and expresses its deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans,” said Kia Robinson, programs and marketing manager at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. “He was an incredible musician and a crowd favorite at our festivals. He will be greatly missed!”
Sinegal’s guitar won’t be heard at Louis Armstrong Park again, but his spirit will certainly be there, and the incredible lineup of musicians are likely to pay tribute to him, Rebennack and Bohren. As festivalgoers, we can all honor those we’ve lost by dancing our hearts out.
Saturday’s music lineup is headlined by one of my favorites, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and includes Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Nouveaux Cajun Express, Bruce Daigrepont and a newer band I’m excited to see, The Daiquiri Queens.
Sunday will be headlined by Dwayne Dopsie and will also see performances by Chubby Carrier, Dikki Du & the Zydeco Krewe, Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys and Joie D’ Louisiane by Amanda Shaw.
In between dancing, we can eat too. The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival offers a choice of festival favorites. The local food vendors and their offerings are not listed online, but I’m happy to provide some highlights here:
Ajun Cajun – Yakiniku Poboy (garlic ribeye beef poboy); Cajun Tempura Shrimp; Seafood Gumbo
Café Dauphine – Deep Fried Seafood Bell Peppers; Seafood Eggrolls; Fried Chicken Wings
Cherie’s Catering – Crab Cakes topped with Cajun Crawfish Sauce; Shrimp and Crab Mirliton Dressing; Shrimp Remoulade Wrap
Cocoa & Cream – Seafood Nachos (topped with shrimp, crawfish and crab); Crispy Fried Catfish; Smoked Boudin
Cool Fruit Sensations – “Sensation” Fruit Drinks in various flavors
Keyala’s Pralines – Pralines; Praline-Topped Pound Cake; Pecan Bread Pudding
LaDelyo’s – Cajun Jambalaya; Vegan Red Beans; White Beans with Sausage; Stuffed Tomatoes with Shrimp Pasta
Lil Dustin’s Italian Ice – Italian Ice; Fried Oreos; Peach Cobbler
Loretta’s Pralines – Crabmeat Beignets; Pecan Pie; Praline Beignets
Quintin’s Natural Ice Cream – Various flavors (but do try the Swamp Mint and Roasted Strawberry)
Virtue Unique Catering – “B-A-C in the Daz” Crawfish Bread; Hot Sausage Poboys; Hawaiian BBQ Shrimp Poboys
Voleo’s Seafood Restaurant – Cajun Surf & Turf (smothered rabbit poboy with fried shrimp); Softshell Crab Poboy; Crabmeat Boudin Balls
There will also be 24 regional artisans selling fine and folk art, jewelry and crafts. Some of those vendors will lead workshops for children at the Kids Craft Tent, and there will be other activities for children as well.
No outside food or drinks are allowed, with exceptions for those with special dietary needs. Folding chairs are allowed, but keep your pets at home. And please, if you can, make a donation to support the festival.