First Annual LA Red Beans and Rice Heritage and Music Festival

by Keeley Brooks

Louisiana is known for many things, but its top four identifiers are food, culture, music, and football. While Louisiana cuisine serves up a smorgasbord of delectable dishes not found anywhere else in the country, its most popular dish is, without a doubt, red beans and rice. While the dish itself is hearty and delicious, its recipe varies from one cook to another, and this is what allows for those unique taste-testing experiences. If you have an endless appetite for red beans and rice, and for some of the most tasteful cuisines the Bayou State offers, this is your lucky weekend. The first annual Louisiana Red Beans and Rice Heritage and Music Festival is taking place Saturday, March 23 in downtown Baton Rouge from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

The festival is a new, fresh way to bring the community together to celebrate the iconic dish that has become a symbol of Louisiana culture. Its mission is to promote cultural awareness, preserve culinary traditions, and support local artists and musicians while publicly recognizing the history and flavors of the state’s red beans and rice dish.

Local chef and festival founder Tameeka Stewart says she decided to create the event after Former Governor John Bel Edwards declared March 22 a statewide red beans and rice holiday.

“I decided to do this festival in celebration of red beans and rice and all good things Louisiana, and to promote Louisiana musicians and bands. We anticipate it to be one of the biggest food festivals in Baton Rouge and hope to draw tourism to the Capital City outside of New Orleans and the Blues Festival. There will be food tents, 12 food trucks, over 45 arts and crafts vendors, a kid zone, live music, and a bar. This festival will be extravagant and is a chance for everyone to come together and enjoy our state’s culture, cuisine, artists, and entertainers.”

Stewart partnered with Michael Foster of The Michael Foster Project, who generously used his influence to help make the festival happen.

“This is one of those things that will be great for the community and for Baton Rouge, bringing both together in a positive way by supporting Louisiana cuisine and culture” says Foster. “We are happy to be a part of this and will play a one-hour set starting at 3:30 p.m.”

Presented by Blue Runner Foods, the FREE, family friendly festival will showcase local farmers and businesses who provide the citizens of Louisiana with the foods they eat on a daily basis. Cooks from all over the state will be on hand for a red beans and rice cook-off from 8 a.m. – 12 noon, and the winner will be named Louisiana’s Best Red Beans and Rice Cook of 2024 and receive $1,000.

Gerald Gruenig and Mr. Weatherall will host the event, and live music will feature blues, zydeco, and other diverse roots music provided by TNT, Ruben Moreno, Press One for English, Lil Nate & the Zydeco Big Timers, and The Michael Foster Project featuring Secondline Shorty.

So, if you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, grab your chairs, blankets, and appetite and head on down to the Louisiana Rhorer Plaza and Galvez Plaza. Free red beans and rice will be distributed while supplies last, so be sure to be out there for noon to grab your bowl!

For more information on the Louisiana Red Beans and Rice Heritage and Music Festival, visit