BATON ROUGE – Louisiana native and LSU graduate Scott Bellina’s blood runs deep with purple and gold, and hot sauce.
“I come from a lineage of hardworking and persevering immigrant farmers, humble grocers, and determined hot sauce makers,” Bellina said. “My grandfather, Roger Baumer, was plant manager and brother to Baumer Foods founder Alvin Baumer. Together they laid the groundwork for turning Crystal, Louisiana’s Pure Hot Sauce, into the empire it is today. The pungent fumes of cayenne emanating from the old plant location on Tulane Avenue overwhelmed my senses as a kid and, gratefully, still pervade. My Great Uncle Alvin started Baumer Foods in his basement in 1923, where he made jellies and preserves while my grandfather Roger went on the road to sell it. They added hot sauce several years later once it started to become popular.
Now, Bellina is sharing his own Louisiana flavors with the nation. Bellina, who was born in New Orleans, founded a branding and design agency, and a hot sauce company from his home in New York City
“My journey through handcrafting hot sauce is rooted in a genuine and unquenchable craving for spicy food, and how it can be presented to others. I’ve been very lucky to have lived in two vibrant cities, known for their mashups of cultures and cuisines. Bayou Gotham Hot Sauce Brand came out of my knack for creating ways to get back to my Louisiana roots, literally and figuratively, while demonstrating the pride I have for my adopted home of New York City. My goal is to share these sauces, and thereby cultures, by offering people a small taste of what’s so far been a zest-filled life,” Bellina said.
Bellina has been a Tiger fan since he was a little boy.
“My parents met while attending LSU, but I became a Tiger on the night of Nov. 20, 1982, just four days before my seventh birthday. My dad took me to Tiger Stadium to watch LSU route Florida State — winning a bid to the Orange Bowl. I’ll never forget the blanket of fog rolling into Tiger Stadium in the fourth quarter, nor the moment when the Tigers got penalized 15 yards for oranges on the field. I was lucky that LSU would build a top-notch graphic design curriculum by the 1990s because I was headed to Baton Rouge regardless of my major,” Bellina said.
In addition to a major in graphic design, Bellina also minored in marketing.
“I graduated from LSU in the middle of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. This was an extraordinary time to enter the workforce, and the traditional graphic design skillset I was taught at LSU helped me stand out amongst a swell of talent coming out of ‘new media’ vocational schools, which were more focused on programming over design,” Bellina said. “This mastery of traditional design allowed me to bypass junior-level design positions. I was offered my first job, as an art director, during the Dallas Society of Visual Communication Job Fair — while I was still a senior at LSU. Within two-and-a-half years, I was sent to London, UK, to serve as creative director for a newly acquired office at the international web design agency that I was working for at the time.”
Since then, he founded BCBD in 2009.
“I honed my craft as lead creative in top agencies located in New Orleans, Dallas, London, and New York City — providing award-winning creative for clients such as Nike, Adidas, Cosmopolitan, Showtime, BBC Worldwide, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, the National Hockey League, IFC, eMusic.com, Fuse, Samsung, and the New York Yankees,” Bellina said.
But his Louisiana roots called him to joining the family hot sauce business.
“You can take the boy out of the bayou, but you can’t take the bayou out of the boy. I have a lot of pride in my LSU experience and my Louisiana upbringing. It’s a huge part of my identity, and it resonates on many levels with all those create connections with. In early 2019, I set out on a new creative journey that is a culmination of my LSU education, my LSU relationships, and my Louisiana heritage. After 20 years of launching and maintaining countless brands and products for my design clientele, I’ve created a brand of my own, Bayou Gotham Hot Sauces, showcasing my deep passion for Creole cooking, the global flavors of New York City, and my Louisiana hot sauce legacy,” Bellina said.
Bellina is still active in the LSU alumni community.
“I am also grateful for the thriving LSU alumni chapter in New York City. Saturday night LSU football games at Legend’s Bar in Midtown Manhattan is an atmosphere only rivaled by actually being in Tiger Stadium. We’ve had many memorable moments and have been featured on ESPN. The annual crawfish boils are a hot ticket each year — envied and often attended by New Yorkers that are alumni from other SEC schools. I’ve even got to meet a few LSU star alumni playing for the New York Giants,” Bellina said. “LSU has so much to offer. The more you put into your involvement with LSU, the more it gives back — education, career, relationships, and events. It will provide you with a solid foundation — with roots made of oak which will allow you to grow and prosper. It’s a magical place to be, especially in the fall, and there’s no place quite like it on a Saturday night.”
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