New Orleans Veggie Fest Home Humane Society of Louisiana

NOLA Veggie Fest

A Project of the Humane Society of Louisiana

2015 Speakers

2015 Speaker Lineup



DJ DAN DAYOur MC and host – Vegan classic rock DJ, Dan Day, from Baton Rouge’s Eagle 98.1



Contrary to popular belief, vegan cuisine in New Orleans is not a new, trendy, hip, 20-something craze that’s sweeping across the Marigny one transplant at a time. 63 year old New Orleans native, Chef Amina Dada, or ‘Mama Mina’ to her loved ones, was the first chef to open an all vegan restaurant here in the city back in 1983. That was long before many of us could ride a bicycle, let alone brag about our awesome new Forté handle bars. When Chef DaDa moved to San Diego in the 1970’s she discovered the benefits of macrobiotic dieting. After spending 10 years as a vegetarian, Chef DaDa constructed the idea to take New Orleans style cooking and replace the unhealthy ingredients with hearty ones. “I will put my vegan red beans and rice up with anyone I know,” Chef Dada boasts. When she cooks vegan red beans she replaces the pig fat and ears with a cup of peanut butter; when she makes her veggie gumbo she uses seaweed and other sea grown vegetation to imitate the sea-food taste. Early in life, Chef DaDa noticed the unhealthy trends surrounding black communities and the food we eat. So, she decided to come home and do something about it. She is currently working on a DVD that will include some of her recipes. In the mean time catch her cooking at the Center of Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal on Claiborne, where they host monthly community meetings with good meals and good company.


JL-Fields-Cooking-Demo-photo-July-2014-lg-1JL FIELDS

JL Fields is a vegan lifestyle coach & educator, Food for Life instructor, co-creator of Real World Vegan Meal Plans, personal chef, career coach, and a corporate consultant offering wellness training, brand representation, and strategic planning services. She is the author of Vegan Pressure Cooking (Fair Winds Press, January 2015), co-author of Vegan for Her: The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet (Da Capo Lifelong Books, July 2013), contributor to Running, Eating, Thinking: A Vegan Anthology (Lantern Books, May 2014), writes the monthly vegan dining review for the Colorado Springs Gazette and is a food, health and wellness freelance writer. JL is the owner and lead consultant for JL Fields Consulting: Strategic Services for the Nonprofit and Education Sectors and she offers career coaching to people who are ready to re-imagine work and to professionalize their passions. JL serves on the board of directors of Our Hen House.



Chef Inge Bothma is a chef instructor for the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Academy and has continued to work in the culinary field for 8 years. Inge has experienced many facets of the culinary world, from working in restaurants such as Hudson’s on the Bend, Lakeway Spa & Resort and University Of Texas. In 2007, she founded Happy Vegan Baker, a company which continues to thrive through one-on-one service at the local farmer’s markets. While building Happy Vegan Bakery she took a managing position with Seton Family of Hospitals. Working in the kitchen at Seton Northwest, she brought about healthier changes in their menus and developing more plant based options such as Meatless Mondays. Sharing plant based foods with the general public has been the focus on Inge’s culinary career, In addition to her love of food, Inge enjoys traveling, indulging in new experiences and involvement in the local food movement.



Kristin Lajeunesse is founder of and blogger for the award-winning website Will Travel for Vegan Food. In September 2011, the New York native began traveling throughout the US in an effort to eat at and write about every single all-vegan establishment she can find. Eighteen of those early consecutive travel months were spent living out of a renovated sports van affectionately named Gerty. Almost immediately after beginning her journey, Kristin discovered a deep passion for nomadic and unconventional living, and has since chosen to maintain a mobile lifestyle, indefinitely. As of July 2014, Kristin met her goal of visiting and eating in each of the 50 states. A self-employed business and lifestyle strategist, Kristin now works with small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to turn their passions into profitable careers. Kristin is also a founding member of the Vegan Weddings HQ website and the Unabridged Addiction podcast. She has a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College. Follow her travels and business adventures on and



Meagan Simone is a singer, songwriter, artist, vegan chef and poet. A classically trained singer, she studied music at the top-flight music programs of both the University of New Orleans and Virginia State, where she obtained her B.A. in Music and her M.A. in Media Management. Meagan Simone has performed on Showtime at the Apollo, auditioned for American Idol, and most recently won Song of the Year at the 2013 Virginia Reggae Awards for her single Fire, released in November 2013. She is currently a finalist for the 2014 Virginia Reggae Award, in the category of Favorite Artist of The Year.


Co Organizer, March Against Monsanto, New Orleans and Co-Founder, For Dat!

