Press Release: Festival Seeking Arts & Crafts Vendors-7/20/12


Houma, LA- Best of the Bayou announces applications are now available to potential arts and crafts vendors interested in selling goods at the festival September 29-30 in Downtown Houma. An “arts walk” or festival marketplace will be centrally located on the festival grounds, mid-way between two music stages set to anchor the quarter-mile festival site.  The marketplace is to consist of original artwork and handmade crafts only. Some “homegrown” pre-packaged food, such as spices, sauces, jellies, etc. may also be considered for acceptance into the festival. Conversely, commercial or “re-sale” items will be strictly prohibited for sale at the festival.

The festival has partnered with Options for Independence in Houma—a not-for-profit social services agency and creators of the Gulf Coast Marketplace–who will accept and review applications on the festival’s behalf and will also assist in the coordination of all arts and crafts vendors in advance of and during the festival.

Gulf Coast Marketplace is a virtual marketplace for artists and craftsmen that began after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an “e-commerce solution to community recovery.”   The website,, helps connect skilled artisans, authors, photographers, etc. to existing and new opportunities for the sale of their works 24-7.

“Gulf Coast Marketplace is very excited to partner with Best of the Bayou to recruit arts and crafts vendors for this new and exciting event,” said Brandi LeCompte, Gulf Coast Marketplace Project Manager. “We work closely with many area artists and craftsmen to seek out and create new opportunities for them to increase sales. Partnering with Best of the Bayou Festival is a perfect fit for us.”

As a result of this partnership, Options/GCM and the Best of the Bayou Foundation –also a not-for-profit, will split the proceeds from craft booth rental.  All proceeds to the festival go back into the production and sustainment of the festival, which is free to the public.  Vendors will retain full percentage of their sales.

The full vendor packet which includes a map of the planned marketplace is now accessible for download or printing via the festival’s website at or GCM’s website at  Applications will be accepted at an “early bird” rate through August 20, 2012, and space will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, as well as regarding electrical needs. Vendors will need to mail completed applications with payment and other necessary information to the Houma Options for Independence/GCM office, as stated on the application. For more information, interested vendors should contact Brandi LeCompte at 985-438-1231 or via email at


Press Release: Poster Artwork Selected-7/18/12


Best of the Bayou has selected the official artwork for its inaugural festival poster, chosen after a 15-day contest open to all area artists.  The winning artwork is a painting by Susan Shaffer of Schriever.  Her painting was one of eleven entries–mostly paintings, into the contest.

Shaffer’s painting, untitled, is an acrylic on gessoed canvas and brings to life familiar images of downtown Houma – some old, like People’s drug store on historic Main Street, and some relatively new, like the Bayou Walk lining Bayou Terrebonne.  And what’s “the bayou” without a gator or perhaps a guitar-listening gator?  “Shaffer managed to capture many characteristics of the things we love about our town and traditions.  I was immediately drawn to her art work,” said Katie Portier, Chair of the BOB Poster Review Committee, which included volunteer judges from local arts and community organizations.

Artists were not required to use specific images from downtown or the festival logo for the contest.  Guidelines only stated that that the theme should demonstrate or embody the spirit of the festival and be the artists’ individual interpretation of the best aspects of “the bayou.”

Shaffer said winning the contest has inspired her to paint more.  She started painting as a teenager in her home state of Mississippi, creating and selling pastel portraits of children and families.  Most of her professional life, however, has involved graphic design, marketing and publicity.  She said the majority of her time spent painting recently has included walls and shutters inside her Ardoyne Plantation home, which Shaffer and her husband Lee are restoring.

Shaffer, a long-time resident of Louisiana, said the seafood and “warm, friendly people,” are her favorite things about living in Terrebonne Parish, and she is not only thrilled about winning the poster contest but about the festival, too.  She said, “Best of the Bayou is long overdue and will hopefully bring more tourists into our community.  Houma has so much to offer and the festival is a great way to showcase and introduce our culture of delicious food, music, crafts and bayou living to others.”

