Despite the fact that it's held in June - which, according to local standards, is a month with no "R" in it and therefore not good for oysters - New Orleans Oyster Festival rocks! I enjoyed attending because it doesn't have the crowds that popular New Orleans festivals attract.
This particular festival was born out of tragedy in 2010. The BP Oil spill alienated Louisiana's seafood industry - and still does - due to (in my opinion) consumer ignorance.
Using the same strength that helped this area come back from Katrina, the Louisiana Seafood Board and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries along with a slew of local supporters decided in June of 2010 to show that the Oyster industry was down but not out.
As the following photographs will show, there were plenty of oysters to be enjoyed, prepared in a variety of recipes. My only regret is that the local chefs haven't come up with a good, cold oyster dish aside from shucked oysters.
We arrived at 11 A.M. knowing that the heat was going to continue to rise. The organizers of this festival did very well in providing a number of shady spots for diners and festival goers to get away from the heartless sun. Every table in the tents had linen table cloths and free fans to keep the festival goers cool.
Our first stop was one that got my attention: Redfish Grill's Oyster Shooter with Grey Goose. Yum!!!
Here I am trying to take a picture of my oyster shooter. It was delightful, by the way.
Here is my tiny-chef daughter celebrating her oyster shooter.
Our next stop was the most visible sites of the fest: Drago's with their charbroiled oysters.
They were delectable
Hungry for yet more oysters, we headed over to Luke for the Oyster Poboy with smoked tomato relish.
It did not disappoint us. In fact, there was a slice of bacon in the sandwich which we knew came from hogs raised on the northshore....yum, fresh pork!
I was impressed with the professionalism of the Luke staff.
By this time the Treme Brass Band had taken the stage and got the crowd into their fantastic New Orleans music.
By now it was noon and my daughter and I decided to take shelter under the cooking demo tent to cool off.
Hubby opted to roam the area in search of interesting pictures. Here are his results:
The blue guy really isn't as wacko as he seems in this picture. :)
In this picture you can see me motioning that my beer is empty.
By now we were ready for more oyster dishes, so we headed for the Court of Two Sisters Booth for both Oyster Pie and Crawfish Louise.
I asked if they would divulge the recipe for the Crawfish Louise and they promised that they would when I visited the restaurant. Tiny Chef and I figured it out while eating it.
Our next choice of food was our mistake of the day.
The oysters had the consistency of liver, they were tasteless and the spinach/artichoke "bruschetta" was plain. Don't waste your money.
The oyster shucking contest was next and was fun to watch, chiefly because Joe Cahn was the MC.
Shuckers lining up to shuck
This guys was my favorite, but he didn't make it.
The Shucker Winner was from Desire. A humble man who shucked 20 oysters in 2 minutes.
Joe Cahn enjoyed his role as oyster taster.
What follows next is a series of pictures of people I found "interesting".
A chef from Antoine's
This picture is blurry, but I needed to show it to show men what NOT TO WEAR in public.
Later we ran into a friend that gave us access to the Acme Oyster House VIP area to watch the Bucktown Allstars. We found this group of derelicts interesting:
Eventually the NOPD ran them off
Our day didn't go without catching a few local "celebrities">
Chef Andrea Apuzzo and Joe Cahn
Monica Pierre, local radio host and award winning woman.
By this time it was 3 pm and we were as fried as the oysters, so we decided to head home. All three of us are sunburned in one way or another, but it was fun. We're looking forward to next week's Vieux To Do featuring three festivals in one.