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Fuel for the Soul 

It's been crazy," Adrienne Wilkerson says, summing up the growth of her family's Abita Bar-B-Q during its eight years in business on the Northshore. "We went from being just a little bitty pit stop in a gas station to being an actual restaurant."

There are plenty of reasons to explain the popularity of Abita Bar-B-Q (69399 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs, 985-892-0205), starting with the pecan wood used to fire the smoker. From the smoker comes pork ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, boudin and even hamburgers. The housemade barbecue sauce is thin and sweet.

Traditional barbecue sides fill out the menu, including potato salad, green beans, baked beans and, according to Wilkerson, the ever-popular macaroni and cheese. The kitchen also bakes a corn muffin, and for dessert there's a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting. There's also a daily special, including Monday's red beans and rice and Tuesday's cabbage.

"People come in all week asking about the cabbage -- it's really popular" and is stewed in seasoned meat and onions, Wilkerson says.

Her mother, Frida Wilkerson, opened the restaurant in 1998 after spending 20 years in the insurance business. Frida was looking for something new after an unfulfilling job, and barbecue runs in this family's bloodline. Adrienne's grandfather, Jimmy Lemoine, is the owner of Canal Barbecue in Thibodaux.

"Mom was sick and tired, tired and sick of working too much for not enough money," Adrienne half-jokes about her mom's decision to enter the notoriously tough and stressful restaurant business. "But we love to eat. We love to cook. We love doing this."

Jumping On Air

Space Walk Inflatables (800-622-6027; www.herecomesfun.com) recently moved its headquarters back to Louisiana from the Orlando, Fla., location it moved to in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The company owns and operates a network of 175 locations that rent out inflatable amusements. The Space Walk location in Kenner has more than 40,000 square feet and is the largest commissary for manufacturing and servicing inflatables in the country. There also are more than a dozen rental outlets in the metropolitan area.

click to enlarge You'll never leave Abita Bar-B-Q hungry if you dig into ribs, - sausage and side items such as cole slaw, corn on the cob - and corn muffins.
  • You'll never leave Abita Bar-B-Q hungry if you dig into ribs, sausage and side items such as cole slaw, corn on the cob and corn muffins.
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