Friday, September 25, 2009

We Don't Need No Stinking Lobsters

Today is my last day in Lafayette, Louisiana, a comfortable, charming small town full of pleasant, courteous people and fantastic food. If I lived here, I’d weigh 600 pounds.

The city is pretty much the Cajun capital of Louisiana. Many of the people speak with a pronounced French accent. Public buildings are often labeled in French and English, and street signs alternate between English with a small French sub-label and French with a small English sub-label.

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Lots of interesting older buildings have been renovated, giving the older sections of the city a hip, funky appeal.

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Music is readily available, but it’s usually traditional Cajun or contemporary Zydeco, both of which make heavy use of the accordion. If you don’t like the accordion, it can wear on you.

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But the food is the real draw here, especially seafood (which includes freshwater delicacies such as catfish, crawfish and alligator). Unlike Florida, most of the restaurants are unique family establishments. Sure, they have chain restaurants like Olive Garden and fast-food franchises like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, but those are concentrated around the university area. Downtown, it’s a different story.

Cajuns take pride in their seafood dishes. One resident told me that Red Lobster tried to open a restaurant here, which quickly failed. “Who would eat that mess?” he asked.

Cajun food is simple, but delicious and always expertly prepared. Rich Gumbo soups, shrimp and crawfish etouffe, rice stuffing, fried oysters (my favorite), and much more.

Tonight is my last night here. It’s going to be difficult returning to Florida, where unique, interesting restaurants are almost extinct, and people willingly eat at Red Lobster.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your Louisana travelog - N