Baton Rouge native Michael Arnone presented his first Crawfish Fest, devoted to Louisiana music and Louisiana food, in New Jersey in 1989, and has brought it back to the state every year since then, except for the first two years of the pandemic. (It returned to the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta in June 2022.) It will not be happening this year, though Arnone says it is only a “pause”; he is looking at other New Jersey venues and hopes to return in 2024, he says.
In the meantime, though, he is inviting Crawfish Fest devotees to reunite on a Big Easy Cruise that leaves from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 4 and stops in New Orleans and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 11.
Arnone is not producing the music on the cruise, but those who book cabins with the promo code CFF will receive a discounted rate, an invitation to an onboard event hosted by Arnone and exclusive to Crawfish Fest fans, and a box of the jambalaya mix he created in conjunction with the festival.
Performers on the cruise will include Little Feat, Tab Benoit, Irma Thomas, Samantha Fish, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Leo Nocentelli (of The Meters), Anders Osborne, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Tuba Skinny, John Boutté, Cha Wa, Rockin’ Dopsie & the Zydeco Twisters, the Honey Island Swamp Band and John “Papa” Gros. Most if not all have performed at at least one Crawfish Fest.
Plus, Kevin Shelton, who has hosted the public television shows “New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton” and “Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Kitchen,” will be onboard. (Arnone may do some cooking as well.) And while in New Orleans, cruise guests will receive free admission to a concert by the band Galactic at the famed Tipitina’s nightclub.
To make cruise reservations or get more information, visit bigeasycruise.com/cff.
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