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Red beans and rice: A take on the classic Louisiana dish from Food Network’s Melissa D’Arabian

This Jan. 12, 2015 photo shows red beans and rice in Concord, N.H. This is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

When I was growing up, beans and rice were an end-of-month staple. As money got tight, my mom would whip up a beans and rice casserole, a healthy, budget-friendly choice that stretched our pantry a bit longer. Not that we necessarily appreciated it. “It’s a complete protein!” Mom would proudly announce as my sister and I groaned.… Continue reading →

Review: Smashburger adds tasty options to BR’s gourmet burger list

Advocate photo by GEORGE MORRIS -- The regular size of the buffalo and blue cheese burger at Smashburger was surprisingly light but filling.

This may be the ultimate First World problem: Which gourmet hamburger restaurant shall we patronize tonight? Smashburger recently complicated that question for Baton Rouge diners, who already have specialty burger chains and an abundance of creative burger offerings in the city’s bars and grills. Smashburger’s particular take on this American classic is the use of a special… Continue reading →

Crank your lemonade cred with 5 easy sweet-tart infusions

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Lemons used in infused lemonade.

We’re going to come at this one a little backward, and you’re going to love us for it. Straight up fresh lemonade is, of course, delicious. It’s the classic summer refreshment. And we’re going to walk you through making a truly wonderful basic lemonade, as well as some terrific infused lemonades that doctor up that… Continue reading →

I Eat La.: Lightening the menu after the grill-heavy July 4th weekend

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Sauteed Mahi Mahi

I am really looking forward to consuming large amounts of meat on the Fourth of July. Some years, we load up the smoker with all manners of beef, pork and poultry; others, we grill hamburgers and hotdogs, complete with potato salad and baked beans. No matter what we cook, by the time all those good old… Continue reading →

Magazine releases its first cookbook, ‘Louisiana de Mer’

Amberjack po'boy ORG XMIT: BAT1506231356459522

Louisiana Cookin’, a national magazine on Louisiana’s culture and cuisine, is publishing its first cookbook. “Louisiana de Mer” is a 164-page cookbook ($24.95) that takes a seasonal look at Louisiana seafood — from Carnival to the holidays — by using 75 recipes both classic and fresh. Contributing to the book are, among others, chef Patrick Mould,… Continue reading →

What A Crock!: Corn and bean salsa

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- FOR JULIE KAY'S WHAT A CROCK: Embellished Corn and Bean Salsa.

Holidays may be just the time to try out something new. Here’s another July 4 suggestion, especially if your contribution to the party is an appetizer. Take advantage of available fresh corn, but make it easy with other convenience ingredients. The red color of the prepared salsa and the yellow in the corn make for a… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Fresh Tomato Linguini

Photo provided by Family Features -- Fresh Tomato Linguini

This light and simple fresh tomato and pasta entrée is refreshing in the summertime when tomatoes are plentiful. The tomatoes are not cooked for this sauce; they are just tossed in olive oil and lemon juice then warmed. After the pasta is cooked and drained, it’s tossed with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. The chopped tomato… Continue reading →

Jambalaya cooking contest set in Gonzales

Bring your black pots and paddles to the 16th annual JFA Swamp Pop Music Festival Jambalaya Cooking Contest on July 17-18 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The event is part of the 18th annual Price LeBlanc Toyota & Nissan Swamp Pop Festival presented by Sigma Engineers. Jambalaya will be judged… Continue reading →

31 Stout a tribute to lives lost in downed helicopter

Arnaudville’s Bayou Teche Brewing will release a limited edition 31 Stout beer on July 4. 31 Stout will honor the 31 U.S. service members who died Aug. 6, 2011, when their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. Bayou Teche says it was first approached by Trey Monaghan, grandson of French Quarter bar… Continue reading →

‘A culinary celebration’: Ruffino’s hires Houmas House chef Jeremy Langlois

Chef Jeremy Langlois, of Houmas House Plantation

Chef Jeremy Langlois, most recently executive chef at Latil’s Landing at Houmas House Plantation, is now the corporate chef at Ruffino’s. “We feel that adding Jeremy to our already outstanding team at Ruffino’s is nothing short of a culinary celebration,” said Ruffin Rodrigue, Ruffino’s co-owner. “Working alongside Peter and Gino (Sclafani) and our other amazing staff, Jeremy… Continue reading →

A healthy steak, yes, it exists! Well, kind of...

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Cauliflower is a veggie steak favorite, its flavor enhanced by the high heat of grilling or roasting, which coaxes out a sweet earthiness.

We finally live in a world where going meatless on Mondays can appeal to even the enthusiastic carnivore, which is why vegetable “steaks” are becoming increasingly popular. The concept is pretty simple. We cut up thick slices of veggies — often eggplant, portabella mushroom caps, heads of cauliflower — and grill or broil them just as we… Continue reading →

Review: Excellent food, good atmosphere make up for less-than-stellar service at Bin 77

Advocate photo by Ellen Zielinski  --  The shrimp and crab au gratin offered a pepper jack cheese sauce with seafood and roasted poblano peppers, served with a side of French bread.

