German immigrants contributed a great deal to Louisiana culture in the decades after settling upriver from New Orleans in 1721. Some say that sausage features heavily in South Louisiana cuisine because the Germans brought their sausage-making skills here. And perhaps the German love of the accordion made some contribution to that distinctive Cajun music sound.
We know for certain that Des Allemands, Louisiana, wouldn’t exist had it not been for German immigrants. The name itself is French for “of the Germans,” as this is where the first group of German immigrants to arrive in Louisiana settled three centuries ago. And we wouldn’t have the pleasure of heading to Des Allemands (once proclaimed “Catfish Capital of the Universe” by a Louisiana legislature) for the Louisiana Catfish Festival.
Many in Des Allemands depend on fishing for their livelihood, and catfish is king of the local fishing industry. Food vendors at the Catfish Fest do their best to pay tribute. Fest-goers sample from a wide variety of catfish dishes, including catfish platters, catfish boats, catfish po-boys and catfish sauce piquante. Bring some of these flavorful foods home with you, or try your hand at cooking catfish at home.
The festival gets started Friday evening and ends at 8 p.m. on Sunday, with food and music continuing all day and late into the night on Saturday. Activities include pay-one-price rides, games, 1-mile and 5K road races and a catfish-eating contest. There’s also a country store, crafts booths and a plant booth. You should also be ready to dance, as live music is provided throughout the festival by some of South Louisiana’s favorite musicians.
For more information, visit www.louisianacatfishfestival.com.