James Stull grew up living on and building small family farms. By age 14 his family had built its third farm, a 40 acre peach orchard in east Texas. After leaving the farm and moving to the suburbs, he became reconnected with his food after learning that his 4 year old son was highly allergic to red dye #40 found in processed foods. He moved back to the country and managed a small sustainable living/spiritual campground in Plant City, Florida until moving to New Orleans in 2010. He was inspired to join the efforts against GMO foods by taking part in the March Against Monsanto. He now co-runs that march twice a year and has co-founded a non-profit called For Dat!, an organization for food advocacy and sustainability and a vehicle to assist other advocacy and social justice groups.


15-before-and-after-Josh-LajaunieJOSHUA DAN LAJAUNIE

An unabashed Who Dat from Bayou Lafourche, Joshua once weighed over 400lbs but he was able to transform his life through running and adopting a plant-based diet. Pictured here competing in the 2014 Crescent City Classic, Joshua will share his inspirational story.



Rebecca Lang started her food journey as one of the founding members, and a volunteer at the first New Orleans’ CO-OP started in the French Quarter. She studied the environment relating to food and decided to start the community gardening program at Mid-City Green Project (now called The Green Project). Mid-City Green was the first group in the city of New Orleans to establish an organic garden in a public school. Following the adventures in community gardens, she spent two years creating a facility so that teachers of the Healing Arts could have a place to give workshops for professional CEUs. In the location – coincidentally called The Healing Arts Center, many years earlier and in Mid-City – a monthly CO-OP was established to support the local community. Rebecca is also a freelance writer, and presents workshops and seminars on food, politics, and anti-consumerism.



As a third generation chef and 20 year culinary veteran, Chef Billy LaCrosse has been featured in Louisiana Better Homes & Gardens, appeared on Telemundo, cooked for many celebrities and has created food for use in American Horror Story. As a child, his biggest inspiration was his Mamaw, her garden and her wonderful home cooking. He was also a huge fan of Yan Can Cook. At about the age of 10, he realized that he was becoming interested in cooking when he began to constantly try and outshine his big sister in the kitchen. Over the years, he honed his skills in Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisine at several restaurants in New Orleans and Atlanta. During Chef Billy LaCrosse’s 8 years as Head Chef at Vincent’s Italian Cuisine on St.Charles, he received accolades from Gambit, Where Y’at & Times Picayune 8 years in a row and even a standing ovation! He is known for his amazing spice blends, gourmet infused oils & hot sauces. He is currently enjoying his time at Bacchanal, while working on his latest project – a backyard pop up dinner, coming this summer!



Master King Lam has studied the martial arts for more than 40 years. He has studied the arts of Shotokan Karate, Chinese Kenpo Karate, Yang and Chen style Tai Chi Chuan, the Filipino art of Kali and Japanese Jujitsu. He has the rank of 8th degree Shotokan Karate black belt. His quest for knowledge has taken him to study in Tokyo, Japan, Beijing, China, Taipei, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippine Islands. He is the director of the New Orleans Chapter of the U.S.A. Chen Tai Chi Federation. Member of the National Qi Gong Association. Master King Lam is a retired 30-year professional social studies teacher who taught at McMain High School in New Orleans and a member of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. He has conducted Martial Arts classes and seminars at the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Loyola University, Food and Drug Administration, Shell Oil, Chevron, Freeport McMoran, Magnolia School, New Orleans Center of Creative Arts, Strike Force Security Systems and throughout the United States. Master King Lam is a national and international judge & competitor in Tai Chi and Karate competitions. In July 2006, he won 5 gold medals in the Chin Woo Taiji Legacy tournament. In August, 2007 he won a Silver medal in Chen style forms and a Bronze medal in Chen style weapons at the 4th International Tai Chi Exchange in Jiaozuo, China.



At an early age, Yuri’s grandmother showed him that it was important to support animal welfare and environmental issues. It was through her interests that he came to know his other main influence, Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Watson’s work showed him that animal welfare/rights were issues to which people needed to dedicate their lives. Yuri first began helping animals by simply donating to groups as his grandmother had done; then, in 1998, he began volunteering, canvassing for Greenpeace and taking part in civil disobedience actions by groups like Rainforest Action Network. Eventually he decided to support animal causes primarily. At the FARM animal rights conference in 2008, his eyes were opened to the many horrors of factory farming, and he went forever vegan – then and there. It was two years later at the same conference that he decided the most effective means to addressing the issue was direct advocacy. Now, as Southeast Regional Coordinator of Vegan Outreach, Yuri says of what inspires him: “Every time I get out and can get any single person to seriously consider going vegan is, for me, as positive as it gets. Every time I see a person stop what they are doing and read a leaflet – that is the reason I keep doing this, and will continue.”


Other special guests to be announced!