New Orleans has woven into it’s DNA food and music, sometimes they literally ooze from the cities pores. The Crescent City boasts countless festivals and events, large and small, celebrating the culture of New Orleans. Some of these events are purely for entertainment and some have started as a way to help others in need (still, by having a great time and throwing a wonderful party.) The reason New Orleans embraces these events is because the city knows about the healing power of food and music. One festival that has become a national force for helping others is Hogs for the Cause.
Hogs For The Cause(HFC) is a BBQ festival, started to raise money for children with brain cancer(pediatric brain cancer.) The festival is an anomaly of sorts, because New Orleans is not really known as a BBQ destination, showing the power of people when they put their minds to a creative idea. The festival was started twelve years ago out of the kindness of two friends, Becker Hall, and Rene Louapare who wanted to help a friend’s family dealing with pediatric brain cancer. The gentlemen started with a single hog and a few kegs of beer, making enough money to keep going the following year, but with much more planning and preparation. Today, the festival is over two days (March 27-28,) boasting 85 regional and national teams and musical lineup of over 20 acts.
The structure of HFC is quite simple. The festival is set up like a tailgate or a farmers market. Each registered team is giving a spot, spray painted out and that is it. The rest is up to the creativity of the teams. The team names can give a clue as to the lengths the teams are willing to go: Aporkalypse Now, Swine Krewe, Silence of Da Hams and Mrs. Piggleworth. The dishes range from classic dishes to the super creative; Cracklins, Pulled Pork Mac N Cheese, Bacon Cotton Candy, and Korean BBQ Nachos. Each team can be as creative as they wish, some set up camps and are out there a few days in advance and partying each night. Each team sets their own prices for samples, and they do run out, so the best bet is to put a little preparation into your meal plan. Most of teams are so invested because they have a personal connection to the cause, so they really put their hearts into the friendly competition.
The other half of the festival is the music. Two days, and 20 bands. This year features, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Randolph and YOLA and many local acts Dave Jordan and the NIA, Free Agents Brass Band and Sweet Crude. The festival is located outside of the city on the grounds of the UNO Lakefront arena, so taxi, Uber and Lyft are the most efficient as well as the 57 Bus Route. Tickets are available online and at the gate, and they are using the wristband system, and its possible to get wristband mailed to you so its possible to walk right in.