Monday, January 31, 2011

Mardi Gras in Shreveport

Bossier’s local eateries have a story, a flavor and a person with a passion for what they do. Columbia Café is different in an extraordinary way.

Located in the heart of the Highland neighborhood and nestled between Centenary College and Byrd High School in Shreveport, Columbia Café is a quaint little bistro that has more than just incredible food. The 1930’s craftsman bungalow has a history that was brought back to life when owner and creative developer, Matthew Linn purchased and restored it. Each room has a story from the copper-ceiling sunroom to the hidden private dining room.

The atmosphere is comfortable, like coming home after being away for a while, if your home were equipped with a fully-stocked wine wall and incredible artwork from all your most creative and artistic friends. The eclectic collection of antique furniture mixed with unique details, like a mosaic wall that took months to complete, make Columbia Café one of the most distinctive dining venues in the area.

Consistent with the atmosphere, the culinary experience is gratifyingly delicious. Combining southern flair with a gourmet spin, the cuisine will please any palate. The chef likes to experiment so the menu changes weekly, if not daily sometimes.

And what would a café be without a cup of savory robust coffee? Matthew is an expert when it comes to the java bean. He actually roasts his own coffee beans next door to the restaurant. His care and expertise in this arena makes having a cup of coffee more of a glorious caffeinated experience. Matthew is also a culinary connoisseur, and understanding how food affects the body is a specialty of his.

True to his passion for the Highland neighborhood, Matthew founded the Krewe of Highland. In its 18th year, the Highland Parade is one of Louisiana’s largest family-oriented parades. When asked why he decided to start his own Mardi Gras krewe and parade, Matthew said it was because he loves New Orleans, and he wanted to experience it in his own neighborhood. “This parade is a fun, friendly way to bring people out of their houses,” he said.

The Krewe of Highland Parade is scheduled for Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m. For more information about all Mardi Gras parades and events go to ( For a Columbia Café menu, click here (

Did you know?
A traditional Mardi Gras dish, grits and griots is a savory combination of pork, fat and grits – an effective hangover cure. “It allows alcohol to bypass being processed through the liver, allowing you to consume more alcohol if eaten prior to drinking and curing the after effects of intoxication,” Matthew said.

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