Even though the competition was stiff, with 103 teams showing up to cook jambalaya or gumbo, industry representatives won top honors in three of the four events at the 10th annual Battle for the Paddle last week.
And the top-notch competition brought out the crowds. A record-breaking 2,785 people ventured to the West Bank Bridge Park for unlimited samplings of the area’s best gumbo and jambalaya, helping the United Way of St. Charles raise $25,000.
The Battle for the Paddle is held to mark the beginning of United Way of St. Charles’ annual campaign to raise funds that support local programs and agencies serving St. Charles Parish.
“We really enjoy this event because it brings the community together and creates a lot of excitement going into our annual fundraising campaign,” John Dias, executive director of the United Way of St. Charles, said. “Our goal this year is zero- meaning we want to raise enough money so that no one goes without the services needed in our community.”
Cooking began at 11 a.m. and the public was invited to sample the tasty food from 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The 2011 winners of the Battle for the Paddle include:
1. The Aldehyde Strippers, Dow St. Charles Operations
2. OxyChem Jambalaya, OxyChem
3. Rabadeaux, Allen Thibodaux
1. Gumboholics, Valero St. Charles Operations
2. Luling Volunteer Fire Department
3. Gumbo Smiths, Valero St. Charles Operations
People’s Choice Awards
Gumbo: The Paddle Jockeys, Monsanto
Jambalaya: 1st Crew & Associates, Marcus Lambert
United Way of St. Charles also recognized its “Pacesetter” companies. The six companies held their United Way fundraising efforts before the official kickoff to help generate momentum for the campaign. The Pacesetter companies include Dow St. Charles Operations, Monsanto, Valero St. Charles Refinery, OxyChem, Norco Manufacturing Complex and Momentive Specialty Chemicals.