TRAVEL BUG TALES: CRAWDADS AND ACADIANS
“This is the forest primeval,” is the beginning phrase of Longfellow’s poem, Evangeline. It’s a fictional story of love lost and then found too late. It’s also about political injustice, because French settlers of Canada, called Acadians, were deported by the British, just for being Catholics. In the story, Evangeline is among the deportees who were sent to Louisiana – hence Evangeline Parish. Let’s go visit.
Traveling Evangeline Country
Though I can’t remember all the logistics between Dallas and Evangeline Country, I do remember being sick and tired of riding in the back seat on a sticky August afternoon. We had Aunt Edie with us, which was fun, but I’m guessing we hit the road around 4 AM. By late afternoon I’m sure I was second guessing my decision to go on this family vacation.
We piled out of the car at a Mardi Gras museum, but I’m not sure where it was. They were very proud of the fact that they’d been doing Mardi Gras a lot longer than New Orleans. The museum was full of beautiful costumes, but the best part was the air conditioning! There was also a lot of material about Acadian history. They were very interested in visitors understanding that while outsiders may think the terms Cajun and Creole are interchangeable, Cajuns and Creoles don’t. Cajuns descended from the Acadians. Creoles are descended from the French mixing with various other races, especially around New Orleans. Creoles probably thought Cajuns were hicks, while Cajuns claimed a purer racial lineage, which was much more important back in the 70’s than it is today.
Ça C’est Bon
Regardless of their racial heritage, Cajuns know how to eat. That evening we ate the local cuisine. Mom had done her research and we had dinner at what was supposed to be THE place to eat crawfish. I keep thinking the name of it was Anderson’s, but don’t hold me to that.
Wherever it was, it was a great, big barn-like place. The menu offered crawfish this, crawfish that and crawfish whatever else. I was a little squeamish about sucking heads, but the rest of it sounded pretty good to me. I’m sure I got some sort of combo plate so I could try it more than one way. I’m also pretty sure that everyone else chose more traditional seafood choices, like fried shrimp and then sampled my entrees. I’ve always been a little more food adventurous than the rest of my family.
We probably spent the night at a Holiday Inn. That’s where we usually stayed. The next day we moved on to New Orleans.