October 12, 2022

Guest Jody Barrilleaux, a Board Member of the Cal-Cam Fair, joins Louisiana's Playground to celebrate 100 years of the Cal-Cam Fair. The Cal-Cam Fair is the only bi-parish fair in Louisiana and this year there is a jam-packed lineup of new and reinvigorated events taking place at the West Cal Arena, home of the fair. We talk about the full schedule including the talent contest, Jr. Bull Riding, livestock shows, and rides galore. Get hungry for funnel cakes, local Cajun and Creole dishes, and more delicious Fair food. 


Jody Barrilleaux is a devoted board member for the Cal-Cam Fair. In addition to her work with fair, Jody does Community Relations for Hixson Funeral Home Group, she also works in the community with organizations like the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Louisiana Alliance Foundation and the Women’s Business Network. 


LeBleu’s Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar's extensive menu features Louisiana classics including charbroiled oysters, fried alligator, seafood gumbo, fried chicken and catfish and an extensive buffet that rotates local favorites daily. Conveniently located off I-10 on Exit 20, LeBleu’s comfortable atmosphere makes it ideal for families, larger groups and diners on the go.  


@visitlakecharles LeBleu’s Landing, right off I-10 in Sulphur, serves classic Cajun cuisine with a brand new oyster bar!🦪 You can choose from a variety of appetizers including boiled shrimp, alligator bites, crawfish pistolettes, and lump crab cakes. 🦞 For oysters, you can choose from raw or charbroiled! The charbroiled oysters offer three different flavors— featured here are the N'onc G's oysters topped with bacon, gouda and green onion. Also on the menu are local favorites like seafood gumbo, crawfish Étouffée, seafood platter, fried fish, Cajun Pirogue, stuffed spuds, and poboys! They even have a buffet if you can’t choose. Don’t leave without trying their Cajun Bloody Mary or frozen daiquiris! 😍 📍 202 Henning Dr, Sulphur, LA #LouisianasPlayground #VisitLakeCharles #SulphurToday #LeBleusLanding #lakecharles #lakecharleslouisiana #lakecharlesla #cajun #cajuntiktok #cajuncooking #oysters #gumbo #cajunfood #louisiana #louisianacheck #travel #foodie #traveltiktok #travelbucketlist #adventure #explore #fyp ♬ Ooh La La - Wayne Toups & Zydecajun


Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:00:01] Tradition is such a big deal. And our main thing is to keep this tradition going. If somebody wants to see it all, they're going to have a lot to see or if they're just going to be there a certain day, we want them to have choices and we want them to enjoy every bit of it. 

Brady Renard:    [00:00:20] Thanks for joining us on Louisiana's Playground Podcast, your roadmap to all things Lake Charles Louisiana. I'm Brady Renard. 

Anna Strider:    [00:00:30] And I'm Anna Strider. We're excited to be here with you this week for the second episode of the Louisiana Playground Podcast. 

Brady Renard:    [00:00:37] Yeah, how about that? Episode 2. The first one’s in the book, Anna. 

Anna Strider:    [00:00:40] I know. We're onto the next. 

Brady Renard:    [00:00:43] I think we've got a terrific show again, two for two. I think we're batting 1000 so far. Hopefully, everyone else will feel the same. We've got Jody Barrilleaux from Cal-Cam Fair to talk about the only bi-parish fair in the entire state of Louisiana should be boatloads of fun. But first, before we get to that… 

Anna Strider:    [00:01:02] We're going to talk about our food segment called Envie Eats. 

Brady Renard:    [00:01:05] Food is obviously such a huge part of our culture here in Southwest Louisiana. We wanted to make sure to incorporate that food into every episode and we do that here with our Envie Eat segment. Really that craving that you have any time that you get a nice Cajun or Southwest Louisiana delicacy on your plate and a chance to eat it and we continue that tradition with a Cajun restaurant. Our first Cajun restaurant, LeBleu’s Landing. 

Anna Strider:    [00:01:28] LeBleu’s is in Sulphur, Louisiana right off the Exit 20 when you're heading in on I10 and it is a hot spot for all things Louisiana classic dishes. They have a large menu, an oyster bar, and a buffet, so you can get a little bit of everything when you walk into LeBleu’s. 

Brady Renard:    [00:01:46] Yeah, I really like that kind of given the options and a lot of them. It's kind of the complete polar opposite of what last episode’s was. This one, a lot of options to have. So you're probably going to find something on the menu that really kind of tickles your fancy. 

