UNO Lakefront arena hosts massive cookoff

Christopher Walker, Editior - and - Cheif

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For the first time in its nine-year run, the massive barbeque cook-off called Hogs for the Cause took take place at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena. Until now, the event has always been held at City Park.

The barbeque gathers professional and amateur barbequers from all over the country to compete with one another for the grand title. All money goes to families of children with brain cancer.

Olivia Nuss, a junior studying digital advertising at Louisiana State University, helped put on the event. “Hogs was started when a group of guys got together and decided to roast a single pig and sold tickets to the event since one of their good friend’s child had pediatric brain cancer.”

“The event was such a success that they decided to expand it, and it eventually became the massive event you see today. This festival has been going on for 9 years.”

 

Nuss spoke about the change in location from City Park to UNO.

“It’s a lot easier over here, a lot more spread out. This year has been extremely successful, also because of the good weather. The UNO Lakefront arena was super easy to work with.”

 

Over 91 teams competed, and the grand prize went to Blue Oak BBQ, a professional and well-established restaurant in New Orleans.

Larry Canada, the team captain for Aporkalypse Now, the team that won the grand prize back-to-back in 2015 and 2016 said, “Being affected by cancer is horrendous, but being a caregiver for someone with cancer is horrible, especially a parent of a young child with a terminal illness. You can’t imagine what that’s like.”

“Of course, we have fun and compete to the best of our ability, but everything we sell here, the money goes to Hogs for the Cause. James, our pit boss, has been out here two days solid with little sleep, but it’s all worth it. This competition and work ethic is all for the kids.”

There are four competitive categories: butts and shoulders, ribs, whole hog, and porkpourri (a category where any meat dish can compete). The judges take the top three scores the teams get, throw out the lowest score, and weigh the other three at 30 percent each. Fundraising covers the last 10 percent.

To even be in the running for the grand prize, a team must raise more than $4,000.

James Cruse, the pit boss for Aporkaplypse Now and a UNO alumnus said, “We’re going to raise about $14,000, but some teams out here have raised over $100,000.”

 

NOLA.com reported the Fleur De Que cooking team raised over $225,000.

“[With the money we have raised], we actually just built a house for the families to stay at while their kids get treatment when their kids are at the hospital. It’s communal housing, a hotel for families to stay in,” said Olivia Nuss.

 

Larry Canada said, “We know that every pork slider and turkey nacho we sell goes to the kids’ living expenses, travel expenses … it goes to the parents so they can take off work and spend more time with their kids. That’s what it’s all about.”

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