NEW ORLEANS, June 4, 2011 – This weekend, the city of New Orleans, Louisiana hosted its annual Oyster Festival. Held in the French Quarter, just down from Jackson Square, this event aptly demonstrated the myriad of ways Louisiana Oysters can be cooked—without losing any of the robust taste for which they are known.
The festival featured booths from famous restaurants, an oyster shucking contest, and some of the best music you’ll hear this side of the Mighty Mississippi. Not only that, several environmental organization displays offered a glimpse into on-going efforts to not only help this industry thrive, but improve its bounty.
Everywhere you looked, chefs and cooks offered some of the best, tastiest dishes that can be made from Louisiana oysters: stews, pies, fried oysters, baked oysters, oyster brochette—you name it, they had it, we ate it!
Mouth-watering aromas floated for blocks, beckoning one into the festival, and once you arrived, your now-heightened senses weren’t disappointed. Brightly decorated booths filled the area, offering tantalizing tastes of one of the Louisiana’s richest seafood offerings.
For instance, one booth offered charbroiled oysters in three different versions. A couple of booths down, another offered stewed oysters and a divinely rich oyster pie. Every single offering not only looked fabulous, it held a delicate taste that exploded in your mouth with wonderful, spicy flavors.
Listed below is a very abbreviated list of some of the unbelievable oyster offerings that could be found, and the local establishments that offered them:
- Acme Oyster House: Oyster and shrimp po-boys
- Andrea’s: Oysters angel hair Agli-e-olio
- Antoine’s: Oyster bon Femme with Bow Tie Pasta, plus Baked Alaska
- Bourbon House: McIlhenny Oysters
- Broussards: Oysters Rockefeller Soup
- Court of Two Sisters: Oyster Louise and Oyster Pie
- Desire Oyster Bar: BBQ Oyster po-boy
- Drago’s: Charbroiled Oysters
- Galatoire: Open faced Oyster Brochette
- GW Fins – Sizzlin’ Oysters
- Gumbo Pot: Pepper Jelly Oysters
- Hard Rock Café: Oyster Brochette
- Luke: Fried Oysters with Smoked Tomato Relish
- Oceana Restaurant: Seafood Gumbo with Oysters
- Pat O’Brien’s: Steak and Oyster Pie
- Royal House: Oyster Rockefeller Boue
- Red Fish Grill: BBQ Oyster Po-Boy
- Remoulade Restaurant: Shrimp and Oyster Eggrolls
- Stanley: Louisiana Oyster Po-Boy
Needless to say, once visitors tried all the delectable samples, it was hard to decide which was best. This writer voted for a all-over tie, because every item was not only delicious, but also created with such great flavor that each bite left you wanting more—even when your stomach screamed “Enough! Can’t hold any more!”
The Oyster Shucking contest, held on the main stage, was terrific. For those who are uninitiated in the proper way to shuck oysters, this writer can vouch for—and has suffered the cuts to prove it—shucking oysters is a very serious undertaking. It is actually a very refined process, because oysters are not only hard to open, trying to get them open with the proper tool can also be very dangerous. The simple fact that the contestants shucked those oysters on stage at a break-neck pace was nothing other than fantastic. And—they did it without suffering an injury, something the paramedics standing nearby appreciated!
There is, however, a serious side to the oyster industry, and this festival did a good job of bringing the plight of oyster fishermen and those associated with the industry to the forefront. Currently, with the Mississippi River threatening to overflow its banks throughout Louisiana, spillways are open, bringing fresh water into the area where oysters live and thrive. Because oysters need brackish water to live, this influx of Mississippi River water may threaten large portions of this unique industry. Efforts are currently underway to not only help prevent damage to the oyster population, but also to help the industry grow and thrive.
There’s also another reason to eat Louisiana Seafood: Thanks to the BP Oil spill, Louisiana seafood underwent massive amounts of testing and was pronounced fit to for human consumption. ALL Louisiana Seafood is safe to eat, bountiful, and just plain delicious! For further proof, just check out the slideshow below!
As the multiple offerings at the Louisiana Oyster Festival prove, it doesn’t matter whether oysters are raw, baked, broiled, boiled, fried, charbroiled, roux-ed or stewed, they are always sublime!
Carla is the author of four published suspense novels, and her latest book, Artful Misdirection, is currently available in Kindle format on Amazon.com. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot and LinkedIn.
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