900 Bags of Potato Chips Tossed to the Feed the First Initiative by Zapp’s

900 Bags of Potato Chips Tossed to the Feed the First Initiative by Zapp’s

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Faubourg St. John gets Zapped

For the 8th year, the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association (FSJNA) will feed officers at the First District Police Station during Mardi Gras weekend from Saturday through Fat Tuesday. During that time, the officers all work 16 hour shifts to cover the parade routes and patrol our district.

We provide a hot breakfast and lunch along with snacks and soft drinks as a show of support to let them know it’s not just them against the world out there over that weekend (and all the time). This year, we will also provide pizza for the night shift so that they can feel the love too.

Zapp's headquarters in Gramercy, LA

Today, Zapp’s Potato Chips donated 900 bags of their wildly popular chips to the Feed the First initiative. It’s donations like this and the many donations from generous neighbors that make this program possible. Many thanks to Zapp’s Potato Chips for their generous donation and kind hospitality at their plant in Gramercy, Louisiana.

Generous Zapp's

article below from WGNO.com

“We like to call ourselves the ‘Little Old Potato Chip Company’ in Gramercy and we joke with people that we’re smaller than some people think we are, larger than other people think we are,” says Richard Gaudry, Vice President of Sales.

“A lot of the equipment we have is state-of-the-art, in some cases we were the first or second people in this country to have a certain piece of equipment,” says Gaudry.

Whats makes this salty, sometimes spicy snack we all love so unique is the variety of flavors. Voodoo has been the most popular chip since it was released. The name itself shows off the fun, quirky personality of Zapp’s Potato Chips.

“We want something that reflects the area here, the spiciness the depth of flavors,” says Gaudry.

“When you’re happy you eat snacks, when you’re sad you eat snacks, when you’re bored you eat snacks, when you’re excited you eat snacks… it’s a good program!”

For more information visit: http://www.zapps.com

Article below by Glen Abbott at NOLA.com

Here in the Big Easy, it’s all about the spice. From po-boys to potato chips, the proper seasoning is essential. So little wonder that our favorite chip comes in a variety of tastebud-tantalizing flavors, with imaginative names like Spicy Cajun Crawtator, Voodoo, and Cajun Dill Gator-Tators – along with the old standbys like Regular, Jalapeno, Salt and Vinegar, and Mesquite Bar-B-Que, among others.

“New Orleans is probably our largest market,” Rod Olson, president of Zapp’s Potato Chips, tells me. “We sell more chips in the French Quarter than Frito-Lay does. Po-boys and Zapp’s go together; muffalettas at Central Grocery and Zapp’s go together.”

Zapp’s processes about 120,000 pounds of spuds and fries them in nearly 8,000 pounds of a peanut oil blend each day. The potatoes are sliced thicker than most chips and go right into the fryer.

“The key to that is you load all these wet potato slices [into the fryer] in less than a minute,” according to Olson. “That drops the temperature of the oil, and it’s that temperature drop that creates the curl, the crunch, and the flavor is basically from the peanut oil blend.”

The result?

“It’s the best-tasting chip made,” Olson claims. “And that’s the mouthfeel and the taste that derives from the peanut oil. And then the seasonings on them, none of them are cheap. They’re selected because they taste good, and as much as possible we try to have interesting flavor combinations.”

Ron Zappe founded Zapp’s Chips in 1985 after his oil-field equipment business tanked, along with the price of crude oil in the early ‘80s. He converted an empty car dealership in St. James Parish into a chippery, installing two small fryers and a packaging machine in the former showroom. Ron passed away in 2010, and Rod Olson – who started with the company its first year as the New Orleans distributor – became president.

At the beginning, Zapp’s produced only regular and jalapeno-flavored chips, but before long, Ron Zappe developed a recipe with spices reminiscent of a crawfish boil. He called the new flavor Spicy Cajun Crawtator, and today it’s one of the company’s best-selling varieties.

Over the years, the company has added flavors, some more popular than others.

“We did a Key Lime flavor … that was one of our most limited editions,” says Olson. “And twice we’ve done pizza flavors that just haven’t taken.”

But the company still gets requests for past favorites like Honey Mustard, Bacon and Cheddar, and even Sizzling Steak. And the newest limited edition – Baby Back Rib (!) – will be hitting store shelves this week.

And Zapp’s is currently phasing in packaging with styling cues emphasizing its Crescent City connection. The updated design features a French Quarter-style signpost, with the package’s distinctive bright, vertical stripes embedded with a subtle fleur-de-lis design. The new tagline reads, “New Orleans Kettle Style.”

