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Lafitte Seafood Festival returns after Ida

No place needs its annual festival right now more than Lafitte.

NEW ORLEANS — The Lafitte Seafood Festival had to be postponed in June because there was still a lot to be done after the devastation from Hurricane Ida.

But the weekend-long festival is back, and there are some big-name bands and, of course lots of good local food.

If you go down to Jean Lafitte, you're going to get some great music from The Marshall Tucker Band, Tina McBride, Lauren Alaina, and of course, good food.

No place needs its annual festival right now more than Lafitte.

"The storm surge wiped us out. The restaurant had to be demolished. It's very difficult to just start over. We lost everything we had, Lisa Bundy, Manager of Jan's Cajun Restaurant, said.

And no people need the economic boost it will bring more than the ones who call it home.

"We lost the family restaurant. We lost our home, my parents, my grandparents, and my aunt. So, we're finally back at my house just after a year. They're just starting my parent's house, and it's just been devastating," said Lanie Adam of Jan's Cajun Restaurant.

The 8,000 people in the Jean Lafitte area were ground zero for Hurricane Ida last year.

"This community was under water, under mud, and under debris. So, it was devastating, so to come back in a fashion that we have, and able to throw this festival just a year later is just remarkable," Mayor Tim Kerner, Jr. said.

Kerner says the community is coming back fast, and it's time to show that off, but there is still unfinished business. Schools are still closed. So, they've lost some young families. FEMA still hasn't decided between a rebuild or repair. Some moved away due to insurance costs too. So, income from this weekend is needed.

So, we can rebuild our baseball field, so we can do some of those things. FEMA money might take a year or two to just get reimbursed for money we already spent out. So, we're not going to wait for a handout," Kerner said.

And he says right now it's never been more important to highlight Louisiana seafood.

"A can of Vienna Sausage is more expensive right now than shrimp, because of the amount of imports that's coming in, and President Biden just accepted even more imports from Ecuador."

Restaurant des Familles is trying to rebuild again. In 2020 there was a fire. Then three weeks before reopening, the Hurricane. Now they have rebuilt again, and hope to reopen again.

When asked how he keeps going forward, Owner Bryan Zar replied, "Well it's actually the guests that keep coming back to the restaurant. We have a lot of support with the community and our Facebook followers keep us going.

They have already sold tickets to people in 38 states, and the big-name music acts have given them a cut rate to help with fundraising.


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