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Louisiana Food Festivals Celebrate Regional Cuisine

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New Orleans hosts a collection of food festivals throughout the year to suit a variety of tastes. Louisiana’s cuisine is well known throughout the U.S. and even across the world. Dishes like jambalaya, gumbo and especially seafood are unique to this Gulf Coast state, and as a result of historical French and Spanish influences, Louisiana serves up these specialties with unique flavor. Preparing traditional meals is a nod to the state’s rich history and culture, even when they are prepared with a modern twist.

Because recipes for these Louisiana classics are passed down through many generations, they have come to represent a sense of community among residents young and old. Louisiana families enjoy gathering in the kitchen to share a meal with loved ones. It’s no surprise that food has become a central theme among the state’s festivals, where novice and experienced chefs often share their own take on Louisiana favorites. Festivals typically include live music and arts and crafts shows, as well as games and activities for children.  

Examples of popular Southeast Louisiana food festivals include:

  • Bridge City Gumbo Festival — This festival highlights one of Louisiana’s favorite culinary traditions and features a gumbo cook-off, where festivalgoers can sample varieties like chicken, sausage and seafood.
  • French Market Creole Tomato Festival — Held in the historic French Quarter, this festival kicks off tomato season with Creole tomato dishes like crabmeat-stuffed tomatoes, fried green tomatoes and tomato-and-basil-filled crepes.
  • French Quarter Festival — Local vendors set up booths featuring their specialities, including turtle soup, Crawfish Louise and king cake bread pudding.
  • Greek Festival — This weekend-long festival features many kinds of Greek food, such as gyros and baklava.
  • Louisiana Catfish Festival — Held in the fishing town of Des Allemands, this festival offers festivalgoers catfish platters galore.
  • Louisiana Crawfish Festival — This festival features classic crawfish dishes and new additions, including crawfish quesadillas and crawfish fried rice.
  • The New Orleans Oyster Festival brings together the Southeast Region’s best oyster restaurants to serve up some of the culinary city’s favorite dishes.
  • Plaquemines Parish Heritage and Seafood Festival — This festival features a variety of Louisiana favorites, including crab cakes, crawfish etouffe and shrimp poboys.
  • Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival — This festival is all about strawberries, which are served up in every form imaginable, including crowd-pleasers like strawberry shortcake and even deep-fried strawberries. 
Photo Credit: French Quarter Festivals Inc.; French Market Creole Tomato Festival; New Orleans Oyster Festival