Take my advice, and get thee to a chippery. Zapp’s doesn’t offer public factory tours, but you can buy the chips throughout Louisiana, and in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, as well as online and through mail order.

Or head to a parade this Carnival season — Zapp’s chips joined the list of edible throws in 1991, when the Krewe of Mid-City first tossed them in 1-ounce bags stamps with the krewe’s name. Other krewes have joined suit, and Zapp’s makes purple-and-gold bags for the season.

Rod Olson’s advice?

“Buy more chips!” he says cheerfully. “We’ll make more; it’s Mardi Gras!”

Many thanks to Zapp’s Potato Chips for their generous donation of 900 bags of chips to the Feed the First initiative

It’s 1730 and the Party is On!

In 2004, The Historic New Orleans Collection acquired the unpublished manuscript of one Marc-Antoine Caillot, clerk for the French Company of the Indies, that details his time spent in New Orleans between 1729 and 1731.

What resulted is a beautiful collaboration between Erin M. Greenwald, Teri F. Chalmers, and many scholars and researchers called A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies, published by The Historic New Orleans Collection in 2013. For anyone interested in this era of our city’s history, I highly recommend this book. For our purposes today, we’ll focus on the section of the manuscript devoted to a Lundi Gras celebration along the banks of—you guessed it!—our very own Bayou St. John!

bullBefore we get to Lundi Gras, though, Caillot gives us a glimpse of what the area around Bayou St. John might have looked like in 1730: “At three-fourths of a league’s distance on the left you will find a hamlet called Bayou Saint John, where there live five or six inhabitants very rich in livestock.” tree-by-waterGreenwald’s footnote explains: “In 1727 the population along Bayou Saint John totaled 121, including forty-one whites, three indentured servants, seventy-three blacks, and four Indian slaves.” [2] Caillot was probably referring to those several landowners that had settled their large concessions along the bayou’s banks in the early years of the 18th century, resulting in a rural “hamlet” consisting of those landowners’ families, servants, and slaves.

And now, back to the Lundi Gras revelry. Caillot explains: “We were already quite far along in the Carnival season without having had the least bit of fun or entertainment, which made me miss France a great deal…. The next day, which was Lundi Gras, I went to the office, where I found my associates, who were bored to death. I proposed to them that we form a party of maskers and go to Bayou Saint John, where I knew that a lady friend of my friends was marrying off one of her daughters….”

1730attireCaillot explains that his associates were like, Oh cool, yeah that sounds fun…it’d be cool to crash the wedding party…but uhhh we don’t have anything to wear…. and kind of lost motivation to make it happen. “But, upon seeing that no one wanted to come along, I got up from the table and said that I was going to find some others who would go, and I left.” Caillot couldn’t be deterred. “…I did not delay in assembling a party, composed of my landlord and his wife, who gave me something to wear. When we were ready and just about to leave, we saw someone with a violin come in, and I engaged him to come with us. I was beginning to feel very pleased about my party, when, by another stroke of luck, someone with an oboe, who was looking for the violin, came in where we were, to take the violin player away with him, but it happened the other way around, for, instead of both of them leaving, they stayed. [Doesn’t this sound like just the kind of Carnival fortuitousness we’re used to in modern-day New Orleans?! An impromptu party, and then some guy with a guitar just happens to walk by….] I had them play while waiting for us to get ready to leave. [Oh, we all know this story: the hours and hours it takes for everyone to get out of the house and to the parade!] The gentlemen I had left at the table…came quickly upon hearing the instruments. But, since we had our faces masked, it was impossible for them to recognize us until we took them off. This made them want to mask, too, so that we ended up with eleven in our party. Some were in red clothing, as Amazons, others in clothes trimmed with braid, others as women. As for myself, I was dressed as a shepherdess in white. I had a corset of white dimity, a muslin skirt, a large pannier, right down to the chemise, along with plenty of beauty marks too. [Love the attention to detail. This is what a good Carnival costume requires.] I had my husband, who was the Marquis de Carnival; he had a suit trimmed with gold braid on all the seams. Our postilion went in front, accompanied by eight actual Negro slaves, who each carried a flambeau to light our way. It was nine in the evening when we left.” [3]

bearsOn the way to the bayou, presumably along the path occupied by present-day Bayou Road, the travelers came upon several bears, which they scared away with the flambeaux. When they got to the bayou, they sent a slave to go check out the wedding party and see what was going on – as in, are they done with all the boring parts yet? Are they dancing yet or not?

