Annette Sisco’s “Only in New Orleans” column for Feb. 28, 2013

By Annette Sisco

Special to The Advocate

The parish fish fry is a tradition in New Orleans during Lent, raising funds for churches large and small. And I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed in the crispy catfish and creamy baked macaroni and cheese that are staples at these events.

But the fish fry on Friday at the Lantern Light Ministry at St. Joseph’s Church, 1803 Gravier St., promises to be something extra-special.

This year, the cooking is courtesy of more than a dozen chefs, many of whom have appeared on the Food Network show “Chopped.” And when you stop by Friday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., you might meet one.

Celebrity chefs include Matt Murphy of Irish House, Tariq Hanna of Sucre, Chuck Subra of JW Marriott, RenĂ© Bajeux of RenĂ© Bistrot, Matt Murphy of Irish House, New Orleans firefighter and Manning’s cook Mike Gowland and many others.

“The proceeds of the fish fry will go to help with outreach to the working poor,” said Sister Vera Butler of the Presentation Sisters, who operate Lantern Light Ministry’s Rebuild Center at St. Joseph’s Church.

“We help them with basic services to get them back on their feet: daily lunches Monday through Friday, help with IDs and birth certificates, a place to receive mail, help with prescriptions,” Butler said.

Ten dollars buys a plate of fried catfish, three-cheese baked macaroni, bread and a drink.

For customers, “this is a great way of helping others while they enjoy a great meal,” Butler said.

“And Sucre is providing the dessert,” she added: bananas Foster bread pudding.

Order ahead at (504) 273-5573 to pick up plate lunches between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Walk-in lunches will be sold from noon to 4 p.m.

Race Judicata

When it’s time to run or walk off some of those extra calories, the New Orleans legal community has the perfect venue.

Loyola Law School is sponsoring the Race Judicata on March 9 at Audubon Park. It’s a fun run, walk and 5K race to benefit Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans.

Sign up before March 7 by calling (504) 484-7744.

Due to illness, unemployment, relocation or other reasons, some families can’t provide children the structure and support they need to thrive academically.

Boys Hope Girls Hope steps in to work hand-in-hand with the parents and guardians of bright, motivate needy children, operating two residences in Mid-City that provide a structured, values-centered place to live and learn while they go to school.

The race will offer prizes for the best finishing times, and fun new awards for best team name, best-dressed runner, best-dressed team and, yes, best-dressed pet.

For more information, call (504) 484-7744.

Annette Sisco is community news editor. She can be reached at asisco@theadvocate.com.