Battle for the Paddle: Area teams cooking up a competition to see which will get bragging rights

Published 8:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

The annual Jambalaya and Pastalaya Cook-Off, Battle for the Paddle 2023, is returning to Southwest Louisiana on Thursday, March 16 at the Lake Charles Civic Center Amphitheatre from 5- 8 p.m.

At this event, SWLA locals will have the opportunity to come together and sample competitively tasty jambalaya and pastalaya. Currently, there are 17 teams competing, including Smoke & Barrel, Team CITGO, Visit Lake Charles and Turner Industries.

Teams can sign up to compete up until Wednesday, March 15. Team entry for one division is $500 and team entry for two divisions is $750.

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The winning Jambalaya and Pastalaya teams are chosen by patrons, who vote after sampling each dish. First, second and third place winners will be crowned based on these votes. Patrons will also be voting on which team has the most exciting St. Patrick’s Day themed tent.

Guests will be able to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities as well by dressing in St. Patrick’s Day themed attire. The guest with the most festive outfit will be given the Best Costume Award.

Arena rock tribute band, LA ROXX, will be performing live at the event. “Everyone loved LA Roxx last year, so we’re bringing them back,” said Denise Durel, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana.

The performance, and well as access to the Kids Zone, is free and does not require a ticket. United Way SWLA wants to provide free entertainment for as many locals as possible. “We want people to come enjoy the music and the kids zone even if they don’t plan to eat,” she said. “Those things are provided free of charge by us so families can just come and have a good time.”

Those that want to participate in the food sampling will need to purchase a ticket. The basic sample ticket runs for $15. Students, veterans and first responders can purchase a discounted ticket for $10. Valid I.D. is required for student tickets.

Cold drinks and beer:green or not- will be available for purchase.

For $50, those 21 and older can have an all inclusive experience with VIP lounge tickets, which includes all-you-can eat bites of cajun favorites and samples of beer and wine. VIP lounge ticket holders will also have access to the stadium lounge area, which offers raised seating for LA ROXX’s performance.

United Way of Southwest Louisiana is hosting a raffle for VIP access. “Some lucky person can win 8 free VIP tickets,” said Durel. Interested parties have until Monday, March 13 to enter the raffle. This can be done by texting “LUCKY7” to 40403.

VIP lounge tickets are limited.

All tickets can be purchased by visiting or by texting “SHAMROCK” to 40403.

All money raised by this event benefit United Way of SWLA’s community initiatives.