According to Donald Link, andouille is “a German sausage with a French name,” which underscores the German influence over the smoked meat and sausages associated with Cajun cuisine.
For a place that draws so heavily on French and Spanish traditions, New Orleans owes a great debt to the cultural contributions of the German immigrants that came to Louisiana in the mid-19th century. And, of course, Cajun history only starts with the Acadians — over the centuries, immigrants who have settled in rural areas have left their mark on what we think of when we think of “Cajun culture.”
Oktoberfest is well celebrated in New Orleans, and why shouldn’t it be? The weather is cooling off (finally), and it’s traditionally focused on beer and meat. Add your costumes and live music, and it’s a quintessential New Orleans experience.
A Local Tradition Made New
The Deutsches Haus has been the driving force for Oktoberfesting for decades - first at the headquarters on Galvez (which was razed for the LSU Health Center in 2010) and then in Kenner. This year is the first time since 2010 that Oktoberfest will be held back in New Orleans - on Moss Street, on Bayou St. John, at the organization’s new headquarters. Louisiana Lt. Gov Billy Nungesser will kick it off by tapping the first keg of the event.
Be ready for more beer than they’ve ever offered before - in addition to the German imports from Warsteiner, Paulaner, Spaten, Franziskaner, Hofbräu and Bitburger, local breweries Urban South and NOLA Brewing are stepping up with German style lagers. Unfortunately, the previous local beer sponsor of the Deutsches Haus, 40 Arpent, closed its doors unexpectedly in September so its signature Oktoberfest will not be available this year (but will be missed.)
NOLA Brewing is also the beer sponsor of the first annual Tchouptoberfest, a block party on October 1 organized by the Link Stryjewski Foundation to raise money and awareness of the work they are doing in partnership with local youth-focused nonprofits. The brewery’s fall seasonal, Darkest Before Dawn dark lager, will be available to sip between bites of wursts and whatnot, along with flagships NOLA Blonde, 7th Street Wheat, and Rebirth Pale Ale. NOLA Brewing has been a sponsor of the Foundation’s events since the first Bal Masque, brewery owner Kirk Coco says.
The inspiration for this Sunday afternoon beer, sausage, and music fest comes from the desire that partners and Foundation co-founders Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski have to involve as many New Orleanians in their mission to help local kids have the opportunities - from early childhood education to job training - all kids should have (but often don’t.) Bal Masque is the big marquee party and fundraiser that kicks off Carnival, but Tchouptoberfest is one in a series of several smaller, more accessible events that helps spread the word to more people about the needs of the Foundation, its partner organizations, and the city’s kids.
To accomplish this for the first Tchouptoberfest (they plan to make it an annual event), Link, along with noted sausage stuffer and Munich-traveler Stryjewski, plan to serve Nurnberger brats, currywurst, donar kebab, lamb on a vertical spit, a chacoute sausage with pork belly and saurkraut, and more. Heads up, many of these sausages will be served on a stick, because anything served on a stick is 100% more awesome than it would be otherwise.
Tchouptoberfest: Sunday, October 1, 4-9 p.m., on Andrew Higgins Drive between Tchoupitoulas and S. Peter. $20 entrance, with German-inspired food, NOLA Brewing beer, and wines available for purchase. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 which includes indoor/air-conditioned seating and facilities (inside Butcher), with complementary snacks, beer, and wine. Enjoy music from Polish Pete and the Polkas, Conor Donohue, Sexy Dex and the Fresh, and more. Tickets available here for purchase.
Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest: October 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21. On Fridays, entrance is at 4 p.m. and on Saturdays, 1 p.m. All days end at 11 p.m. 1700 Moss Street in Bayou St. John. $8 entrance fee with German food, beer, schnapps, and wine available for purchase. Traditional polka and contemporary German music will be playing all day, and you probably will do the chicken dance. Tickets and more info here.