A festival triumvirate

by Anna Purdy

Do you like tomatoes, seafood, Cajun or zydeco music? Chances are if you live in Louisiana one of these is a passion of yours. If not, airfare is cheap in the summer months.

June 11 and 12 the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival coincide to form the mighty triumvirate of fun called the New Orleans Vieux To Do. All are located in the French Quarter. Food vendors, a crafts fair and three stages of music are offered.

Starting at 11 a.m. and going until 7 p.m. on both days, some of our locals featured to perform are Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars, Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet, Nathan Williams & the Zydeco Cha Chas and Horace Trahan & the Ossun Express among others. The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival will take place at the old U.S. Mint.

The Creole Tomato Festival happens a few steps down in the French Market. Why celebrate a tomato? This fruit is the biggest differentiation between Cajun and Creole cooking. If you have ever been in New Orleans for a gumbo only to make plans for the exit when your pal adds a bunch of stewed tomatoes to the roiling pot, don't hold it against them. That's just the difference several bridges have made between us and them.

The Louisiana Seafood Festival of 2011 is, of all years, some serious business. Louisiana's seafood reputation has been tarnished due to no fault of the fisherman and it is still delicious seafood that needs to be celebrated. Bywater Bar-B-Que will be there offering up an oyster and artichoke florentine and shrimp remoulade stuffed tomato; Vaucresson's Sausage Company will have Creole hot sausage po'boy and Creole crawfish sausage po'boy; Brocatos's Eat Dat has shrimp and roasted corn cheese grits, Cajun shrimp and crawfish etoufee and shrimp remoulade wraps, and there are more but to write about them is torture to the tastebuds and tummy.

It's all free, so if you feel like a roadtrip consider this a great option.