After winning the World Championship Jambalaya Cook award in Gonzales Memorial Day Weekend, Joey Cornett proved Sunday he had lot’s more ammunition in his cooking arsenal.


After winning the World Championship Jambalaya Cook award in Gonzales Memorial Day Weekend, Joey Cornett proved Sunday he had lot’s more ammunition in his cooking arsenal.

He took the trip down Hwy. 61 for the 32nd annual Boucherie Festival and walked off with the Cracklin’ Championship cooking trophy.

It was a historic accomplishment, the first time any cook has won both contests in the same year.

“This is great, this is awesome,” the double champ said, accepting his trophy before a large crowd in the civic center.  “I can’t tell you how great it feels.”

A moment later he said, “I don’t believe it. It’s been a good year.”

Cornett also cooked in this year’s Boucherie Jambalaya contest, and his father Peanut, again served as his Jambalaya helper.

Peanut Cornett had to “run to the house” before the announcement of his son’s historic championship, but said he thought Joey  had a good chance to win “because the cracklin’s were good.”

Joey Cornett’s Sunday began at 6 a.m. with the third heat of the Jambalalya competition, and failure to qualify for the Jambalaya finals.

Then he started cooking cracklin’s at 1 p.m. and was named Cracklin’ champ a little after 8 p.m.

In the Boucherie Jambalaya contest, Robbie Breaux won his third championship trophy over the years.  Breaux was also champion in 1995 and 1996 when the festival introduced its first Jambalalya contest.

Carlos Braud captured the Jambalaya Champ of Champs trophy this year, and Kristen Braud was named Cracklin’ Champ of Champs.

But it was Cornett and cracklin’ helper and sponsor Koby Thacker who had amateur historians at the festival scratching their noggins and trying to remember who had won what and when over the years.

Most everyone knew T. Wayne Abshire had won both contests, but not in the same year, in itself a rare feat.

Announcer Todd Long, who has attended the last 15 Boucherie Festivals, said most Jambalaya cooks did not cook cracklin’s, and vice versa in those days.

“You’re talking about two totally different dishes, cracklin’s and Jambalaya,” Long said. It was around 1995-96 when the Jambalaya cooks started going down to Sorrento to cook in the new Boucherie Jambalalya contest that you began to see some of them get interested in cooking cracklin’s, according to Long.

Progressing from the point where only a couple of Jambalaya champs had ever won the cracklin’ championship, to Sunday where a Jambalaya Champ won the cracklin’’ championship the same year as the Jambalaya championship, shows how important the Boucherie contest and the festival itself are to the recent evolution of cooking in Ascension Parish, Long said.

Long said he did a lot of reflecting on the festival over the weekend. “I kind of didn’t want to be there because I knew it was going to be the last one in the civic center building.”

The question of where the festival will be located next year after the School Board takes over the civic center for storage purposes, is up in the air.

It could move to Lamar-Dixon Expo Center. It could relocate somewhere in Sorrento. Or, the fund raising event for the Sorrento Lions Club which gives its proceeds to its crippled children’s camp and Lions Club Eye Foundation, may simply fade away.

Long believes the festival will be back, somewhere, next year, and it really doesn’t matter where.

This year, the last in the festival’s present venue, Long said, couldn’t have been a better year historically.