WeekINDer 09.28.11

by Anna Purdy

There's nothing that Louisianans excel at more than eating our way to altruism. The Cajundome hosts this year's Hearts of Hope Culinary Classic and Wine Expo...

At this point, the Neville name is synonymous with New Orleans. Like a cool version of the Osmond family, the Nevilles have been the gust of wind behind the New Orleans sound for generations,  and one of the best known of his family name, Aaron Neville, is performing at the James D. Moncus Theatre inside Acadiana Center for the Arts Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. - just the man and a pianist in a stripped-down, bare performance that will show off his vocal range and style. Call the AcA at 233-7060 or go to acadianacenterforthearts.com for tickets.

That Moncus Theatre is certainly getting used: Joaquin Diaz performs at 8 p.m. Friday in a kick-off party for the Latin Festival. Diaz is a merengue artist from Santo Domingo who now lives in Montreal and has vast appeal for both Latin and French audiences and anyone who simply likes to dance. He's also closing out the Latin Fest the following day at Parc International along with a host of both Latin and regional performers. Starting at noon and going until 10 p.m., this festival is free. There will be food and drinks for sale. It's an event sponsored by Asociación Cultural Latino-Acadiana and you can go to aclalaf.org for details.

If you want singer-songwriters, go to Austin. If you want hardcore punk, go to D.C. or New York. If you want zydeco you head to Plaisance where the celebration started. The Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Musical Festival is entering its 29th year as of this Saturday. No, you didn't miss it - it was postponed from its original date of Sept. 3 in order to avoid the deluge of Tropical Storm Lee (which sounds like a really great beach cocktail). This festival bills itself as the first of its kind, a festival devoted entirely to zydeco music. This is an all-day event with doors opening at 10:30 a.m. and going into the midnight hour. The line-up includes Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws, Nathan Williams & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band and Lil Nate & the Zydeco Big Timers. It's held at, of course, Zydeco Park. Go past Opelousas, take exit 23, then roll your windows down and listen for the music to lead you the rest of the way.

The Krewe of Acadiana is hosting its first cook-off this Sunday afternoon. There are two categories to enter into: Savory and Sweet. To compete you can either assemble a team or sponsor a favorite chef and the $250 competition entrance fee goes to the charity of your choosing. Teams gather at the downtown Lafayette parking garage - an event that can't get rained out - at 10 a.m. the day of and begin cooking. At 1 p.m. the cook-off begins and people come and vote for their favorite dish. Each dish/team will have a contribution box dedicated to the charity they support and every time a person wants to vote for that dish they donate what they can in order to vote. So gather up some dollar bills and slip them to a worthy cause. $5 per adult to get in and try out all the great grub. Check out kreweofacadiana.com or call 237-2947 for details.

There's nothing that Louisianans excel at more than eating our way to altruism. The Cajundome hosts this year's Hearts of Hope Culinary Classic and Wine Expo. Hearts of Hope, formerly Stuller Place, is a nonprofit foundation set up for the benefit of sexual abuse victims. Hearts of Hope mediates for kids, sets up programs to help them heal and trains nurses and other professionals how to best help children cope and feel comfortable again. It's a truly important organization that is vital to these kids at their most vulnerable time and they need your help. For a $100 ticket you get to meet and mingle with chefs, munch amazing food, sip great wine and generally just have an awesome time. For $1,000 you can reserve a table. The Wine Expo begins at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets are available by calling 269-1557 or through ticketmaster.com.