By Matt Starlight
Creole imitators certainly aren’t hard to come by in the Red Stick. Every block has a restaurant that boasts the original gumbo, the country’s first etouffee, or whatever other claims these places can make without having to prove. Getting people in the door are priorities A, B, and C, but there are a few places left in Baton Rouge that are more concerned with you after you give them the cash than before.
For a homestyle, authentic Cajun meal, DIG recommends Pot & Paddle Jambalaya Kitchen on Jefferson Highway. The place is owned by Chuck and Cynthia Lavigne, former owners of The Jambalaya Shoppe on Old Hammond before a devastating fire in December of 2013. Now, they’ve got the kitchen cooking again under a new name in a new spot, but don’t worry, it’s the same delicious home cooking that you knew before.
They’ve got all the classic creole fixins’ like gumbo, slaw, red and white beans, and banana pudding, but the namesake jambalaya is what brings customers through the door. It’s a savory, salty dish with absolutely heaping portions of New Orleans flavor. Juicy chicken, soft rice, and plenty of sliced sausage make up the jambalaya that’s so good online reviews quote it as the best they’ve had in Louisiana.
Creole food is what makes Louisiana so famous worldwide. What we’ve managed to put together in the Bayou State lures tourists from across the globe to get a taste of it. Making a Katrina reference would be a bit of a cliche, but this is the kind of soul that rejuvenated New Orleans in her darkest hour, so it’s nice to know that even beyond the Big Easy there are places ready and willing to carry the torch of our past.
Granted, it’s just jambalaya. But, from one of Louisiana’s native sons and daughters, it’s damn good.