The first weekend of April each year is reserved for one thing in Scott, Louisiana: Cajun food. The annual Scott Boudin Festival took place from 6 April to 8 April 2018 at Scott Park and showcased the rich Cajun history the city enjoys. The heritage of Southern Louisiana as a whole was on display all weekend, but as the Boudin Capital of the World, it was only natural that the City of Scott would put this Cajun delicacy front and center in the festivities. The history of Scott is evident in the motto of the celebration itself, with the Scott Boudin Festival hosted “Where the West Begins and the Boudin Never Ends.”
Not Familiar with the Motto?
Scott, Louisiana, is a small town in Southern Louisiana that plays an outsized role in the celebration of the state’s Cajun and Creole history. The motto in use for the Boudin Festival expresses those roots perfectly. Scott emerged as an organized city because it was established as a westward railroad city, hence the use of “Where the West Begins.” The latter half of that motto, “Boudin Never Ends,” is a nod to the city’s status as the Boudin Capital of the World. Never tried Boudin? You don’t know what you’re missing! This traditional Creole and Cajun dish features recipes passed down from one generation to the next. In short, boudin is a combination of rice, seasoning, and pork. While pork is the traditional meat base, don’t be surprised if you find shrimp, crawfish, and even alligator in the mix at the Scott Boudin Festival.
Scott Boudin Festival – the story
The story of Scott Boudin Festival is remarkable. Mayor of Scott, Purvis Morrison, puts it this way:
“When I get a chance to talk about the festival, I love to talk about the story on how we started it. Back in 2011 when I became Mayor, I was approached by our Tourism Coordinator for Lafayette Parish who suggested that we become the Boudin Capital of the World. At first, I was shocked, but then I realised, yes, we can do it! So, we started campaigning and on April 12, 2012, Scott, Louisiana was designated by the State Legislature of Louisiana as the “Boudin Capital of the World. This had to be celebrated, and the festival was born.”
“Once the legislation was passed by the House and the Senate we knew we had no choice, but to present some type of festival” explained Jan-Scott Richard, Boudin Festival president. “We have progressed over the years. We’ve utilised volunteers, we delegated different roles for certain people on the board, and then we’ve had a great response from the community in regard to sponsorship, and of course our food vendors. As for the patrons, I think we give them as much musical line up we can regarding top-notch quality music and different genres.”
Boudin Capital of the World
Scott is called Boudin Capital of the World for a good reason.
“We needed a festival, especially for boudin, because Scott is the Boudin Capital of the World”, says Aubrey Cole of Don’s Speciality Meats. “So, between our six major vendors that are at the Boudin Festival, three of us are on I10, which has a lot of traffic. That’s why we named Scott the Boudin Capital of the World. Between three of these major businesses, we produce about 35,000 pounds (15.6 tons) of boudin a week. So, we use a lot of pork. It’s a big staple of our economy and our culture in South Louisiana.”
For Scott, LA, with a population under 10,000 people, Boudin Festival is an important part of the local economy. Each year the festival draws thousands of people to enjoy music, dance and great food. This festival is a must, but don’t take our word for it! Here is what the organizers have to say:
Mayor of Scott, Purvis Morrison
“Put the date in your calendar! We have a great KOA Campground where you can bring your camper, we have hotels, we have shuttle buses that will pick you up and bring you back so you won’t get lost. I promise you, that you will have an event of a lifetime because you’ll relate to us, because 9 out of 10, we are related somewhere down the line because it all started down here. So, come taste the flavour from Scott because I guarantee you you’ll love it.”
Mary Morrison, Board Member
“For everyone who hasn’t visited the Scott Boudin Festival, you’re missing an awesome good time. This is something you have to do in your lifetime, is come over to the Scott Boudin Festival, the Boudin capital of the world, So make sure you make it to the Scott Boudin Festival next year. We promise you are going to pass a good time.”
Jan-Scott Richard, Boudin Festival president
“You gotta come out and experience what we call true southern hospitality. We open our arms to everyone around here, it’s a community that really embraces people from all walks of life, and from all regions of the country, if not the nation. We encourage everybody to come and experience not only the Boudin, but what our cultures are really about, which is that family friendly atmosphere, where we welcome everybody, and we treat each other like family”.
