NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Ninety teams from across the country converge at UNO Lakefront Arena to make the best barbeque and help raise money for pediatric brain cancer. Participants are already setting up for Friday, March 31 Hogs for the Cause Festival.
Some booth designs are pretty elaborate. Eric Hunn said, "When we found out about Hogs for the Cause and what the cause was all about it really inspired us to go big or go home."
Eric Hunn and his team of forty live by that motto. Hunn said, "Go Mr. Pigglesworth"
Food is the big draw at Hogs for the Cause. Eric Hunn said, "We're actually the two time reigning fan favorite. Hopefully we can three-peat."
"The booths have kind of taken on a life of their own, but it's really very simple to explain this is just boys wanting to build a better club house than the kids from the street next door," said Rene Loaupre, one of the festival cofounders.
oaupre said, "We kind of build a city for about three days and it's been really cool to see it all come together."
There is even a skyscraper in this 9th year of the competition. Loaupre said, "We are standing right now in the Fleur de Que booth. They have won our fund raising award for the last four years. Last year they did a double decker. This year they have a triple decker."
While some are looking for that booth prize, others still focus on food. Loaupre said, "Then we've also got teams you know they come out and build their 10 x 10 smoker, but they are probably going to serve you some of the best cracklings that you've ever had."
What started as just a couple of friends wanting to roast a pig has grown into a charitable organization giving away more than $1 million in less than ten years. Loaupre said, "This year we are hoping for our teams to raise about $700,000."
Most of that is earmarked for a 14 family suite house. Loaupre said, "It's going to be adjacent to the Children's Hospital campus and really allows those families to stay close to their kids without having to stay in a hospital."
Hunn's team started with a personal connection. He said, "I had one of my employees that lost their daughter to pediatric brain cancer several years ago."
In the last three years he's seen the results of their work. Hunn said, "I've been on grants with Hogs for the Cause to Children's Hospital before and have seen them give a cash donation to a family fighting this and the smiles on their faces make all the hard work worth it." The prizes, food and fun are all lagniappe.
Hogs for the cause is at the UNO Lakefront Arena for the first time this year moving from its previous location at City Park. The festival is this Friday and Saturday and will feature three stages of live music.