Shreveport-Bossier’s annual Let the Good Times Roll Festival, coming up June 21-23, 2013, is probably best known for live music. Rho Omega and Friends, Inc. always programs a surprising and exciting mix of zydeco, hip-hop, R&B and more. This year’s festival is no exception, as music headliners include everyone from hip-hop stars like Juvenile, Mystikal and Biz Markie to popular zydeco acts like Chris Ardoin and Keith Frank.
Though less appreciated than the music line-up, the list of food and drink vendors at Let the Good Times Roll is equally exceptional. Here are a few food and drink recommendations for those who are planning to attend:
1) Omega Oil Cocktails
(also known as “Que Brew,” with a historical cocktail antecedent known as “Purple Jesus”)
Right off of the bat, I should point out that this is a potent alcoholic beverage, and should only be consumed responsibly by those ages 21 and up. To state it as plainly as possible: Omega Oil is a legendary fraternity house punch with a refreshing, easy-drinking nature that disguises its strength. A little dab, as they say, will do you.
2) Sweet Jones’ Stuffed Shrimp
The current (May/June 2013) issue of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine features a history of the Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp, which has its origins in the kitchen of Shreveport’s Freeman and Harris Cafe. While Freeman and Harris Cafe – one of the first black-owned restaurants in the United States – has long since closed its doors, you can still taste their legacy in these enormous shrimp stuffed with Creole dressing. Everyone has their favorite iteration of this Shreveport delicacy (I really love the C&C Cafe version), but it’s great to be able to eat these at a local festival, since this way of preparing stuffed shrimp really is an intensely local thing.
3) Smoked Turkey Legs Marinated in Rho Omega Sauce
It’s going to be embarrassing, but go ahead and commit yourself to eating an enormous, juicy smoked turkey leg. You may want to stake out a nearby table and a pile of napkins prior to joining the line in front of the smoke-filled trailer that sells these delicious things, because from the moment it’s placed in your hand, it will be a delicious burden that prevents you from doing anything else but eating.
Wild Card: Fried Pork Spare Ribs
At last year’s Let the Good Times Roll Festival, the best thing that I ate was a fried pork spare rib from the family that once ran Era’s Turkey Leg Express on Market Street. Era’s is closed now (the building now houses an intriguing-looking place called Rib Tip Express), and the family has relocated to Houston. I’m not sure if this vendor will be back for the 2013 festival. If they do return, rib lovers are going to want to make it a point to try these tender, salt and pepper-spiced ribs.
Visit the official website of the Let the Good Times Roll Festival here. For a regularly-updated list of things to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit the Shreveport-Bossier Fun Guide.
I have fond memories of Freeman and Harris. I loved listening to my mom talk about waiting up for her parents to return from a night on the town. The children would always be rewarded with that delectable stuffed shrimp. I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that stuffed shrimp is a Shreveport creation. I am going to have to find the article you referenced.
Hi, Darlene! Thanks so much for the comment and sharing your recollections. While the stuffed shrimp itself is not a Shreveport creation, I believe that the type of stuffed shrimp that you find in Shreveport-Bossier restaurants are extremely unique. They look and taste different from any others that I have had. I think you would really enjoy the current issue of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture, which has the feature article about Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp. It’ll make you hungry, though! 🙂