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Need a venue for a crawfish boil for a wedding reception

sheepfugue Jan 4, 2012 11:42 PM

Hi all!

Apologies if this isn't enough about food for ChowHounds but food turns out to be a sticking point in my plans and this board seems to have knowledgable people.

My wedding date is April 28 and I still need a venue.

Yes, I know am behind.

Yes, I know that's jazzfest.

Yes, I have been told that a crawfish boil is more of a rehearsal dinner thing--one nice lady even suggested that "so you can get it out of your system." But my family and friends are from the northeast so they've never experienced it and I know they will all love it.

I've found several great places that are available and will let us do outside catering...but then we mention a crawfish boil and it's no go.

We do have a couple options closer to Baton Rouge, where my fiance's from, but I'm thinking out of town guests will appreciate being in New Orleans more.

So I'm wondering if any of y'all who have knowledge of the city can suggest venues I might research. A couple other things:

-We're expecting about 60-90.

-Would be great if we can purchase bar service.

-I'm hoping for an actual reception place where we could have music and dancing but maybe I can make just a restaurant work too. A park. A warehouse. Anything.

You are also allowed to tell me that I am completely crazy and should give up on this idea.

Thanks very much for any thoughts!

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    nolawinelover RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 08:08 AM

    I have seen many a crawfish boil at Audubon Park. Late April weather should not be too hot. Maybe you could call Audubon Park and they may have a list of caterers/crawfish cookers. I'll quiz some friends and will reply if I hear anything.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nolawinelover
      sheepfugue RE: nolawinelover Jan 5, 2012 08:30 AM

      Thanks very much! Actually do you remember where in the park they were? The bandstand area and clubhouse were booked for our date. The tea room is available but they didn't want us to have crawfish there. I think the reason was they have another event booked for that evening and were worried about the smell lingering, which is perfectly reasonable.

      If you are talking about people who rented a tent (in case of rain) and just had the boil in the park itself then that could definitely work too. I initially didn't investigate that because it meant no bar service or music but I'll look into it again. I've seen a lot of good ideas on this forum for afterparties so we could get the booze and music in that way.

      We do have a friend of the family who does boils for church functions etc. around Baton Rouge so my quest is just to find a place that allows it. If you know people who do boils professionally maybe they can remember a good venue they did it at!

      Many thanks for your reply!

      1. re: sheepfugue
        nolawinelover RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 08:41 AM

        Outside along St Charles Avenue....

        Two Sisters Pavillion in City Park could also work. I go there for several food events/year and it is nice with lots of parking...


        A friend recommended Rosy's as a location with Boil Inc as the crawfish cookers...


        With that being Jazz Fest time, hope you can get soemthing quick!

        Hope this helps...

        1. re: nolawinelover
          sheepfugue RE: nolawinelover Jan 5, 2012 03:51 PM

          No availability but those were great suggestions, thanks!!

    2. uptownlibrarian RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 08:37 AM

      Google "new orleans crawfish boil catering" for companies that do boils, and contact Audubon Park (they have three shelters they rent) and City Park for venues. I think that's your only chance to pull this off - hire a caterer and do it at a park.

      10 Replies
      1. re: uptownlibrarian
        sheepfugue RE: uptownlibrarian Jan 5, 2012 08:58 AM

        Yeah, I do have someone who can do the boil, it's just finding a venue. Thanks for the feedback regarding feasability. When my fiance does them up here in New York, the cooking is done outside but then we bring the crawfish inside to eat. So perhaps that has skewed my perception. I thought the Lath House at City Park botanical garden would be perfect because it's nice looking but doesn't have fancy walls or carpeting that could get stained or something...but they said no.

        When I suggested to my fiance researching whether other open-air areas of the parks would let us do it I was thinking of parts of New York city parks that let you do barbecues, but he chided me saying that parks in the south are not like parks in the north. But now that you have brought it up I will give it a shot!

        Thanks again for your thoughts.

        1. re: sheepfugue
          uptownlibrarian RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 11:04 AM

          I checked the rules at the Audubon shelters when I was researching my answer, and they don't specifically forbid crawfish boils. Some outdoor spaces do; I know I've seen signs around forbidding them, but I can't remember where. Maybe City Park.

