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The Bilingual Palate Francophones may wince when they hear a New Orleanian pronounce Chartres or meuniere, but the impact of French culture nonetheless runs deep in its former colony. Each year, Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans (or the Bilingual School of New Orleans) turns out another class of local students proficient in the language, and each year the school invites the public to its Fête Francaise, a celebration and fundraiser featuring food from an array of restaurants with a French connection. This year's Fête will include dishes from Lilette , La Crépe Nanou , La Provence , La Boulangerie , Herbsaint , Cochon , Galatoire's , Café Degas , Martinique Bistro , St. James Cheese Co. and Jamilla's , among others, plus wine, champagne, beer and cocktails. The event includes a lineup of music, children's activities and auctions. Proceeds will help fund a planned move to a larger campus and the school's scholarship program. The party is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the school's campus (938 Calhoun St.), adjacent to Audubon Park. Admission is free. Visit for more information. Battling Bourbons If you pick a fight with a bottle of bourbon, the bottle is almost certain to win. But what happens when two bourbon cocktails go toe-to-toe against each other? That's what members of the New Orleans Bourbon Society , or NOBS, will find out Thursday, March 6, when the group hosts what it has dubbed the "New vs. Old Bourbon Cocktail Party" at the Bourbon House (144 Bourbon St., 522-0111; Classic bourbon cocktails like the sidecar, old fashioned and mint julep will be served alongside newfangled bourbon drinks with names like the streetcar, the new fashioned and the blue grass sunset for comparison. NOBS was formed to help promote bourbon appreciation, and membership is open to anyone interested in attending its events. Tickets for this week's party cost $30 and include all drinks and an assortment of food from the Bourbon House kitchen. The event is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Call 274-1831 for reservations. Cupcake Connection A new bakery has opened in Kenner specializing in gourmet cupcakes. The Kupcake Factory (910 West Esplanade Ave. , Kenner, 464-8884; produces a selection of up to 12 different cupcakes daily, using ingredients like fresh fruit and Belgian chocolate. It also has a "cupcake bar" for patrons to make their own custom creations. The Kupcake Factory also serves gelato. — McNulty

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