2016 Best of 225: People and Entertainment

Orange Joe at the Varsity Theatre. Photo by Jordan Hefler
Orange Joe at the Varsity Theatre. Photo by Jordan Hefler

Best Bar/Restaurant for Live Music

Varsity Theatre (27.8%)
With its historic setting, high-energy vibe and location just outside LSU’s North Gates, Varsity Theatre is a great venue to see both up-and-coming bands and established acts. With recent performers including Built to Spill, Haim and Royal Teeth, the Varsity offers the chance to sing along with your favorite band as well as discover some new sounds in an intimate setting. The venue has separate levels and a balcony, so there’s not a bad view of the stage. And the two large bars mean you can grab a drink and get back to the action fast. varsitytheatre.com

Runners up:
(16.8%) Superior Grill
(14.3%) Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s
(12%) Lava Cantina
(6.8%) Phil Brady’s Bar & Grill

Walk-On's in Towne Center. Photo by Collin Richie
Walk-On’s in Towne Center. Photo by Collin Richie

Best Bar to Watch Sports

Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar (37.9%)
No one does gameday atmosphere like Walk-On’s. Voted “#1 Sports Bar in North America” by ESPN, Walk-On’s serves up burgers, beer and more to sports fans before, during and after the game. Walk-On’s cheerleaders deliver Louisiana-style cuisine, TVs everywhere you look ensure you never miss any of the action, and the crowd roars with every play. With a setting like this, you’ll feel like you’re at the game. walk-ons.com

Runners up:
(15.6%) The Chimes
(9.7%) Pluckers Wing Bar
(7.4%) Buffalo Wild Wings
(7.3%) The Bulldog

Best Charity Event

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (25.2%)
For 20 years, the Baton Rouge affiliate of the national organization has sponsored the Komen Race for the Cure, an iconic global event that promotes awareness, education and early detection of breast cancer. Up to 75% of funds raised go back into the community to support breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for medically underserved women in the 10-parish service area. komenbatonrouge.org

Runners up:
(13.7%) Cancer Services Capital Chefs’ Showcase
(13.3%) Bella’s Ball
(9.8%) Louisiana Art & Science Museum Gala
(9.1%) Fur Ball

Ron Manville / Courtesy Chef John Folse & Co.
Ron Manville / Courtesy Chef John Folse & Co.

Best Chef

John Folse (24.4%)
John Folse’s name is synonymous with Cajun and Creole cuisine. The St. James Parish native introduced Louisiana cuisine around the globe from Moscow to Bogota to Rome, earning him the title “Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.” Folse also promotes Louisiana fare through his radio and TV shows and his numerous cookbooks. He owns several restaurants, including Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant in Donaldsonville and Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans, which he runs in partnership with Chef Rick Tramonto. A little closer to home, he owns White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, a popular wedding and events venue. jfolse.com

Runners up:
(22%) Jay Ducote
(15.6%) Don Bergeron
(11.8%) Avery Kyle
(9.3%) Ryan André

Mingo Fishtrap performing at Live After 5. Photo by Collin Richie
Mingo Fishtrap performing at Live After 5. Photo by Collin Richie

Best Community Event

Live After 5 (29.2%)
“Clock out and rock out” is the Friday motto buzzing among Baton Rougeans in fall and spring. Hosted in North Boulevard Town Square by the Downtown Business Association, Live After 5 is recognized as the longest-running, most successful outdoor concert series in the Capital City. The Downtown Business Association consistently books buzzworthy local and regional musicians. liveafterfive.downtownbr.org

Runners up:
(21.9%) Wearin’ of the Green St. Patrick’s Day Parade
(16.9%) Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade
(8.8%) White Light Night
(7.9%) Baton Rouge Blues Festival

Best Media Personality

Jay Ducote (19.6%)
Branded as a 2016 blogger-to-follow by Southern Living magazine, Jay Ducote and his Bite & Booze team have made big strides since the blog began as a hobby in 2009. Now, the blog is one of the best-known in the Capital Region and serves as a platform for promoting local food, drinks, chefs, farmers, events and more. biteandbooze.com

Runners up
(17.8%) Donna Britt
(15.2%) Pat Shingleton
(13%) Sylvia Weatherspoon
(12.3%) Matt Moscona

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Best Local Celebrity

Jay Ducote (23.6%)
After attaining national screentime as a finalist on Food Network Star, Jay Ducote has rocked Louisiana, appearing at cooking events and in media coverage from New Orleans to Shreveport. He continues to expand his Jay D’s product line of barbecue and other sauces and will travel to the James Beard House to cook an LSU tailgate-themed dinner on July 12. And he’s not done yet—last month, Travel Channel debuted Ducote’s new pilot, Deep Fried America. If ratings are good, the network may order a full season of the show. One thing is for certain—as this traveling chef and blogger continues to bring light to Louisiana cuisine, the local love for him grows. jayducote.com

Runners up:
(17.6%) Les Miles
(14.3%) Chase Tyler
(11.2%) Avery Kyle
(9.4%) John Folse

Best Museum

Louisiana Art & Science Museum (40.3%)
Whether you’re young or simply young at heart, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum has something to inspire and amaze you. Housed in a historic railroad station, the museum features a permanent collection of 4,000 artworks and artifacts, as well as regularly changing exhibitions. Fan favorites include the kid-friendly planetarium, the Ancient Egypt Gallery housing a 2,300-year-old mummy, and the recent addition of a 65-million-year-old massive Triceratops skull. Hands-on exhibits stimulate the imagination as you explore the arts and sciences. lasm.org

Runners up
(20.3%) LSU Rural Life Museum
(13.2%) USS Kidd and Veterans Museum
(7.7%) West Baton Rouge Parish Museum
(7.5%) LSU Museum of Art

Best Place for a Kid’s Birthday Party

Area 51 Extreme Air Sports (30.2%)
When you’re a kid, nothing goes better with birthday cake than an afternoon of jumping around. At Area 51 Extreme Air Sports, children can celebrate their special day while jumping on trampolines, diving into foam pits, playing dodgeball, climbing a rock wall and sailing through the air on a trapeze. Area 51 offers a range of birthday packages to give your kid the ultimate birthday experience. area51.us

Runners up
(12.2%) Baton Rouge Zoo
(12.2%) Sky Zone Trampoline Park
(12.2%) Louisiana Art & Science Museum
(8.4%) BREC Parks

Best Radio Station

102.5 WFMF (18.3%)
It’s hard to beat a station always up-to-date on the latest hits. An iHeart Media station, 102.5 WFMF plays popular, upbeat tunes and is home to renowned radio shows, including The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show and On Air with Ryan Seacrest and Libby Davis. The station also runs contests that support local businesses, such as Lasseigne’s Lunch for Your Office and CC’s Cold-Brewed Coffee Break, which were running as of press time. wfmf.iheart.com

Runners up
(16.4%) Eagle 98.1
(12.9%) 100.7 The Tiger
(11.5%) 96.1 The River
(10.2%) Classic Hits 103.3 FM

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Best Place for a Wedding Reception

White Oak Plantation (19.9%)
Set on 22 acres of lush foliage, gardens and lakes 20 minutes from downtown Baton Rouge, White Oak Plantation radiates Southern charm. The reception area features a grand French ballroom, and a large, tented patio contains a Spanish-style fountain and open-hearth fireplaces. White Oak offers food and beverage packages, and its staff helps you plan every detail of your wedding. All you have to do is relax and enjoy that magical moment in your life. whiteoakplantationbr.com

Runners up
(19%) Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
(16.6%) Nottoway Plantation
(11.9%) The Old Governor’s Mansion
(11.6%) Old State Capitol