Jerk Chicken

Alexander Fomchenko/Shutterstock

Inaugural New Orleans Jerk Chicken Festival Finds a Home in Central City

The new festival celebrates Jamaican cuisine mixed with New Orleans culture
Jerk Chicken

Alexander Fomchenko/Shutterstock

Sample more than a dozen of the city's best jerk chicken recipes.

There is no shortage of festivals celebrated in New Orleans, and this year, a new one has been added to the list: the New Orleans Jerk Chicken Festival. The festival, which was initially going to be called Marley Gras, is a celebration of Jamaican cuisine, New Orleans culture, and the birthday of Jamaican icon, Bob Marley.

The inaugural festival, run by the creators of the New Orleans Caribbean Festival, will feature a variety of food trucks and restaurants serving up their own renditions of jerk chicken and other Caribbean dishes and cocktails. Currently, 11 restaurants are confirmed, with more to come. Also promised by the new festival is an assortment of Reggae bands and DJs, as well as appearances by some of New Orleans’ top brass bands that will play Bob Marley hits. Several arts and craft vendors will also be in attendance.

For those attendees looking for a challenge, there will be a Scotch bonnet pepper-eating contest — the pepper of the Caribbean region that is similar in heat to the habanero.  In addition, there will be a jerk chicken competition judged by local celebrity guest judges.

The merriment is slated to be held on Feb. 11, from 4 to 10 p.m., at the newly opened Central City BBQ at 1201 S. Rampart St.


Tickets for the festival are $10. For more information on the New Orleans Jerk Chicken Festival or to purchase tickets, visit the official festival website.