Anna Strider:    [00:02:01] Oh absolutely. They have a full list of appetizers. I know that you can get Alligator Bites which is one of my favorite dishes, Pistolettes. 

Brady Renard:    [00:02:09] You mentioned alligator. Most people are afraid to try alligator, try alligator. If you’ve never had it, try the alligator. It's like a combination of chicken and fish. 

Anna Strider:    [00:02:21] You know everyone says everything tastes like chicken, right? 

Brady Renard:    [00:02:23] Chicken is the benchmark. It's a good benchmark. 

Anna Strider:    [00:02:28] Well the good news is even if you're not going try alligator here, you have a full list of items that you can try. One of the things that we ordered while we were there were the oysters and I can tell you I absolutely love oysters. There are five different options that you can choose from. We got the Noc Ges.

Brady Renard:    [00:02:46] That means uncle. 

Anna Strider:    [00:02:47] And they had the bacon Gouda and green onion on it and oh my goodness the charbroiled oysters there were just heavenly. I typically love a good classic oyster, which they have those as well. This is the spot to stop when you're in town and grab one of the many different options that they have here at LeBleu’s. 

Brady Renard:    [00:03:04] I got as I will end up getting a lot on this show, the Gumbo, seafood Gumbo and they do such a good roux. as we talked about with Kyle last episode, the roux really makes the gumbo and they had a really good dark roux with the shrimp and the crab all in it. And so they've got to go. And so if you've never had Gumbo or if you do enjoy Gumbo, a good place to come and try one of the places because it all starts very good roux. 

Anna Strider:    [00:03:29] Absolutely. And one of the best things about Brady, always ordering the Gumbo is that I love the potato salad and their potato salad here was just absolutely fantastic. It was a mustard, creamy potato salad and it just really complemented the oysters that I was indulging on as well as some of the menu items that we found on the buffet. 

Brady Renard:    [00:03:50] You're laughing because of the face that I'm making at potato salad. 

Anna Strider:    [00:03:52] Yes, if only you all could see this. Some of the items that they had on the buffet included just delicious candied yams, they had fried chicken, fried catfish, beans. Just a whole host of items at a really great price that you can walk in there and have a delicious meal. And that is both lunch and dinner that they serve there at the LeBleu’s. 

Brady Renard:    [00:04:12] Man, the fish are well talked about, great fried catfish. I didn't have any on this trip, but I've had it before. Very good fish. And so, like I said, you can't really go wrong with anything that you get there. And a lot of options which really makes the restaurant kind of a real staple in the area. They've been here for nearly a decade now and have really made a mark. 

Anna Strider:    [00:04:32] Definitely. And I think one of the cool things about LeBleu’s Landing is that it's really a no nod to the history of our Southwest Louisiana region. The no man's land was a neutral strip between the Spanish territory in the US Louisiana purchase. And in that strip it was known for having outlaws and those that had escaped and run away to be in this area where there was like we're saying, no law. And one of the really cool things is that the LeBleu’s family was known as one of the prominent settlers of the Southwest Louisiana region. So just a really great nod to our history here and all around excellent option. 

Brady Renard:    [00:05:06] Another great restaurant and another great location just off of Exit 20, it's also conveniently located to the Creole Nature Trail. 

Anna Strider:    [00:05:13] Yes. So if you head the opposite direction heading south, you'll pass by the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, which is a free attraction that you can pop and get some materials and information and head on down to the Gulf of Mexico there and just a really convenient spot to get a full dose of everything Southwest Louisiana is. 

Brady Renard:    [00:05:33] From great Louisiana cuisine to a great Southwest Louisiana guest as we welcome on Jody Barrilleaux board member for the Cal-Cam Fair. In addition to her work with the fair, Jody does community relations for Hicks and Funeral Home Group. She also works in the community with organizations like West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce and the Southwest Louisiana Alliance Foundation, in addition to the Women's Business Network. That network of community involvement has her dialed in which is why she's such a vital cog in the Cal-Cam Fair machine. Welcome to the show Jody. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:06:03] Thank you so much for having me and it is just a heart-whelming thing to be able to talk about that you're something you're so passionate about and I am passionate about Cal-Cam Fair. 

Anna Strider:    [00:06:14] Well Jody, we're excited that you're here with us today. We all know that Southwest Louisiana is known for our big city amenities with our small-town charm and that there is a wide variety of different things to do in the area from the food, to outdoors too, the regional and national acts of entertainment that the lake area draws. 

