4th Annual Downriver Fest: Oysters & the Restoration of our Coast!

09.19.2016 | In Community & Events
By Helen Rose Patterson, Senior Outreach Coordinator, Mississippi River Delta Restoration, National Wildlife Federation

Saturday, Sept. 10 was the 4th annual Downriver Festival at the New Orleans French Market! The festival featured lectures, live music and culinary demonstrations that celebrated all aspects of the Mississippi River’s influences. The theme this year was “Oysters and the Future of our Coast,” and Restore the Mississippi River Delta was lucky enough to be a partner for the first time. We sponsored the symposium section of the event, featuring many presentations from “What Makes a Tasty Oyster” to “Managing Oysters, Restoration and Relationships.” Check out some of the pictures from the event below and follow us on Facebook to be notified about future events in your area!Greg Lambousy and Jason Strada hang a banner at the Old U.S. Mint (Photo courtesy of Greg Lambousy)Greg Lambousy and Jason Strada hang a banner at the Old U.S. Mint (Photo courtesy of Greg Lambousy)

The festival kicked off with a second line from the Old U.S. Mint to the River led by National Park Service Ranger Chandra Teddleton.

Chandra Teddleton leads the Second Line with Kinfolk Brass Band from the Old U.S. Mint to the Mississippi River (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)Chandra Teddleton leads the Second Line with Kinfolk Brass Band from the Old U.S. Mint to the Mississippi River (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Gary LaGrange opened the symposium with an informative presentation on the Port of New Orleans.

Gary LaGrange (Photo courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Gary LaGrange (Photo courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Don Davis gave an emphatic and deeply investigated history of the oyster industry in Louisiana.

Don Davis (Photo courtesy of Helen Rose Patterson)

Don Davis (Photo courtesy of Helen Rose Patterson)I

Kevin McCaffrey moderated a discussion between Dr. Earl Melancon and Byron Encalade revealing the interplay between scientific research and traditional ecological knowledge.

Byron Encalade and Earl Melancon (Photo Courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Byron Encalade and Earl Melancon (Photo Courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Kevin McCaffrey (Photo Courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Kevin McCaffrey (Photo Courtesy of Mark Sindler)

We then learned all about oyster restoration from Deb Abibou of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Seth Blitch with the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, Rusty Gaudé of Louisiana Sea Grant and Chef Chris Lusk of the Caribbean Room.

Deb Abibou (Photo courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Deb Abibou (Photo courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Rusty Gaude and Chef Chris Lusk (Photo courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Rusty Gaude and Chef Chris Lusk (Photo courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Chef Chris Lusk (Photo Courtesy of Mark Sindler)

Chef Chris Lusk (Photo Courtesy of Mark Sindler)

The final presentation on oysters came from John Tesvich, Andrew Wilson and Maura Wood.

Maura Wood, John Tesvich and Andrew Wilson (Photo courtesy of Helen Rose Patterson)

Maura Wood, John Tesvich and Andrew Wilson (Photo courtesy of Helen Rose Patterson)

The symposium series wrapped up with a presentation from Slow Food New Orleans. Meanwhile, outside there were cooking demonstrations at the French Market.

Cooking Demonstrations (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Cooking Demonstrations (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Cooking Demonstrations (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Cooking Demonstrations (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Cooking Demonstrations (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Cooking Demonstrations (Photo courtesy of Kim Welsh)

Restore the Mississippi River Delta had a table out at the Market to chat with festival goers.

Alisha Rendro (NWF) and Corey Miller (CRCL) Tabling at the French Market

Alisha Renfro (NWF) and Corey Miller (CRCL) Tabling at the French Market

Richie Blink tabling for Restore the Mississippi River Delta at the French Market

Richie Blink tabling for Restore the Mississippi River Delta at the French Market

And at the Mint, folks enjoyed live music all day, despite the rain!

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Big thanks to our partners: Louisiana State Museum, Friends of the Cabildo, National Park Service, French Market, Louisiana Museum Foundation, Slow Food New Orleans, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Inc., Consulado de México en Nueva Orleans and The Port of New Orleans.

As the Greater New Orleans Outreach Coordinator for Restore the Mississippi River Delta, Helen Rose Patterson works to build strong, vocal support for coastal restoration ensuring that funding for restoration is secure and effectively spent. Helen Rose works with leaders in the interfaith community, real estate and civic organizations to develop and execute outreach strategies that build confident advocates for coastal restoration. Helen Rose has worked on Louisiana coastal issues since 2008 and is deeply dedicated to the future of the state. She is a native Mississippian who studied cultural ecology at Bennington College in Vermont. She was an environmental education volunteer in Peace Corps Morocco before coming back south to settle in Louisiana.