The slave returned with the news that, yes, they had just begun dancing. “Right away, our instruments began playing, the postilion started cracking his whip, and we walked toward the house where the wedding celebration was taking place.” Caillot goes on to describe the wedding party receiving them with excitement, requesting that they join in and dance, and then forcing them to finally remove their masks. Everyone was recognized very quickly, aside from our cross-dressing young friend: “What also made it hard for people to recognize me was that I had shaved very closely that evening and had a number of beauty marks on my face, and even on my breasts, which I had plumped up. [!!!] I was also the one out of all my group who was dressed up the most coquettishly. Thus I had the pleasure of gaining victory over my comrades, and, no matter that I was unmasked, my admirers were unable to resolve themselves to extinguishing their fires, which were lit very hotly, even though in such a short time….” [4] Our narrator was so sexy and convincing as a lady, the menfolk in the crowd were hard pressed to “extinguish their fires”!

To hear more about the festivities that took place on this 1730 Lundi Gras, and to experience more of Caillot’s adventures, go find A Company Man. And when you go out this Lundi Gras, perhaps you’ll plump your breasts with a little extra gusto—and contemplate, on your way to the parades, some of the ingredients of our city’s founding: the violence, the struggle, the bizarre revelry….

  1. Marc-Antoine Caillot, A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies, ed. Erin M. Greenwald, trans. Teri F. Chalmers (New Orleans: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2013) 82.
  2. Caillot, A Company Man, 134-135.
  3. Caillot, A Company Man, 135-136.

Cassie Pruyn is a New Orleans based poet who is currently working on a narrative history of Bayou St. John in New Orleans. You can see her posts and poetry on her website.




Meet at Pal’s Lounge at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pal’s Lounge is located at 949 North Rendon in Faubourg St. John.moonpie

There will be moon pies, shopping carts full of beer along with kings, queens and music.

pbrholdParade with the Pal’s Lounge revelers as they cross the Magnolia Bridge (by Cabrini High School) then head on over to Pearl Wine, Holy Ground, Bayou Beer Garden then back to Pal’s.



Pal’s Lounge will open at 8 a.m. for the Krewe of Bikeus Parade

From the Krewe of Bikeus press page…  It is early in the morning and the Krewe of Bike-us assembles in mid-city in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Their bicycles serve as their floats and their way to get around barricades set up to curtail traffic on the streets of New Orleans. Bloody Marys, vodka cranberries and screwdrivers are part of the breakfast buffet of fun at Pal’s Lounge, a neighborhood institution owned in part by the son of Oscar winner Helen Miren.

While most Mardi Gras krewes roll thru the streets of New Orleans, this is no ordinary parade. The pedal-powered members are one of numerous unsanctioned parade organizations that add to the beauty and local color of Mardi Gras. The group got its start in 2002 when a group of avid bicyclists discovered that two wheels are better than one when it comes to the jam-packed streets of Fat Tuesday.

The group formed as an efficient way to get around during the day. They thank the scarcity of parking spots along routes for its conception.

“People see the dozens of members in costumes rolling down the street and they assume it’s a real parade and start cheering and yelling for beads,” says Krewe of Bikeus founder [sic – not really] Rob Savoy.

Each year the group of friends and friends of friends gather in Faubourg St. John.  The revelers cycle along a ceremonial path Uptown to catch the Zulu parade before making their way to the French Quarter for the rest of the day. The group has grown into one of the most recognized unrecognized groups of Mardi Gras.







A Very Happy Mardi Gras

photos and story by Richard Angelico

I had the occasion to make two young visitors to our city, Mattie Smith and her fiancee Robert very happy today.

Last night they were sitting on a porch uptown and Mattie’s intended dropped her ring on the porch and it bounced into a small but very dense garden loaded with pipes, a fountain, electrical wires and Mardi Gras lights.

Richard-saves-the-dayThey found me on the internet and gave me a call asking for help. So, I brought two detectors and small coils but they were impossible to use in that environment. So, I got my trusty Garrett Pro Pointer out and used that instead. It was tedious searching but that probe is amazing! After an hour, I had found every nail, small metal scrap or foil in the garden but no ring.

I was convinced it had bounced off one of the cast iron plants and was either among the thick stalks or roots or had been deflected towards the fountain. Pulling back the plants further I saw a small rodent hole at the base of the fountain. I stuck the pro pointer in and got a healthy buzz. When I stuck my finger in, I felt the ring and slipped it right out.

Richard-saves-the-day1Mattie didn’t see me so I asked if she would hold the small “test ring” I had brought along because it was interfering with my detector. When her ring hit her hand I thought she would faint!! She started crying, kept hugging me and bombarding me with, “thank you, thank you, thank you”. Robert was quite relieved as well and I certainly could understand that when I saw the beautiful 3.5 carat emerald cut diamond!! From start to finish it took 1 hour and 23 minutes. Made my Mardi Gras weekend!