Photo: David Hoekman
|Odis "Big O" Johnson owns and operates Big O's with his wife, Drenette, in Bossier City, La.
© 2012 Group Tour Media Blog,
May 30, 2012
By David Hoekman
It hit me about 10 a.m. on the first full day of my recent media research trip to Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
I thanked a server at Big O’s in Bossier City as she took away a coleslaw bowl and placed in front of me a plate loaded with catfish, shrimp, hush puppies, beans and dirty rice. And there were French fries.
Odis “Big O” Johnson owns and operates Big O’s with his wife, Drenette.
My mind’s eye was reviewing the itinerary for the trip called Mudbugs, Muffys & More. The day’s theme was home grown. I knew six more stops, most with food, were scheduled before our outing to the Mudbug Madness Festival that evening.
Did I mention this was a culinary tour?
I was already pretty full after a full New Orleans breakfast at Marilynn’s Place, a restaurant located in a renovated gas station.
Chef Robert “Boz” Baucum named the restaurant in honor of his mother, who died in October.
“She helped me get this,” he said. “She believed in me. She held court here for six months.”
Baucum defined a full New Orleans breakfast as beignets and Community Coffee. His beignets were light and flaky, super tasty squares of goodness topped with powdered sugar.
Photo: David Hoekman
|Big O's serves up its signature tartar sauce with its seafood.
Anyway, the food started coming out at Big O’s. The aroma was incredible.
And I thought: there’s no way I can do this. I’m going to burst before I even get to taste a mudbug, the local term for crawfish.
Chris Jay, social media and public relations manager for Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau and the one who organized the trip, may have seen the concern on my face.
He assured the group he had asked for small portions and that we didn’t have to finish everything.
Of course, the catfish, shrimp, beans and dirty rice were so good, I promptly forgot about the rest of the schedule.
Part of it was the incredible tartar sauce, which is under consideration by Wendy’s.
Big O got the recipe for the tartar sauce in a dream about five years ago. “It really was a blessing from God,” he said. “I’m using it well, to the best of my ability.”
Johnson was an amateur cook who had never made tartar sauce before his dream. He bought everything in one trip to the store, never went back for any ingredients and when he followed the dream’s recipe, the tartar sauce “worked perfectly” the first time he made it.
“I don’t know how that happened, but it happened,” he said.
After Big O’s, I scaled back my portion sizes and made it through the rest of the day and the rest of the trip.
But I’m sure I gained some weight.
David Hoekman, the managing editor of Group Tour Media, lives in Holland, Mich. He now knows how to eat crawfish.
Tell us what you think or offer your culinary group travel suggestions to the editor.
Mail: 2465 112th Ave.
Holland, MI 49424
Fax: (616) 393-0085
Phone: 1-800-767-3489 between 8am - 5pm, EST.
There are many more culinary-themed group travel articles available in our Group Tour Media article archive.
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