First you make a roux, but from there opinions on how to make a great gumbo vary widely from one New Orleans kitchen and cook to another. This weekend, Nov. 10-11, you'll be able to sample six standout renditions of the city's iconic dish at the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, which is one of the free, neighborhood festivals put on by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.
The gumbo festival, started in 2009, seems poised for a breakout this year. It has a new venue in Congo Square at Louis Armstrong Park (901 N. Rampart St.), and the music lineup features 10 brass bands including the Dirty Dozen, Soul Rebels and Hot 8. And then there's the food.
"We have learned over the years that New Orleanians love their music, but they're really passionate about their food," says foundation spokesman Scott Aiges. "With that in mind, for all of our festivals we try to put a really high emphasis on the food and represent that aspect of the culture we're showcasing."
Six vendors will serve a different gumbo along with other dishes. They include Li'l Dizzy's Cafe, NOLA Foods, Brocato's Eat Dat, a well-hidden eatery in New Orleans East, Olivier's Creole Restaurant, Ms. Linda's Creole Catering and its namesake, Linda Green (aka "the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady"), who has for many years served food at second lines and more recently made appearances on national TV food programs. The festival also will feature Celestine Dunbar, of Dunbar's Creole Kitchen, a pre-Katrina Freret Street destination that scheduled to reopen in Gentilly next year.
The festival goes from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day. Admission is free. For details visit www.jazzandheritage.org/treme-gumbo.