Southern Agenda

Swamp Soiree

You never know who will show up along the road encircling Lake Martin in Breaux Bridge. Chef Bill Briand of Fisher’s in Orange Beach, Alabama, remembers when he traveled over for a gig a few years ago and first saw the swampy Shangri-la that rose before him there: “All the Spanish moss hanging from oak limbs surrounded this quaint old house that looks like it’s been there forever,” he says of Maison Madeleine, an 1840 French Creole cottage turned bed-and-breakfast. For one of Maison Madeleine’s Secret Suppers, Briand cooked whole pompano over a live fire and shucked Murder Point oysters alongside Lafayette, Louisiana, chef Jeremy Conner. Tickets disappear quickly for the dinner series, which features dishes from the South’s favorite chefs and serenades from musicians whose ranks draw from Grammy winners. Two weeks before each shindig, Maison Madeleine reveals all the headliners, heightening the anticipation. After a summer hiatus, the monthly evenings of clandestine cookery return in September.