Brady Renard:    [00:06:34] And now we open each of our interviews with a segment for each guest that kind of allows our listeners to get to know them better with a few juxtaposing questions on and about how do you play in Louisiana's playground? You ready? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:06:50] Yes, I am. Yes, I am. 

Brady Renard:    [00:06:52] Alright. Question one. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:06:53] Go ahead. 

Brady Renard:    [00:06:54] Crawfish or Gumbo? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:06:55] Oh my, I'm a foodie. So my goodness. 

Brady Renard:    [00:06:59] No one said these questions, we're going to be easy. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:07:01] I know. Gumbo, Okra Gumbo. 

Anna Strider:    [00:07:06] Okra Gumbo. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:07:06] Yes. 

Brady Renard:    [00:07:08] Why Gumbo? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:07:09] You know what, it brings back some great memories of my grandmother and her gumbo and I tried to imitate that as the years go on. She just made this great chicken okra or shrimp okra gumbo. So boy, you're doing good. I'm going to go make one. 

Brady Renard:    [00:07:24] Poolside or beachside?

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:07:27] Well, I don't like the outside too much. I'm an inside person but I do a beach would be beautiful. Beautiful. Yes. 

Brady Renard:    [00:07:35] And we've got some good ones here in Southwest Louisiana as well. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:07:38] Yes. 

Brady Renard:    [00:07:39] Concert or comedy show? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:07:41] Well, concert because it just so happens we are musicians. My husband is the lead guitar player for Marty Haggard who is Merle Haggard's oldest son and we travel across the country and who better to do Merle Haggard than his son? So I'm just going to have to say a concert. 

Brady Renard:    [00:07:57] That's another good choice. 

Anna Strider:    [00:07:59] That's a fantastic choice and what a great reason for a concert to be your number one there. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:08:03] Yes. 

Anna Strider:    [00:08:04] Well, now that we've gone over a few of the ways that you like to play in Louisiana's playground, we're ready to talk Cal-Cam Fair and the 100th anniversary. So I know this fair is a huge foundation of Southwest Louisiana and our culture and traditions here. So can you kind of get us started with where the fair originated? We're coming up on 100 years and why it's so important to Southwest Louisiana. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:08:28] The fair started in 1922, Dr. Lafarge started this, he was mayor of Sulphur there for a little while as well, but he started in Lake Charles and then we moved over to in Sulphur and it's had several homes. It’s just been one of those Staples in our area that has just been a big deal. I mean you're talking about the smell, the lights, the ambiance of just walking out there, but it's just, it's always been a great, great thing for me. I have my own personal memories there when it was at Sulphur at the fairgrounds. And of course, in 2014 we moved it to the West Cal Arena and that is the home now and it is a perfect marriage between the fair and everything we have to offer and being at this location. 

Brady Renard:    [00:09:16] If there's any state that loves celebrating a fair more than Louisiana, I've yet to see it. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:09:21] Yes, I agree, I agree 100% with you. And what's so cool about our fair here in Louisiana, we're the only bi-parish, we've got two were Calcasieu and Cameron. So that's kind of a little added extra thing that we get to do. So like in our pageant, the way we do it, I'm a co-pageant director with Julie Dolan and we summoned girls from the Calcasieu and the Cameron schools in this 8th grade to 12th grade. And, they get to pick three of the 8th graders and then two for the other graders and they get to do it however they want to, they sign up for it or they do essays. So it's really a tradition, a pageant is just a tradition of a festival as you all know around this area and all the festivals and pageant included.

Brady Renard:    [00:10:07] And what do you think it means, the only bi-parish fair in the state of Louisiana? How do you think that brings the community further together and impacts the experience? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:10:18] You know, that is a good question. The only thing that I can look at it is, Cameron and Calcasieu being so close and of course we're at the Texas line and then we're at the Gulf of Mexico. So it kind of covers the whole Southwest Louisiana bottom part of it. So whatever his original reason was to join them, I think it was spot on and it was perfect because we do stand alone. 

Brady Renard:    [00:10:43] I think it's fair to say that the fair is back and better than ever in terms of what you guys are bringing. The last two years have been tough as it has been for many other businesses and organizations to try to get back. And for you guys the last two years, I'm sure there was a lot of sitting and thinking, how do we advance this fair? How do we bring this more to the foreground here? And how has that been for you guys? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:11:07] It was really kind of a wonderful situation for the board. We came last year. We thought about it, we thought long and hard should we have a fair? I mean it was at the time where it was kind of iffy. What I'm so proud of, we said, we want to be leaders in the community. I think we can do this. And we took the chance and it was an absolutely wonderful success. 2021 was just amazing. I think people were ready to come out and that's why we've even this year we've added a few more things. 

