Love a great gumbo? Whether it’s chicken and andouille or chock full of seafood, gumbo is one of the staples of New Orleans and Creole food, and it’s done up a million different ways by restaurants and families across the city. For this reason, gumbo is seen as a testament to local culture in general, as the city is a melting pot of people, cultures and traditions. To celebrate gumbo and the Treme neighborhood, the Louisiana Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation presents the seventh annual Treme Creole Gumbo Festival (Nov. 8-9, 11 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.).
The festival is situated in the quaint setting of Armstrong Park, specifically in Congo Square, a historic landmark where antebellum slaves socialized and held rituals complete with traditional African dances and music. It’s here that the foundation of jazz was cultivated as well as other roots music, such as the beloved brass band.
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival combines these aspects of local culture with a slew of gumbo dishes served up throughout the grounds, in addition to other traditional local foods. One of the latest additions to the festival is the Vegan Gumbo Competition, which spiced up the lineup for vegetarians and vegans, who usually cannot eat the meat and seafood filled gumbo selections.
Throughout the day, brass bands take the stage, and many of these members actually grew up in the celebrated Treme neighborhood. This includes everyone from the Treme Brass Band and Hot 8 Brass Band on Saturday to all-female Pinettes Brass Band and Soul Rebels Brass Band on Sunday. Also new to this event, the festival hosts the Class Got Brass competition, and this year’s winner, the St. Augustine High School Brass Band, will also perform a short set.
In addition to great local music and food, local artisans will fill the Arts Market with various artworks and handcrafted goods. This year, the festival is merging the Arts Market and Kids area so that local artists can lead interactive and creative workshops for children and families to enjoy.
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival is a free event that can be accessed after a streetcar ride downtown and a quick walk across part of the French Quarter, as Armstrong Park borders one side of the Quarter.
The hot tip is to do the $2.00 sample size until you find that best gumbo that excites your palate.