Shaffer’s painting will be reprinted as the official poster and available for sale at the festival, with all proceeds going to the Best of the Bayou Foundation.  Shaffer will be on hand at a scheduled time during the festival (to be announced) to sign purchased posters, and a limited number of them will be signed in advance for sponsors.  The remaining art pieces submitted into the contest will be on display inside the Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild in Downtown Houma during the festival.

Photo Cutline: Susan Shaffer proudly displays her painting which was selected as the official poster for the Inaugural Best of the Bayou Festival.

Press Release: Festival Accepting Food Vendor Applications-7/2/2012


Houma, LA- Best of the Bayou Festival is now accepting applications for vendors interested in selling food at the event, scheduled for Sept. 29-30 in Downtown Houma. An anticipated twenty booths will line the Courthouse Square on two sides, along Church and Goode Streets. Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2012, and space will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The festival will supply the food tents, along with signage, some electricity, security and vendor hospitality and parking. Pricing and additional details, along with the booth rental application, are available for printing or download from the festival’s website at

Louisiana-based restaurants, licensed caterers and civic organizations are eligible to apply for booth space. Each booth is allowed to sell up to four food items, subject to approval by the festival food committee. Vendors will retain 100% of individual booth sales.

In an effort to best promote Louisiana and the Bayou Region, we ask that awarded vendors use Louisiana–made or locally-grown food, such as seafood, fruits and vegetables, seasonings, and the like.  Best of the Bayou is a non-profit event, with all proceeds, such as food booth fees, going back into the production and sustainment of the festival.

For more information, interested vendors can also email or call the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce office at 985-876-5600.

Lori’s Best of the Bayou Update-7/1/2012

Hello, readers!  Can anyone tell me what happened to June?!  It’s hard to believe it is already July, and that as of today, Best of the Bayou is only 89 days away! So much has happened; yet, there’s so much left to do!  I guess this is a good time to share with you all a mid-year review of our milestones to date. Let’s recap (briefly), shall we?

It was actually in the final months of 2011 that the concept of a new downtown festival came to life.  It was not long into the New Year that the festival’s name and dates were realized, and full-time planning began.

The onset of spring meant Best of the Bayou’s formal introduction to the world, so to speak.  We issued our first FOCUS Bulletin and news release(s), and launched our website. The month of May alone proved to be important as we debuted our “Friends of the Festival” program (and gained a few!).  On a side note, we’ve also gained nearly 200 friends on Facebook since our debut in May!  Inarguably, though, the biggest milestone then was the signing of our first three headliners for the festival.  And we’ve signed a dozen more bands, with more to come!

Another milestone to date is the completion of our contest for the inaugural festival poster.  We received a total of eleven entries (not bad for a first-time festival!), most of them paintings from local artists.  The contest was open to professional and amateur artists ages 16 and older from the bayou parishes.  The winning artist will be announced soon!

Like I said, so much has happened these past several months!  Moving on to important news at present, Best of the Bayou is now accepting applications for vendors interested in selling food at the festival.  Approximately twenty food booths will be lined along Church and Goode Streets, surrounding the Houma Courthouse Square.  Space will be reserved and accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Louisiana Restaurant Association members are encouraged to apply.  Non-profit and civic organizations are also welcome to apply.  The festival will supply the food tents, along with signage, some electricity and other items.  Pricing and all details, along with the application for rent, are available for printing or download from our website at

Artists and craftsmen also interested in renting space at the festival can contact Brandi Lecompte of the Gulf Coast Marketplace, an official partner of Best of the Bayou.  Brandi can be reached by phone at 985-868-2620 or by email at  Applications for rent will be finalized very soon.  Only original art and homemade crafts will be accepted for sale into the festival.

On a final note, Best of the Bayou needs YOU!  We need you to of course “save the date” and always help us “spread the word.” Perhaps more importantly, however, the festival needs a commitment from its community, not necessarily financially, but by way of volunteering.  All planning and preparation aside, BOB, or any festival for that matter, cannot function without assistance and leadership from volunteers, in almost all capacities.  If you would like to volunteer for Best of the Bayou, please contact us by email at or call the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce office at 985-876-5600.

Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook at for all the latest festival news or follow us on Twitter @BestoftheBayou.  May everyone have a safe and happy Fourth of July!  We truly live in the best country in the world!