We want to make sure that there's something for everybody. So we're feeling each day because it will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We'll be doing the traditional livestock show. Of course like I said the fair food, you think about a corn dog and the funnel cake and your cotton candy and all that stuff. It's just a beautiful staple for our area to be able to go out, bring your children and set memories. I've got eight grandkids and as you get older like I am and you look back on the memories of your life and the good ones sustain you so much as you grow into an adult and I think that's if I can say something to the listeners, bring your children, let them experience besides have so much fun. It's going to make some precious memories. Of course, capture them all with now the iPhone. Everybody can get pictures. 

Brady Renard:    [00:12:35] A lot easier now. 

Anna Strider:    [00:12:35] Exactly.

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:12:36] Well it's funny, let's bring it, let's segue into that with the Lagniappe did we're on the front cover and y'all it is chock a block full of old photos from the fair. We've got Queens from 1954 in this old convertible that she's sitting in. The visual is so beautiful and then also making sure you go to Cal-Cam Fair Association because I'm going to keep pictures there. Everything you're going to need to know about the fair is going to be there. 

Brady Renard:    [00:13:03] Yeah, of course, she's talking about the Cal-Cam Fair Association Facebook page and then the Lagniappe Magazine. If you are out of town can be found on thebestofswla.com. 

Anna Strider:    [00:13:14] As we're talking about some of the great photos that are in the magazine and then going back for 100 years, so explain has the fair gone on for 100 years? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:13:25] There's no ebb and flow to life. There's these things that come up with it. There was a war, World War II. Our fairgrounds became the POW camp for a while as far as we were saying from 1922 we've been here but there were several years that we didn't get to have one. But what shows the resilience of our area and of the strength of our people and the wonderful boards that have come before and up until now that we keep it going and everyone on that board has a passion for this area and they all have different things that they do. We are just a working board. I'm just telling you, everybody on the board has a job and a thing that they are in charge of. 

Brady Renard:    [00:14:07] Well with the fair back to its normal schedule after being a little scaled-down as you were kind of alluding to a while ago, what are the improvements and how are they enhancing the fair experience? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:14:20] One thing that we're doing that we used to do was the exhibits, that's a big deal. Last year we did not have it because it was because of the situation. So we're bringing that back. So we're excited to say we're back this year. And then also too on our Facebook page, we've made a booklet that kind of gives what we're accepting, what the rules are. So all that's going to be found on our Facebook page Cal-Cam Fair Association. This year we're excited because a group of young men, 38, 35 about that area, well guess what, they have young children, young boys, so they started the Dirty South Bull Riders. So this is something new that we're going to have Friday night. They said it's going to be big. They have all the, how do you call that, Brady? Techno light stuff? 

Brady Renard:    [00:15:07] Pyrotechnics? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:15:09] Pyrotechnics. There you go, I love that, look, I'm learning about all this stuff. But what's so cool is what I'm excited about is my Cal-Cams Got Talent. I'm a singer and I know we have great talent. So in 2019 I started Cal-Cams Got Talent and so we had a wonderful, it's just a great turnout and we just gave some awards and so forth and we had it last year was great. So this year 100th year Miss Jan who is our secretary on our board, she kept saying all year long, she said this is our 100th year, we're going to go big. So I'm excited to announce here Friday night, they're going to be trying to get $1000 is the prize. 

Anna Strider:    [00:15:51] The grand prize.

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:15:51] Grand prize and then $500 and $300. So I'm excited about that. Then right after that will be the youthful, we're literally going to go right into it. So chakra block, so Saturday we are something that we used to have years ago was show choirs and we're bringing that back. We got Barb Sophomore High School and Bail City are bringing their youth and they have instruments and songs and they're really excited. Then on Thursday night, which kicks it all off the gospel night, so that's Thursday night. Then we're going to have all the dignitaries come and the Lafarque family who started, their grandpa started this and it's a legacy for them to talk about that. Saturday morning, we've got the children's cooking contest. So Miss Lily Encar thought about that last year and she's bringing it back bigger and better where the kids are going to cook something and they're going to come, they're going to cook it at home and she's got all the rules and things that they're going to do and we have judges. Saturday is our big event that we've been having for the last four years. It's called The Bullfight that Chuck Kinney has brought to the fair, which is a big draw. We've got a wonderful T-shirt that we're going to have because our motto this year is Cal-Cam Fair, Making Tomorrow's Memories Today. You see I have my memories from 30, 40 years ago and I want to make sure that my grandkids and kids, your children and so forth, have their own memories. 