          1. re: uptownlibrarian
            hazelhurst RE: uptownlibrarian Jan 5, 2012 11:26 AM

            I've done a helluva lot of receptions at the Sisters Pavillion but never a crawfish boil there. Perhaps at that stand over by the lagoon? My first concern would be where to change clothes? Unless the wedding itself is a bluejean/khaki affair, I sure would not want to be eating crawfish in a suit. I could do it but why?

            1. re: hazelhurst
              uptownlibrarian RE: hazelhurst Jan 5, 2012 11:34 AM

              I'm pretty sure they'd let you change inside Pinocchio's whale at Storyland.

              1. re: uptownlibrarian
                hazelhurst RE: uptownlibrarian Jan 5, 2012 11:43 AM

                I like it! It has "elegance" written all over it. there would need to be pictures at the door though: "Before" and "After"

                1. re: uptownlibrarian
                  edible complex RE: uptownlibrarian Jan 5, 2012 02:49 PM

                  comment of the day!

                2. re: hazelhurst
                  Hungry Celeste RE: hazelhurst Jan 5, 2012 02:48 PM

                  My thoughts exactly: why on earth would you want dressed-up people eating crawfish? It's a messy, involved business, can certainly ruin ties and manicures, and I'd wager that many of your guests would ignore the crawfish entirely and choose any other foods on offer.

                  On the other hand, if it's a barefoot-in-the-park hippie wedding, crawfish would be perfect. Definitely tell great aunt Mildred not to wear her spring Chanel suit, though.

                  Carlton's Seafood Market Deli & Catering [4478 Airline Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70805
                  (504) 357-2150]can handle any size affair, and they can do rental tents as well. He farms his own crawfish, so the prices are good & supplies are reliable. They're experienced in Audubon Park, but you'll have to get the park reservation and permit....you'll probably have to have a security detail as well. Call the park and see if the Popp bandstand and Shelter 10 are rented, but I can tell you from experience that you are VERY late in the game for Audubon rentals in spring. You can go with a tent on the Fly, but no music is allowed.

                  Another poster suggested a venue off of Esplanade: ordinarily a good idea, but a sublimely BAD one on the first Friday of JazzFest. Traffic is awful all around the Fairgrounds into the early evening hours as people leave the event.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste
                    sheepfugue RE: Hungry Celeste Jan 5, 2012 03:18 PM

                    Yes, I did know about the bandstand but they are booked, as is the Esplanade, but I'm going to check with the park about options with other shelters. During jazz fest I'm sure there's plenty of music we can go out and see afterwards.


                    1. re: Hungry Celeste
                      oliveortwist RE: Hungry Celeste Jan 6, 2012 06:19 AM

                      Celeste ~ Yikes... I did post referring Benachi House off of Esplanade..did not think of the proximity to Jazz Fest ~ thanks for bringing attention to that ~

                    2. re: hazelhurst
                      sheepfugue RE: hazelhurst Jan 5, 2012 03:45 PM

                      "I sure would not want to be eating crawfish in a suit. I could do it but why?"

                      For those who have not lived through the popularity of PBR in New York City, it is hard to explain. But I will understand if the native guests want to change. I will also be providing a selection of elegant bibs or perhaps even aprons as favors.

              2. TaTee RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 08:48 AM

                Have you booked your rooms in New Orleans? If not, see if you can get that arranged first...you may end up in Baton Rouge. Tough weekend.

                Have you checked with Mother's? They have a private room that might allow a crawfish boil, they have bar service. Other thoughts, the courtyard at Martinique on Magazine St., The Galley on Metairie Road, courtyard of Broussard's in the FQ. The Ruins http://www.tipitinas.com/Events/facil... on Convention Center Blvd. will allow crawfish boils, but it is a huge venue. Good luck.

                Mother's Restaurant
                401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                1 Reply
                1. re: TaTee
                  sheepfugue RE: TaTee Jan 5, 2012 03:21 PM

                  Haven't booked, but we have found enough places, outside of the main neighborhoods, that still have plenty of availability so we're not worried yet.

