Fireman Mike at Jazz Fest

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Published on: April 24th, 2009


Captain Mike Gowland, photo by Steven Kovalesky
Fireman Mike, photo by Steven Kovalesky
Not all the food at Jazz Fest is readily available at a restaurant nearby when all the festival-goers have left and New Orleans remains.  Some of these vendors come out ONLY for Jazz Fest.

On our walk-about yesterday, prior to the opening of Jazz Fest, we ran into 'Fireman Mike' Captain Mike Gowland.  He runs one of the booths at Jazz Fest that specializes in Alligator Picante, shrimp gumbo and other stuff.  What attracted us to his 'empty' stall was the 'Alligator In A Bun' that was above.  Mike saw us from his booth as he was doing his final preparations, and in that Louisiana fashion — 'your house is my house,' which I LOVE — he introduced himself to us.

He explained that his stall started as a labor of love for fundraising some years ago since his day job is as a fireman.  Now, years later, his stall is an institution at Jazz Festival because people like me (those who are not Cajun or live in Louisiana) want to eat that alligator.

The fun of it all was that when my husband asked to take his photo in front of his stall, one of his fellow firemen offered him his glasses...  That's when Mike revealed to me that he is actually in the 2009 Fireman Calendar and is one of the oldest.  His nickname amongst firemen is 'Papa.'  We laughed (I, too, need glasses).

To say the least, my husband and I are having some of that alligator!!!!
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