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City, county officials to compete against each other in upcoming gumbo cook-off

The Carnaval de Mardi Gras Gumbo cook-off is sure to be a bit spicier this year.

In addition to the competitors who are already signed up to compete in the annual cook-off, city and county elected officials have decided to jump in and have a little competition of their own.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors threw out a challenge, and the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen have picked up the gauntlet and are ready to see who can make the best gumbo.

There will even be a special “We’re All in This Together” award presented to the winner.

The supervisors decided to initiate the challenge after a couple of the members attended the Chili For Children Cook-Off in January.

District 5 Supervisor Kelle Barfield said while she and District 1 Supervisor Ed Herring served as judges for the chili competition, a friend suggested the supervisors enter the gumbo cook-off.

“[The gumbo cook-off] benefits another great cause, preservation of our historic buildings and culture through the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation,” Barfield said. “So we talked about being a part of the event. The other supervisors were supportive. But we thought, ‘Why should we have all the fun?’ The city leaders always seem to be cooking up new ideas for growing Vicksburg, so let’s just see how good they are at cooking for a cause.”

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour is spearheading the city’s entry into the gumbo cook-off and said he is definitely up for the challenge.

“I am going to make my traditional chicken and sausage gumbo with a couple of secret ingredients in there,” he said.

As a native of Lake Charles, La., and former student at Louisiana State University, Monsour is feeling quite confident with the recipe he has been making for more than 30 years.

“I used to be the cook at the LSU tailgate at Tiger football games,” he said. “We used to have some ‘Cajuns’ who cooked before me, but when they retired they left it up to me to cook.”

Herring and Barfield, along with Warren County purchasing agent Tonga Vinson, will be taking the lead from the county side.

Barfield said she likes the “kitchen sink” method of cooking.

“Just start with a classic roux, bless it with the holy trinity of peppers, onion and celery, then keep adding spices until it tastes right,” she said. “As for meat, we’ll likely go with poultry, because we know voters will gobble ours up.”

A taste test at the office is planned in an effort to include others from the Board of Supervisors’ office to join in.

“We’re strong advocates for community unity, but city officials won’t be invited to the taste test,” Herring said.

Monsour said he has no problems in being excluded from the taste test.

“I just hope that we can work together after a decisive victory is in hand. Geaux Tigers,” Monsour said.

The Carnaval de Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-Off will be held Saturday, Feb. 22 following the annual downtown Vicksburg Mardi Gras parade and will run from 5 to 8 p.m. on Crawford Street outside the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.

Admission to the cook-off is $10 per person and $5 for children. The admission fee includes unlimited tasting of gumbo, live music by Legal Tender and children’s activities. There will also be a beer booth, and for those who don’t like gumbo, hot dogs, popcorn, cookies, king cake and bread pudding will be available for sale.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/vicksburg.mardi.gras.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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