Troy Bergeron – chairperson for the Scott Cultural District
“For someone who’s never been to Scott: Just pause. Pause from your very, very busy life. Take a deep breath, relax and come over here to Scott, Louisiana, and enjoy some good southern hospitality. You will not regret it. We’re waiting for you.”
Aubrey Cole, Don’s Speciality Meats
“You are missing a big show over here. You are missing a big party. Beautiful weather. We always have an excellent crowd, anywhere from seven to eight thousand people. Enjoyment of friends and family getting together, dancing and drinking, having a good time. And, of course, eating food from our culture, from South Louisiana, such as boudin, boudin balls, cracklings”
Chad Leger, Chief of Police for the city of Scott
“We have a very unique municipality here. We have that positive reputation where people know they come to Scott. I had a lady yesterday who told me point blank: ‘This is the only festival that I bring my family to. Well it’s because we’re safe. I know for sure my kids are safe. My family’s safe and we’re gonna have a good time and I don’t have to worry about anything.’ So, if you are not here, you are missing out on great food, great friends, and great times.”
Glenn Baudoin, board member
“We think of this as a family safe, friendly, weekend. We feel that the people of Scott, Louisiana, can put their best food forward better than any community in the world. I would be hard pressed to find anybody who can do for a community what this group of people have assembled in this one little area. This is about a two-mile square area. I just don’t know of any community who can put together the entire package. We have it right in front of the city hall. We have it right in front of the police department. We have it right in front of the fire station. Come over and see for yourself!”
Caster “Cass” Lee Andres, board member
“It is the most peaceful and children-friendly festival. And this is our sixth year, and it’s going great. if you haven’t been to this festival before, you need to come and enjoy the great food we got. It’s not just boudin. We got boudin, crackling, fried chicken, red beans, hamburger, hot dog, fried fish, so everybody could find something to eat. And that’s the main thing about a festival. People like to go to the festival to see the different foods they could eat, and you got great variety if you come here.”
Chad Sonnier, Scott Fire Chief
“We have 4 hotels in Scott and then we have a camp ground. And every year people who come to the hotels and the camp ground, they are booking for the following year already. You can’t get a hotel room, you can’t get a camp ground site and there’s a reason why, it’s because everybody wants to come back. So, make your reservations early and come see us next year.”
Preston Joseph Bernard, board member
“This festival has everything it takes to be your ‘must visit” event. From great food, inspiring music, to a warm southern hospitality. Come and experience it for your self and bring your family with you. The festival is growing and getting better and better each year. Come and join the party!”
Friday 6 April
The festivities at the Scott Boudin Festival kicked off on Friday evening with an opening ceremony at the main stage in Scott Park. Opening performances included Kevin Naquin, Chee Weez, and Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco Band playing the most famous of Cajun music stylings.
Saturday 7 April
The Scott Boudin Festival hit another gear on Saturday for the first full day of activities and performances. The day started with local Cajun and Creole artists showing off their works at the Arts & Crafts booths located throughout Scott Park. At the same time as the Arts & Crafts were open for visitors to wander through, Valarie’s Vocals and Warren Storm & Willie Tee took to the stage to entertain the crowd.
The afternoon included two different dance competitions. At 2:00 pm, a Cajun dance competition followed a lunchtime performance by Nik L Beer. Curley Taylor performed in between the dance competitions, with a Zydeco dance competition kicking off at 4:30 pm. The evening featured Dustin Sonnier and Bag of Donuts before the highlight of the festival. Children and adults alike clamored into Scott Park and gathered throughout the city of Scott to catch the annual Scott Boudin Festival fireworks display which began shortly after sunset. Chris Ardoin sent folks home in a great mood with a performance after the fireworks display concluded.
Sunday 8 April
The weekend may have been one of celebration, but Cajuns would be remiss to let slide their traditions just in the name of a party. The festival opened on the final day at 9:30 am, with the first official event on the schedule, a Catholic mass, held at 10:00 am. The Arts & Crafts booths were open all day again, with the more local Cajun and Zydeco performers entertaining the crowds throughout the afternoon with Valarie’s Vocals playing again, along with Bobby Page and the Swamp Pop Express and Geno Delafose.
Sunday’s highlight event won’t surprise any regular attendee of the Scott Boudin Festival. At 4:00 pm there was a Boudin Eating Contest showcasing the delicacy at the center of the entire celebration. The festival closed later with a performance by Lil Nate capping a weekend of family, community, and fun taking place in the heart of the Boudin Capital of the World.