Mondays are a traditional day in south Louisiana to eat red beans and rice. Thanks to the United Way and some teams of talented cooks, there are two chances to do just that. The public is invited to eat their fill, have a good time and support a great cause, all for $8.
The West St. Tammany Red Beans ’N’ Rice Cook-Off will be July 28 at the St. Tammany Parish School Board Building, 321 N. Theard St., Covington. And the East St. Tammany Red Beans ’N’ Rice Cook-Off is Aug. 4 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1578 W. Hall Ave., Slidell.
Both the east and west St. Tammany cook-offs include desserts in the $8 charge. Soft drinks and water will be available for purchase, and raffle prizes will be awarded.
Both events will be from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Judging and awards will take place at 1 p.m. both days.
The cook-offs are fundraisers for United Way partner agencies, as well as the St. Tammany Suicide Prevention Support Program. Since the east St. Tammany event began in 2005, more than $150,000 has been raised. The west St. Tammany cook-off began in 2010.
The cook-offs kick off the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign. Along with UW, the east Tammany event is presented in partnership with St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 and the Slidell Police Department. The west Tammany cook-off is presented in partnership with St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 4 and St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 12. The St. Tammany Parish Department of Fire Services helps present both events.
“The fact that all money raised stays right here in St. Tammany is huge,” said Jaime Burchfield, marketing director for the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
The cook-off in Covington will feature 15 teams. They will compete for a variety of awards, including the coveted People’s Choice Award, which last year went to a team from the office of St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister. A Community Spirit Award goes to the team that raises the most money for United Way, and the Best Decorated Booth will be named.
Local fire departments will compete amongst themselves for the Best Fire Beans Award, with the winner receiving an artist-decorated firefighter’s helmet. In 2013, that honor (as well as first place in the judge’s awards,) went to the team from STP Fire District No. 9.
Fire District No. 9 will provide the beans for take-out and drive-thru orders. Drive-thru is available at the 100 block of East 24th Street in Covington.
Members of the judges’ panel for the Covington cook-off are Covington Mayor Mike Cooper, Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere, chef Pete Kusiw, Ashley Rodrigue, Alia Casborné and a representative from Louis and the Redhead Lady. Event co-chairmen are STP Fire District No. 4 Chief Merrick Tassin and STP Fire District No. 12 Chief Kris Hines. Rick Windhorst is honorary chairman and will emcee the cook-off.
In Slidell, 18 teams will compete. ElderCare LA, LLC won the judge’s competition in 2013 and Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith’s team won the People’s Choice Award.
The east St. Tammany judge’s panel is composed of chefs Willie Haddad, Louis Ocha and John Magliolo; a representative from Camellia Brand; Rene Arcemont; and Carol Beech and Jill Scholl, of the Slidell Women’s Civic Club. Event chairman is STP Fire District No. 1 Chief Chris Kaufmann and co-chairman is Kevin Foltz.
Music will be provided at Slidell by DJ Dan Laurent. Take-out orders and drive-thru will be available at the KC Hall. ElderCare LA will provide beans for those orders.
Both events are open to the public. For more information, call the United Way at (985) 778-0815.