By Ed Brock
Paulette Harris and Keith Whitehead are bringing the tastes of New Orleans to the Taste of Clayton.
"I am from New Orleans," said Whitehead, who partners with Harris in New Orleans Catering. "We do jambalaya, po' boy sandwiches, smoked sausage, fish, shrimp."
New Orleans Catering is one of nine new additions to the line up of 34 restaurants and stores set to display their wares at the annual Taste of Clayton at Stately Oaks in Jonesboro on Friday.
The others are Smokey Bones barbecue restaurant, D&D Catering and Consulting, EJ Sweets and Gifts, Kroger and Publix grocery stores, Crystal Springs Water, Events by Blanchard and Honey Baked Ham.
Whitehead, who also owned a New Orleans style restaurant in Decatur, said they will be serving samples of their jambalaya at the festival. His cousin Donald Craft will help out, too.
"I'm the connoisseur. I taste the food," Craft said.
They will join regulars at the festival including Jim Wood and Associates with their tomato sandwiches, Taste of the South, Blue Bell Creameries, Costco, Fork and Spoon Personal Chef, the Pampered Chef, Applebees, Atlanta Bread Company, CiCi's Pizza, Cracker Barrel, D'Bo's Wings, Hooters, Lake Harbin Gourmet, Lenny's, Moe's, O'Charley's, Planet Smoothie and Red Lobster.
The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on the grounds of Stately Oaks, an ante-bellum mansion on Lake Jodeco Road.
"I think it's going to be bigger than ever," said event organizer Barbara Emert.
And Emert's optimism is not subdued by the forecast of rain this weekend. In all the years the festival has been held it has rained before and after the event and maybe drizzled during the event, Emert said.
"But it's never been so people could not come and enjoy the event," Emert said.
Entertainment at the event will include the Jonesmen gospel music group, The Sweet Inspirations and Abb Dickson with Pope Dickson Funeral Home doing magic tricks. There will also be a silent auction, with bids being taken on a round-trip ticket for two on Air Tran Airways, a dinner cruise on the Southern Belle in Chattanooga, an overnight stay at the Phoebe Pember Bed and Breakfast in Charleston and gift certificates from Lake Spivey Golf Course, Ivy Connection, Scarlett's Retreat, Tanama, Hair 30236 and The Beach.
Corporate sponsors of the event include The Greenhouse of Jonesboro, Southlake Mall, the News Daily, Blankenship and Walker Printing, Xtreme Graphix, state Sens. Terrell Starr, D-Forest Park, and Valencia Seay, D-Riverdale, state Reps. Ron Dodson, D-Lake City and Mike Barnes, D-Hampton, Clayton County Commissioner Eldrin Bell, Superior Court Judge Al Collier, Jonesboro Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Georgia Power, the Stanley Law Firm, Will Print, Peachtree Homes, Fast Signs, Heritage Bank, the Printing Place and Blalock Oil Company.
Tickets to the event for adults are $18 in advance and $20 at the gate. Senior tickets (55 and above) are $15 and children ages 4 to 9 are $10. Call (770) 473-0197 for more information.