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  • Photo by Rita Cook
    Photo by Rita Cook
  • Photo courtesy of Gumbo Group
    Photo courtesy of Gumbo Group

Cooking with Southeast Louisiana’s Gumbo Group

When you think of Louisiana you think of food, music, culture, Cajuns...

In southeast Louisiana, you can get a smattering of each, but let us go with food, because we all know that is a Louisiana favorite.

I took a weekend trip to southeast Louisiana ducking into a variety of the 10 parishes that make up what is called the Gumbo Group. Each parish is diverse in its own way, and for the sake of eating, here is where I recommend for your next road trip adventure. And, I am also adding one menu recommendation from each parish.

And by the way, in southeast Louisiana it is not all gators and roughing it, the area boasts the deep south culture and gentility too. Food is a clever way to find the best of a destination’s culture and gentility.

Below you will find a factoid about each parish and a suggested food, compliments of the Gumbo Group’s “Cooking with Southeast Louisiana Gumbo” (but you will have to call the parish to get the recipe and plan a trip).


ASCENSION PARISH sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The culinary traditions range from the scent of roux and onions to seafood and chefs in this part of Louisiana create dishes with masterfully fresh and local ingredients.

Suggested Dish: The Guitreau – This one has a whole lot of crawfish tails, shrimp, fish fillet, garlic, and the list goes on.

For more information on the food and a visit to Ascension Parish visit


In EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, it is a mix of the new and classic for the culinary scene. In fact, a suggested activity is a class at Louisiana Culinary Institute and then head over for a local craft beer at Tin Roof Brewery or a rum cocktail from Three Roll Estate Distillery.

Suggested Dish: Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce


HELLO LIVINGSTON PARISH with the largest rural Hungarian Settlement in the US. Alongside that there is a Bass Pro Shop, and 400 miles of waterways. This parish touts the largest Sturgis Poker Run in the United States and if you are an RVer this is your place.

Suggested dish: Crawfish Jambalaya – Need I say more, this is what you were dreaming about, right?


Stop in at LOUISIANA’S RIVER PARISHES with the tagline “Where History, Flavor, and Adventure Collide.” In the New Orleans Plantation Country with a strong history, there are plantations to visit, and in some cases spend a night or weekend. The River Parishes are also home to the Andouille Trail featuring local restaurants offering Andouille meals and signature dishes created by local chefs. This is also the parish known for bonfires during the holiday.

Suggested dish: Andouille Cheesecake


POINTE COUPEE PARISH is history along the Mississippi River going back 300 years. It is home to 10 earthen American Indian mounds built between 700 and 1200 AD and drivable country roads lined with sugarcane. There is a live oak tree walking tour, bike tour, kayaking, SUP boarding, weekly fishing tournaments, hunting, and camping. Try Morel’s Restaurant since 1926 in New Roads and mingle with the locals while you admire False River just outside. 

Suggested dish: Asparagus Salad with Parm and (Bergeron) Pecans


In ST. HELENA PARISH find the sportsman’s paradise with hunting, fishing, and canoeing on the local streams. The history in Greensburg includes the Courthouse, Old Jail Circa 1855, and Land Office Circa 1820. This parish boasts NO red lights and only four caution lights. StHelenaParish.La.Gov

Suggested dish: Rotisserie Cajun Chicken Wings


In TANGIPAHOA PARISH there is a plethora of things to do to bring out the foodie in you. There are festivals highlighting strawberries, Sicilian heritage, oysters, Italian culture, and the Renaissance. The nationally acclaimed Hammond BBQ Challenge is a “thing” in this parish, and you will definitely get a local opinion on the best gumbo, jambalaya, chili, and dessert.

Suggested dish: Strawberry Pecan Cake


The rumor is WASHINGTON PARISH is one of the most scenic rural parishes in the state. Fish, hunt, canoe, “tube,” and drive the byways and backways with a bit of tasty food, fun and culture added. Visit in October for the Washington Parish Free Fair; livestock and agricultural exhibits; midway rides; stage entertainment; a pro rodeo and experience pioneer activities typical from the 1800s Louisiana piney woods.

Suggested dish: White Beans and Shrimp


WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH is “On the River, On the Way.” It is the smallest parish in the state and part of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. The West Baton Rouge Museum, the State African American Heritage Trail and the mighty Mississippi River at the Old Ferry Landing Overlook in downtown Port Allen should top your list.

Suggested dish: St. Michel Snapper


WEST FELICIANA PARISH is home to the town of St. Francisville, a showcase for Louisiana’s Hill Country. There are plantation homes and breathtaking gardens in his small town, and it is home to the well-known and very haunted Myrtles Plantation. You can enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at The Myrtles.

This parish is also the place where you will become acquainted with not only local ghosts, but winding country roads that lead to nature preserves, a cypress swamp, antebellum homes, and a relaxing view of the Mississippi River.

Suggested dish: Chesapeake Crab Cakes


One thing I particularly enjoyed about the southeast Louisiana region and the 10 parishes from the Gumbo Group is they work together, and no parish is alike. There is also still much agricultural in southeast Louisiana. That made me feel good since we know so much of our food is fake and unhealthy, not if the southeast Louisiana population has anything to say about it.

Another takeaway as I headed home, there are still people in this country who respect their culture, savor their food and are aware of the beauty all around. That is how I would define my southeastern Louisiana experience.


When you can get the best pecans in the world, why not make a pecan pie?

By Andrea Pylant


I am going to teach you how to prepare the perfect pecan pie. First though name three things you think of when you think of Pointe Coupee, La, where the best pecans come from?

Never heard of Pointe Coupee? It is tucked next to the Mississippi River, and the name means “cut point.”

Those three things if you ask me, I would say:

• False River

• Oxbow Rum Distillery

• HJ Bergeron Pecans (


While visiting Pointe Coupee, I learned this area is known for its pecans. I even met the founder of HJ Bergeron Pecans at the local watering hole located on False River.

I love pecans, and the soil in this area is perfect for pecan growth.

And HJ Bergeron Pecans established in 1990 and still family owned and operated is a Louisiana gem. The company was founded on the bend of the False River and over the years have come the same family ideology and have received numerous accolades.

Since I love to make a good pecan pie, I decided to make a pie using Bergeron pecans. Here is my Pecan Pie family recipe below.




• 1 cup of Karo Syrup- light or dark

• 3 eggs

• 1 cup sugar

• 2 tablespoons butter, melted

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 cup pecans

• 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust


Preheat oven to 350°. Place rimmed cookie sheet on center rack of oven while preheating.

Spray pie pan with cooking spray before putting pie crust in the pan.

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a bowl using a spoon. Stir in pecans.

Pour pie filling into unbaked pie crest or frozen pie crust.

Carefully place the pie on the preheated cookie sheet for 60 to 70 minutes.

Cool for two hours on wire rack before serving.

Pie is done when the center of the pie reaches 200°F

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125