A Competition That’s Fit for a King (Cake)

Plus: A festival of frog legs, a Southern showing at Sundance, and more.

If you’ve got a four-day work week, but a five-day workload, we feel your pain. But we’ve also got the cure for that—our signature blend of what’s happening around the South:

King of Cakes

photo: Courtesy of King Cake Snob

King cake: A Mardi Gras tradition.

Mardi Gras is still four weeks away for the non-Bayou dwellers among us. But anyone who lives close to Louisiana knows that prep starts early for the biggest party of the year, including the competition for the king—or queen—of the king cake (the sugar-dusted round of brioche dough with a plastic baby hiding inside). Voting is now open at, where visitors can enter their email address, then nominate their favorite traditional and filled king cakes from any bakery in Louisiana and vote accordingly.

New Orleans’ Manny Randazzo King Cakes won four of the five awards in 2017, and NOLA’s The Royal Bakery is leading all five categories this year. But our vote goes to New Orleans’s AAA baseball team. There may or may not be any bakers in the bunch, but the team officially changed its name from the “Zephyrs” to the “Baby Cakes” in 2017, making all of the players kings in our books.

Frog Goals

If a county fair and a giant frog had a baby, it would definitely look like the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, the famous extravaganza that’s happening this weekend in the town of Fellsmere, Florida. The swamp party near the banks of the Indian River not only raises money for Fellsmere’s recreation programs for kids, it also holds the Guinness World Records for largest frog leg festival and most frog legs served in a day. No big deal.

The menu, which will feed 80,000 people more than 7,000 pounds of frog legs this year, lets you have your amphibian two ways—by the pop or by the pound. On the off chance you just can’t bring yourself to eat Kermit’s kin, not to worry: There’s plenty of gator tail to go with your grits and slaw instead. And next year, we’re hoping for frog gras.

Can We Get an Amen?

If you are anywhere near Jackson, Mississippi, this weekend, be sure to purchase tickets for the stage reading of Glory! Glory! at the New Stage Theater. The original musical stars Leslie Jordan, an Emmy Award winner for his role as Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace, who conceived Glory! Glory! with Michael Lotus and co-wrote it, along with the artist-and-author/husband-and-wife duo, Linda Burgess and William Dunlap.

Glory! Glory! promises to take the audience into an old-time tent revival, complete with “an embrace of all seven deadly sins … and then some.” And if you can’t get to Jackson for the glory or the “then some,” here’s a sneak peek.

South by Sundance

photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Steve Cosens

A scene from Blaze, directed by Ethan Hawke.

The Sundance Film festival may bring to mind celebrities air kissing in ski gear, but the real purpose of Robert Redford’s Utah event is to support independent films through a juried competition. On the ballots for best drama and best documentary this year are several films with roots in the South.

Ethan Hawke directed Blazewhich reimagines the life of Blaze Foley, “the unsung hero of the Texas Outlaw music movement.” Burdenstarring Forest Whitaker, Garrett Hedlund, and Usher Raymond, tells the story of a former Klansman who learns tolerance through love and faith. The Devil We Know is about a group of West Virginia citizens fighting against toxic dumping, while Hale County This Morning, This Evening calls itself “an emotive impression of people in the Historic South,” set in Hale County, Alabama. Sundance begins this weekend and runs for ten days, and we’re crossing our fingers for the Southern filmmakers up for a prize.

Parting Thoughts

This week, we are: Hitting replay on All the y’alls,” the YouTube ode to Tami Taylor of Friday Night Lights whenever we need a pick-me-up from Mrs. Coach. … Following (before swimming) @HiltonTheShark on Twitter. The 13-foot great white shark updates Twitter every time he surfaces close enough to the oceanographers mapping his travels, including a ping just off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, on Monday😬. … And finally, we’re grateful for the bravery and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Atlanta native whose life bent the arc of history at a time when the nation, and the South, needed it most. King’s ultimate goal of reconciliation remains incomplete, but his legacy continues to light the way.

Until next week, friends…


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