As March Madness Rolls, New Orleans Tracks Its Own Red Beans Brackets

The humble dish doesn't normally turn heads, but now red beans have inspired their own craze, thanks to a month-long citywide food competition styled after the college basketball tournament.
For the Bean Madness competition, decisions on this classic dish can turn on preferences set long ago by family tradition, house style and even generational differences. Source: sandoclr

Gumbo is the most famous New Orleans dish. Po-boys get plenty of press and king cake is now a seasonal sensation, splayed across social media for all the hungry world to crave around Mardi Gras time in The Big Easy.

But red beans and rice? That gets into a homier appeal in New Orleans.

The dish doesn't normally turn heads, but it has worked its way into the city's rhythms

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
'Theodore Roosevelt For The Defense' Makes A Libel Case Into Gripping Reading
Gifted writers Dan Abrams and David Fisher, who previously brought us Lincoln's Last Trial, are clearly fascinated by how Teddy Roosevelt's court case played out — bringing an enthusiasm to readers.
NPR2 min read
South And West Continue Rapid Growth, According To New Population Data
The fastest growing cities are in Arizona, Texas, Washington and North Carolina. Columbus, Ohio, is the only Midwestern city in the top 15 fastest-growing populations.
NPR4 min read
Joel Ross And His (Exceptionally) Good Vibes
The vibraphonist has a "love-hate relationship" with his instrument that has been helpful in perfecting his craft — but it wouldn't mean much without the deep emotional well he pulls from.