We are always looking for an excuse to visit Chalmette, Louisiana. It’s one of our favorite destinations for a day trip in the New Orleans area. The folks out in St Bernard Parish could not be friendlier and the region is littered with dozens of great, under the radar places to eat.
It’s not much to look at but the eating’s real good.
But this past weekend we were mainly interested in Chalmette due to their long running tomato festival and a chance to meet the Queen, the Tomato Queen.
As you certainly know, when there’s a festival in Louisiana, the organizers always have a pageant to determine who the queen is. In this instance Kelsea Glorioso emerged victorious in what was undoubtedly a knock down drag out of an affair.
Our Lady Of Prompt Succor Catholic Church is the host for the Chalmette Tomato Festival. It sits hard up against the blacktop of Paris Road just a few minutes north of the Mississippi River. St Bernard Parish Sheriff deputies are busy stringing up steel barricades all over the neighborhood to keep partyers from having a place to park.
We step onto the grounds and the scene is pure small town carnival. As fate would have it we barely have time to wolf down the festival’s signature dish, Tomato a la Chalmette (fried green tomatoes smothered in a white shrimp sauce) before the Tomato Queen goes swishing by.
Unlike most of the rural queens of Louisiana we’ve met, Kelsea Glorioso does not enjoy preening for the camera. We ask after an impromptu photo shoot and she acquiesces but grudgingly.
We barely get three photos taken before she sprints off, regal bearing scattering like so much dust in the wind.
“Uh oh, we’ve been fingered”
We stand around for a few minutes jawboning with the law. Positive interaction with sheriffs is hard to come by for the Scrumptious crew so we savor the moment before finally begging off.
We’ve got a ferry to catch to the West Bank for the big Noizefest.