                  Thank you, those are fantastic suggestions!! I am checking with them now.

                2. o
                  oliveortwist RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 09:12 AM

                  I cater a lot of events at Benachi House off of Esplanade,they allow crawfish boils in the large back courtyard area, the space allows for informal/formal events DYI style.
                  One vendor that is used frequently: Mr.Mudbugs - they do pro boils all over the city.
                  The other space is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum next to Napoleon House in the Quarter,the courtyard is perfect for what you are looking for - both run about $2000.00 rental - less on off nights.
                  Race and Religious is another venue you may want to look into -.
                  Here is my info w e-mail if you need IMO on spaces ;) ~ Rhoda

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: oliveortwist
                    collardman RE: oliveortwist Jan 5, 2012 01:56 PM

                    +1 on Mr. Mudbug. I've had them do several boils for groups in the 75-100 range.

                    For a venue I was impressed with The Foundry when I was there for Boudin & Beer. I don't know how they would handle a boil but they have the concrete floors.

                    1. re: collardman
                      sheepfugue RE: collardman Jan 5, 2012 03:37 PM


                      1. re: collardman
                        mrsfury RE: collardman Jan 5, 2012 05:32 PM

                        I was going to suggest The Foundry too, but it might be a tad expensive. Beautiful place and they will surely take good care of you.

                      2. re: oliveortwist
                        sheepfugue RE: oliveortwist Jan 5, 2012 03:37 PM

                        Benachi unfortunately is booked, but that's very good to know because they do still have the 29th in case we want to consider that.

                        Pharmacy Museum looks awesome! Have a call into them now.

                        Race and Relgious also looks really interesting but...another dealbreaker I didn't mention is that I can't do a place with explicit slavery history. Please understand I'm not trying to be down on a place that has that history, the educational value of making that history explicit, or anybody else's desire to have a wedding at that place. But, personally, whenever I'm reminded of slavery by a historical site all I can think of is the whipping scene in Roots so I just can't do it for my wedding.

                        Thanks so much for the ideas!

                        1. re: sheepfugue
                          califkatie RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 03:46 PM

                          You have had a lot of help. One more caterer for you is Wendi Smith 504-495-4816. She did the food for scenes in the movie, and cast and crew catering for my friend, Helen's movie- Flood Streets. If all else fails, she may be able to help you.

                          1. re: califkatie
                            shanefink RE: califkatie Jan 5, 2012 05:59 PM

                            Rosy’s Jazz Hall would let you do it in the courtyard I think. Great place for a wedding your size. I bet they could even get someone to do the boil. Don’t know if they already have something that night for Jazz Fest, but it’s worth a look.

                            1. re: shanefink
                              sheepfugue RE: shanefink Jan 5, 2012 06:35 PM

                              Thanks, Shanefink! Someone else did suggest them but they are booked.

                            2. re: califkatie
                              sheepfugue RE: califkatie Jan 5, 2012 06:36 PM

                              I know, so many people are chiming in and offering great suggestions!

                        2. e
                          expatorleanian RE: sheepfugue Jan 5, 2012 07:20 PM

                          You could always get married AT the Jazz Fest and let people buy their own crawfish.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: expatorleanian
                            mrsfury RE: expatorleanian Jan 5, 2012 07:51 PM


                            1. re: expatorleanian
                              uptownlibrarian RE: expatorleanian Jan 6, 2012 06:47 AM

                              Best idea so far.

                              1. re: uptownlibrarian
                                hazelhurst RE: uptownlibrarian Jan 6, 2012 06:56 AM

                                You are right---andit opens up a world of possibilities. Of course, you'd have to get the tickets for your guests..that's reasonable. Maybe find a crawfish boiler there and strike a deal with some sort of coupon arrangement. You'd have to try to stake out some sort of territory, I think, but then the guests could equally raom to wherever they want to listen/dance. Hmmm.

                                A huge flag made like those typical wedding cocktail napkins would be a plus. Wedding photos in front of the tote board? At one of the pony graves? With grandstand as backdrop? Oh, there's lotsa fun to be had in this deal.

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