On the Road

Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and File' Gumbo: The Bounty of Lafayette

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file' gumbo / 'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio / Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o / Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou -- Hank Williams, "Jambalaya"

In late December, Southern Living announced a contest in which 10 "Southern" cities would compete to see which could accrue the most Internet votes to be named the magazine's "Tastiest City in the South." I put "Southern" in quotes because many people initially took issue with cities like Houston and Baltimore being considered Southern.

Many more people, however, have taken issue with the way that each city's votes are tallied. From the very beginning, Lafayette and Louisville (cities which have populations of 120,000 and 741,000 respectively) were handily beating far larger cities like our own in the polls.

While a few Internet commenters suggested that robo-voters were responsible for the drastic difference in votes between the two cities and the rest of the list -- each have around 115,000 votes as of today, while the next closest city (New Orleans, historically known as an important food city) has only 35,000 -- I heard some dissenting opinions and was intrigued.

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Katharine Shilcutt