First crawfish cook-off draws big-name judges to Destrehan

St. Charles Parish’s first crawfish cook-off will kickoff with a bang this Sunday after organizers landed high-profile celebrity judges such as former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson and former Gov. Edwin Edwards.

The Crawfish Cook-Off Festival will be held at the Jerusalem Shrine Center in Destrehan from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 8.

Other judges at the event include retired seafood legend Al Scramuzza, Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, Cox sports announcer Eric Richey, Ms. St. Charles Parish Taylor Rebowe, St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre and St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne.

David Scheuermann, one of the event’s organizers, said they were able to attract celebrity judges because the cook-off is a fun way to benefit the Jerusalem Shrine Center and the Ormond Civic Association.

“It’s going to benefit good causes and it’s going to be fun for (the judges) too,” Scheuermann said. “They get to eat a lot of crawfish.”

So far, 25 teams have signed up for the cook-off, but Scheuermann said up to 40 teams can enter. Teams have until Saturday to register for the event.

Each team must cook a minimum of 200 pounds of crawfish during the day. The judges will determine the overall winner, while the crowd will help pick the people’s choice champion.

Judging will be based on taste, appearance, firmness and ease of peeling. Crawfish for the event is being provided by The Seafood Pot in Destrehan.

“The Ormond Civic Association and the Jerusalem Shriners are two great non-profit organization that have roots in St. Charles Parish and have joined together to start something new and fun that a whole family can enjoy,” Karl Lirette, vice president of the Ormond Civic Association, said. “There will be plenty of all-you-can-eat, great crawfish supplied by The Seafood Pot, a fun crawfish drop table, a kids section and a chance to meet many local, extra special guest judges.”

Adults must pay $25 to enter, but can eat all the crawfish they can handle. Those between the ages of 10-16 pay $10 admission, while those under 10 get in for free.

The paid admission comes with two drink tickets.

Along with the food, there will be several activities for kids, including face painting and inflatables. Attendees will also be able to listen to music from four bands. The Shrine Jazz Orchestra will perform from 10:30 a.m. until noon and will be followed by Giacomo, who will play until 3:30 p.m. Rockin’ Oldies takes the stage from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., and Chicken on the Bone will close out the festival by playing huge hits of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.Scheuermann said that the cook-off will become an annual event and he expects a big crowd.

“We hope (the attendance) is overwhelming,” he said. “We are hoping to get between 2,000 to 3,000 people.”

Proceeds from the crawfish cook-off will benefit community projects the Jerusalem Shriners and Ormond Civic Association will sponsor in the future.

If you would like to register your team, call (504) 874-4212 or (504) 782-5275. The entry fee is $100 per team and teams can register until Saturday.

Along with the people’s choice award and overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners as determined by the judges, there will also be a spirit award for the best decorated booth. Accompaniments, such as corn, potatoes and sausage, will also be judged by the celebrity panel.

Judging will begin at 1 p.m. and the awards will be presented between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The Jerusalem Shrine Center is located at 1940 Ormond Blvd. in Destrehan.


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