For our first foray into the world of food writing, we sought out a classy date-night dinner venue, Bin 77. The restaurant mostly delivered on its promise of good atmosphere and delicious food. Located on a corner in Perkins Rowe, the former wine bar expanded to include a lovely courtyard for outdoor seating and a… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Apple Almond Cake

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Apple Almond Cake

Let’s talk desserts. Better yet, let’s eat them. Perhaps you’re the family member signed up to bring something for an upcoming Fourth of July celebration. There’s an easy way to contribute without a lot of stress. Desserts are always good choices to bring to any gathering, namely because most people love them. Even though I like… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Blueberries

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Grandma's Blueberry Lemonade

The biggest and best blueberries are in the stores and at our farmer’s markets now. Those delicious berries with their silvery bloom are especially good this year. That silvery bloom, you know, is their own natural, protective waxy coating. Take full advantage of these delicious blues by adding a handful to your cold or cooked cereal,… Continue reading →

Man enough for the kitchen? These books aim to help

Associated Press photo -- 'Man Food' by Billy Law

Unmanly men need not apply. Or maybe I’m just being overly sensitive. Because just in time for Father’s Day, there’s a whole crop of new cookbooks aimed at guys, and I don’t feel nearly manly enough to cook from them. I suspect that’s kind of the point. Not to make me feel badly, but rather to… Continue reading →

What A Crock!: Raspberry Ribs

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Raspberry Ribs

Baby back ribs frequently go on sale at my grocery store and when they do, I stock up. Typically, barbecue is my favorite go-to dinner, but there are other equally good flavors, and I am trying to branch out. How often do we go back to the same favorites and neglect trying new choices? Whether we’re talking… Continue reading →

Set your mind to taming fire beast for a great steak

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Broiled Flat Iron Steak served next to Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad With Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Normally, I go all out for Mother’s Day with a fancy lunch, printed menus and the good china — the whole nine yards. But on Father’s Day, I try to let the dads be. A nice piece of red meat and an uninterrupted golf nap and they are usually happy. There’s just one problem… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Wilted Spinach Salad

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Wilted Spinach Salad

This Wilted Spinach Salad is different from the ones we used to make. The first wilted spinach salads I made had you fry bacon and use hot bacon fat to drizzle over and wilt the spinach. I remember those salads well, because that was my first introduction using raw spinach in salads; granted, that’s going back… Continue reading →

Farmers market sets date for Farm to Fourth

The Red Stick Farmers Market will hold its second annual Farm to Fourth market Thursday, July 2, at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge. The Farm to Fourth celebration will feature samples and Fourth of July supplies from farmers and food artisans, including Cutrer’s Meat Market, Re: Salad Dressing & Marinade, Papa Tom’s,… Continue reading →

Tomato Me Crazy celebration set Saturday

The Red Stick Farmers Market features Louisiana tomatoes in the annual Tomato Me Crazy celebration Saturday. Held at the corner of Fifth and Main Streets in downtown Baton Rouge, the market will feature face-painting by Liz Lopes, tomato giveaways at the coffee booth and a tomato-themed art booth as part of the Red Stick… Continue reading →

Meat, potatoes cooking contest set

Junior’s Meat Market, 17050 High Water Road, French Settlement, will hold a steak, pork chop and potato cooking contest 8-11:15 a.m. on June 27. Ribeyes, T-bones or Porterhouses may be entered in the steak category. The pork chop category includes pork chops and pork steaks. Baked potatoes may be filled with anything. The dish must… Continue reading →

I Eat La.: Chicken, the versatile protein; including tomato basil chicken served over buttered Parmesan pasta

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Tomato Basil Chicken

Every day when I pick up my girls, I am asked the same two questions: “Can you turn off the ’80s station?” and “What’s for dinner?” No matter what protein I respond with, one will say, “Yum,” and the other will just groan and stuff leftover crackers in her mouth from her lunchbox. The exception… Continue reading →

What A Crock!: All that Zest! Chili sauce provides a spice to milder eggplant

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Chili Eggplant

Chili sauce is one of those ingredients strongly associated with certain recipes. I use it mostly in a meatball appetizer and one particular chili recipe, but it’s a great flavor for lots more. In this case, it provides both the necessary liquid and flavor for the mild-tasting eggplant. You don’t want a sauce of any kind to… Continue reading →

Frittatas: Ultimate have-it-your-way meal

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Pepper Steak Frittata

Frittatas are like quiches without crusts, and that makes them an ideal fast and simple weeknight dinner. They also are the ultimate have-it-your-way meal, and that makes it easy to feed a family of — inevitably — picky eaters. You all get to enjoy the same meal at the same time, but you aren’t… Continue reading →

Close to home: Baton Rouge Table Touts its local farm-to-table approach

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Table's fried green tomatoes are battered in a crispy cornmeal crust and served with blackened shrip and drizzled with cool green goddess dressing.

When you’re a restaurant staying true to the farm-to-table movement, a fox in the henhouse can be a problem. But for Table Kitchen and Bar owners Scott and Michelle Wilson and executive chef Curtis Froelich, it’s an opportunity. “When the truck pulls up and you don’t know what’s in it, it’s like opening a present,” Scott… Continue reading →

Country Roads to honor two Covington chefs

Country Roads magazine will honor four chefs — two from Covington — at the second annual Small Town Chefs Awards. Breanne Kostyk, of Ox Lot 9 at the Southern Hotel, and Torre and David Solazzo, of Ristorante del Porto, both of Covington, will be honored along with Carol Baugnon, of Creola Cafe in Grand Coteau, and… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Add greens to chicken: Chicken and Hearts of Palm (Or Artichokes) Over Spinach

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Chicken and Hearts of Palm (Or Artichokes) Over Spinach

Dress up your entree tonight by layering chicken over a bed of sautéed spinach then topping it with a simple sauce. Have you noticed in magazines that sautéed greens are being tucked under entrees from chicken dishes like this to fancy steaks? I had a big bunch of spinach and used that for this… Continue reading →