This Saturday in Houma's Courthouse Square, over 30 teams will prepare their best gumbo dishes to compete for cash prizes, as South Louisiana Veteran Outreach (SLVO) will host the first annual “Help Our Heroes" Gumbo Cookoff, an exciting event that will also benefit local veterans.

Attendees will be able to enjoy all-you-eat gumbo at the event opening to the public at noon.

The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The participating cooks have a chance to win first, second or third place, with cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $300, respectively. A People’s Choice Award will be given out as well.

Four-man gumbo teams can register ahead by emailing slveteranoutreach@gmail.com, or they can register the morning of the event. Registration is $125 per team.

In addition to the boatload of gumbo at the event, there will also be live music performed by bands Sheauxdown and SideFX.

Kids will have plenty of entertainment, too, with an obstacle course, face painting and balloon animals, all included with the child’s $5 entry fee.

Event-goers can enter the $5 raffle for a chance to win Saints, Audubon Zoo and Steamboat Natchez tickets and a dual pot burner and Rtic 65 Cooler, among other items, and the $1 raffle for gift cards from various places and other items. Over 25 prizes will be awarded during both raffle drawings combined.  

The cook-off will also have representatives from local entities, such as Nicholls State University, Fletcher Technical Community College, the Houma VA Clinic and Synergy Bank, present to provide valuable information to veterans and their families.

“So not only can you get out there and eat some great gumbo, but you can also get some good information that can benefit veterans,” SLVO President Brok Torbert said. “All proceeds will be going strictly to veterans, too.”

This is the first official fundraiser for SLVO, which started over the summer following the suicide of a local veteran.

“We figured that we needed to start something to where we can bring awareness to the community on the struggles veterans face when getting out of the service,” Torbert said. “A lot of veterans don't even know what type of treatment that they can get or that they have it provided to them because they're veterans.”

Torbert said the organization wanted to start a communication platform for veterans through social media. The network grew from there, with veterans being helped with finding jobs and acquiring healthcare to local doctors and dentists giving free visits to veterans, Torbert said.

The money raised by the nonprofit will go to the organization’s donations to the Fletcher Veterans Resource Center and funding SLVO’s various programs that will help veterans. SLVO will also be launching a campaign to sponsor veteran families for Christmas next month.

More information on South Louisiana Veteran Outreach, such as how to donate to the organization, can be found here.  

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