The folks in charge have worked out the schedule for the big events taking place in Lake Charles’ Downtown Development District this year. Quite a few of these are very much arts-related. Let’s check out the list.
• March: Live at the Lakefront on three Fridays — March 11, 18 and 25
• April 30: Spring Art Walk
• May 7: Louisiana Beer Fest
• May 14: This is Home Festival
• Sept. 30: Gallery Promenade
• Oct. 15: Arts Fest
• Oct 15: Chuck Fest
• Oct 21: Living History tour
• Nov. 26: Holiday Art Walk and Small Business Saturday
• Nov. 19: Smoke and Barrel.
There are also a few cultural events being sponsored by the City of Lake Charles:
May: Downtown at Sundown on four Fridays: May 13, 20 and 27 and June 3
• July 4: Red, White, Blue and You
• October: Arts and Culture Fest
• Dec. 3: Light up the Lake.
These events are free and open to the public. Those who attend will have access to the shops and eateries near the event. Some streets will be closed to traffic. Some events will offer alcohol sales or tastings; these are for events that benefit non-profits. If you need more information, visit artscouncilswla.org.
Le Grande Retour Roots Music Fest
This year, the long-running Festivals Acadiens et Creoles is having two festivals. The first, called Le Grande Retour, is scheduled for March 18 through 20.
A total of 48 musical acts are scheduled to perform. I’ve reduced the schedule to include the very biggest names: the ones you hear over and over (at least in Southwest Louisiana). Here’s my abbreviated list of the acts and the festival venues where they’ll be playing:
• Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, 5:30 pm @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Chris Ardoin & NuStep Zydeko, 7 pm @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Kevin Naquin & The Ossun Playboys, 10:30 am @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Rusty Metoyer and The Zydeco Krush, 11:45 am @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Feufollet, 2:30 pm @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, 2:30 pm @ Scène Mon Héritage
• Corey Ledet Zydeco, 4:45 pm @ Salle de Danse
• Pine Leaf Boys, 6:45 pm @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, noon @ Salle de Danse
• Cedric Watson & Bijou Créole, 2:15 pm @ Scène Ma Louisiane
• Jo-El Sonnier, 2:30 pm @ Salle de Danse
• Tommy McClain & CC Adcock, 3:15 pm @ Scène Atelier
• Gregg Martinez with T.K. Hulin & Johnnie Allan, 3:45 pm @ Salle de Danse
• Lil’ Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers, 5 pm @ Scène Mon Héritage
• Wayne Toups & ZydeCajun, 6 pm @ Scène Ma Louisiane.
Several workshops may be of interest to musicians. On March 19, the fiddle workshop will be led by David Greely, Blake Miller and Gina Forsyth. It starts at 12:45 pm in the Scène Atelier. That is followed the next day by a guitar workshop moderated by Josh Caffery, Chris Stafford, Meagan Berard and Daniel Coolik set for 11:30 am at Scène Atelier. At 2 pm that day, a ballad workshop with Megan Constantin, Kelli Jones and Anna Laura Edmiston will take place at 2 pm at Scène Atelier.
The Festivals Acadiens et Créoles will be held at 500 Girard Park Drive in Lafayette.
SWLA Music School Back On Track
After it was dealt a heavy blow by the hurricanes, the Southwest Louisiana Music School promised that it would eventually return with its full level of programming after a lengthy period for repair and recovery.
The school has kept its word. “We are looking forward to getting back in the swing of having awesome gigs lined up for our kiddos finally,” says school head Marcus. Here’s what’s cooking for the rest of the semester:
• April 2: Touch a Truck “Truckfest” @ Burton Coliseum @ 1-3 pm. All school bands will perform.
• April 30: Artwalk @ Ryan and Broad Streets @ 6 pm. All bands perform.
• May 7: Pirate Festival (Contraband Days) @ Main Stage @ Time TBA. All bands perform.
• May 14: This Is Home Fest @ Noon, in front of the Historic City Hall. All bands perform.
Marcus describes these as “bigger gigs for our kids” and “a really fun run of shows.” If you want more information, email email@example.com.
King Cake Burger
The Louisiana burger restaurant Burgersmith and Baton Rouge’s Calandro’s Supermarket are collaborating for the third year to make and serve the King Cake Burger. When it was first served in 2020 in four south Louisiana cities, it was called the Mardi Gras Mambo Burger.
Here’s how restaurateur Angie Doyle explained the burger to The Advocate: “It’s a regular beef patty, with melted cheddar and bacon sandwiched between two pieces of cinnamon king cake cut in half to make a bun.” She described the burger as being “surprisingly good.”
Doyle had doubts about it at first, fearing that the “icing and colorful sprinkles … would be wasteful” and would make the burger too rich to eat. But she should have known that when it comes to the south Louisiana diner, there is no such thing as a dish with too much food in it.
There is also no such thing as a dish with clashing tastes. Right now, venues in various parts of south Louisiana are serving bacon and boudin-topped King Cake, boudin-filled King Cake with green onions on top, sushi King Cake (not positive that one is real), pretzel King Cake and crawfish queso-topped boudin King Cake. (To my eyes, that last one has the look of something that’s destined for the biohazard waste disposal unit.)
And there are all sorts of Louisiana foods and drinks that have the words “King Cake” in their names but aren’t even cake. For instance, there’s King Cake Ice Cream Beignets (served at Parkway in N.O.), King Cake cheesecake, King Cake Vodka, King Cake Cream Ale, King Cake Milkshake Sour Beer and Imperial King Cake Stout. (As a rule, I’ll try anything once just for the experience. But I’m not sure I’d try a sugary sweet stout.) Doyle says, “the combination of the savory and the sweet works.” It must.
Tired Of Eating Healthy Food
A big Up Fronter thanks goes to Jamie Gates, who now lives in Wisconsin, and who posted a youngster’s letter about King Cake that appeared in a WVUE broadcast in New Orleans. The letter was written by a second grader in Mimosa Park Elementary in Luling for an assignment. Here is the letter the precocious student wrote to the school’s principal:
We would like King Cake every day for lunch this Mardi Gras season! Most children enjoy King Cake. We are tired of healthy food. That is why we should have King Cake every day.
Bubba Penalty In Lafayette
Do you remember what happened in our great flood of ten months ago when Bubbas drove their monster pick-ups through the flood waters at high rates of speed? The trucks created monster waves that flooded many homes and businesses. If you had to cut out all your carpeting and padding and haul them out to the curb, I’m sure you remember.
You’re also not likely to forget if you saw those Bubbas parting the waves with their jacked-up Tonkas, rubbernecking all the time as if they were seeing the first flood in history and always sticking their cellphones out the windows and filming the immense pools of dirty water with childish glee.
Politicians in both the city and parish of Lafayette have passed new ordinances designed to penalize people who engage in these obnoxious behaviors during flooding.
Lafayette already passed an ordinance against drivers pushing flood waters into buildings in 2018. It seems that the new ordinances are meant to stiffen penalties. Now those who are found to have flooded structures can receive a fine of $200 or more and will be obliged to spend at least six seven-hour days collecting trash by roadways or cutting grass on public property. With the second offense, the minimum fine goes up to $300 and the guilty party must put in at least 10 seven-hour days of community service work. With the third offense, the minimums go up to a $500 fine and 20 days of community work. The judge also has the option of giving the perpetrator 180 days in jail.