This Saturday and Sunday, Houma takes the spotlight in South Louisiana to present the first-annual Best of the Bayou Festival. Two stages downtown – appropriately named Boudin Bayou and Gulf Groove – will present two days of national and regional acts, all for free. Making the trip from Lafayette will be indie rock sensation The Givers, soul man Marc Broussard and gypsy swing band The Red Stick Ramblers, while Bonerama heads over from New Orleans and The Gourds and Ruthie Foster from Texas. Houma natives and French rock band Isle Derniere will also be on hand, hopefully with their go go dancers.
Best of the Bayou is the first two-day festival in downtown since the departure of Downtown on the Bayou almost 10 years ago. Twenty-five bands in all will take the stage, and more than a dozen food booths will surround courthouse square. Charbroiled oysters, bacon-wrapped shrimp, fried alligator and bread pudding are on the menu, as are original art and homemade crafts for sale in the Gulf Coast Marketplace, which will be set up near the food court.
While Houma is only an hour from New Orleans, hour and a half from Lafayette and hour and 45 minutes from Baton Rouge, it sometimes gets overlooked by tourists and locals. This weekend is a great excuse to visit South Louisiana’s true bayou town and experience an authentic slice of coastal culture. Houma’s downtown historic district is on the National Register of Historic Places, and you’ve probably seen the area on the big screen more than you realize. Remember the “Swamp Thing” comic books and 1982 film directed by Wes Craven? They were set in the Houma area. How about Kate Hudson’s creepy movie “The Skeleton Key?” Also set there.
In fact, Oprah, Forest Whitaker, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mariah Carey were recently in town filming for “The Butler,” a film about the life of African-American White House butler Eugene Allen, who worked for eight presidents. Check out Le Petit Theatre on Main Street, old City Hall and the courthouse in between music sets. You’ll be seeing them in the movie, due out next year.
Best of the Bayou kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, and the music plays until 10 p.m. On Sunday, music starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until 8 p.m. Both days are free to attend. Click here to listen to a playlist of the lineup. Poster art by Susan Shaffer will be available at the merchandise booth for $15.