Anna Strider:    [00:17:14] Did I hear that there's a parade as well?

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:17:17] Yes, you did. And a matter of fact, we normally just follow the homecoming parade in Sulphur. This year like Miss Jan said, we're going bigger and better. So we're having our own parade. It's going to be Saturday, the 15th at 10 o'clock. It’s going to be in Sulphur. We're going to have our queens parade around. We're inviting our older queens from years past. Just different things throughout the years invited besides businesses as well. 

Brady Renard:    [00:17:45] Now you mentioned earlier that you're a foodie and you kind of sprinkled in some of the foods. What can I expect? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:17:53] Well, what we're looking for that we're filling up real quick is inside the arena, we're having our local folks. So we're going to have some hometown food, and then we also have the carnival folks are going to be on the outside and they're going to have your typical, everything that you need to know. 

Anna Strider:    [00:18:11] That's the best mix of food there to have the Southwest Louisiana flavors, the Cajun-Creole and local favorites inside and still have those traditional funnel cakes and corn dogs – 

Brady Renard:    [00:18:21] Fried Oreos. 

Anna Strider:    [00:18:21] Fried Oreos. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:18:22] That's my favorite. 

Brady Renard:    [00:18:23] Yeah, those fried Oreos. And I was telling her every time I go those corn dogs, the foot-long corn dogs, you can't beat it. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:18:30] Oh my goodness! You're making me hungry. But that's exactly what we're hoping we're doing here on the radio, bringing that smell. You could even bring the smell on the radio. 

Brady Renard:    [00:18:38] Now, what is the future of the event? I mean, you guys went into this past year and really felt like there was some spots where you could upgrade and make bigger and better. What's the future? What are you guys hoping to kind of add down the road to continue improving the fair experience? 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:18:55] And you know, that can almost bring a tear to my eye because tradition is such a big deal and our main thing is to keep this tradition going, when we had those couple of years thinking, “Oh my gosh, are we even going to have a fair?” And then the community said, “Oh yes, we are.” We put it out there and they came. So we're going to continue with that. But as far as the future goes, we want to continue to add each year. If somebody wants to see it all, they're going to have a lot to see or if they're just going to be there a certain day, we want them to have choices and we want them to enjoy every bit of it. So yes, we are going to go bigger, better, we're doing everything we can because we're putting it out there and we're saying, you come on and you just have fun and experience and that's all we are. It's really that simple. It really is. 

Anna Strider:    [00:19:49] It's one of those great things in life that is that simple to just come, be present and put your smile on and know that you're going to have a good time. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:19:58] And tradition. That's a big deal. Keep this tradition going for years to come. 

Brady Renard:    [00:20:03] For more information about the schedule, prices, all of those things that can be found where?

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:20:07] Right on Facebook that's the simplest thing I could possibly say.

Brady Renard:    [00:20:12] And what's the Facebook name one more time?

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:20:14] It’s Cal-Cam Fair Association 

Anna Strider:    [00:20:16] Cal-Cam Fair this year is going to be located at the West Cal Arena and that's right off the interstate right there for anyone that's just cruising along, if you have a little bit of time, stop, get a bite to eat. It's very conveniently located for the community and visitors coming into our area. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:20:34] Yes. And like every day we're posting something new and like Lagniappe, it's going to be online so people will be able to find it online there as well. But it's just filled with things. So I want to make sure everybody that wants to know something about it, they're going to know. 

Brady Renard:    [00:20:52] Well we're excited for this weekend for the fair and we hope to see some of you there this weekend. 

Anna Strider:    [00:20:58] Yes, absolutely. 

Jody Barrilleaux:    [00:20:59] Yes, absolutely. Come on out and make some memories, enjoy the ambiance and smell and of course the food. 

Brady Renard:    [00:21:07] And thanks again for Jody Barrilleaux for joining the show and thank you for taking time out of your day to join us on the podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please, please leave us a rating or a review. 

Anna Strider:    [00:21:19] It will help us grow our audience and for the share of the unique experiences that Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana have to offer. You can visit visitlakecharles.org/podcast for more episodes on where to eat and the events happening this weekend. I'm Anna Strider – 

Brady Renard:    [00:21:33] And I'm Brady Renard. Thanks again for coming to play at Louisiana's Playground. Stay tuned.

[End of transcript]