All-you-can-eat gumbo, jambalaya for $5
The 162 teams signed up for this year’s Battle for the Paddle, and an anticipated 8,000 people attending the event, will break in a new location on Thursday.
The competition will move down the street to the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center, 274 Edward Dufresne Parkway, in Luling, after years of being at the West Bank Bridge Park.
“We basically outgrew the Bridge Park in teams and attendance so the parish was nice enough to let us go there,” said Tamara Plattsmier, the United Way of St. Charles’ events manager. “Sixteen years ago, it was just a couple of guys from the chemical plants who got together for an idea to raise some money for a good cause. It probably had 10 teams and, over time, it’s grown in to this massive celebration in the parish.”
The local cook-off is open to the public from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 5) at the community center.
All events will be held on center grounds with the same $5 all-you-eat charge (children 10 or under get in free).
Tables and chairs will be provided for seating.
New additions to this year’s Battle for the Paddle include Destrehan High School’s robotics team performing with their robots and one of the cooking teams providing games for children.
Additionally, the entry fee includes entertainment by the well-known, veteran New Orleans-based band Molly Ringwalds with their 80s song lineup.
A family-friendly gathering, the cook-off will also have snowballs on this year’s menu. There will be $1 soft drinks and $2 beer.
“My job is to make sure everyone is happy and full,” Plattsmier said.
Judging will begin at 4 p.m.
Plattsmier said they’ve added five more judges to the gumbo and jambalaya cook-off because the number of teams has been growing, many of them from outside the parish.
Contestants will compete for first, second and third place in both gumbo and jambalaya. People’s choice winners, also in first, second and third places in both categories, will also be announced. Individuals will receive a ballot upon entry to the cook-off.
The West Bank Bridge Park will still figure prominently in the event.
Free parking will be available at the park: the performing arts center parking lot, Satellite Center, R.K. Smith and St. Charles Parish Public Schools Maintenance Facility with free bus transportation to and from a designated bus stop near the entrance gates.
Buses will run from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., which Plattsmier said they hope will encourage people to attend the event.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office will ensure visitors travel safety.
Cook-off proceeds, typically around $45,000, benefit the United Way and serve as the organization’s kick-off for its annual fundraising campaign.
Last year’s UW campaign hit a milestone with a record-setting $3.34 million raised for the organization’s 100-plus programs and 30 partners. The figure is 12 percent up from the previous year.
For more information or to register a Battle for the Paddle team, visit www.uwaysc.org or call Tamara Plattsmier at (985) 331-9063.