Louisiana Rambles

Exploring America’s Cajun and Creole Heartland

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Alight Christmas: Bonfires Beckon in St. James Parish

Posted December 20, 2012

Christmas Eve bonfires along the Mississippi River represent deep tradition for some Louisiana families, though for others making the trip to experience this amazing spectacle can be tricky. Family obligations and other traditions on Christmas Eve might preclude a road trip, even a short one. But it’s worth the effort, and with just a little advance planning — to put the in-laws on notice perhaps, or to organize a group for the outing — it can turn into an unforgettable part of your holiday.

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Rallying – and Dancing – Around the Blackpot in Lafayette

Posted October 24, 2012

There is a lot coming up for New Orleans this weekend, but the prospect of excellent, competition-driven Cajun cooking is on the burner too, and that’s often enough to inspire a quick road trip all on its own. My last post was about the French Food Festival this weekend in Larose, while today I’m highlighting a delicious, fun, just absolute sweetheart of a festival in Lafayette: the South Louisiana Blackpot Festival & Cookoff.

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Cajun Pride at the French Food Festival

Posted October 23, 2012

There are plenty of high profile cooking contests out there these days, all over cable TV in particular. They have celebrity chefs, celebrity judges, fancy, gleaming kitchen sets and over-the-top cooking challenges. But I’ve always found that when it comes to really good, truly inspirational competitive cooking, you can’t beat a Louisiana festival where local families break out their own treasured recipes. Two examples are coming up this weekend in south Louisiana. And, even though this is a busy time in New Orleans, the allure of the eats that each offers should be enough to tempt a quick road trip. I’ll highlight one today, and the second tomorrow.

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Celebrating the Crawfish in Breaux Bridge

Posted May 1, 2012

The crawfish are pouring out of Cajun country in a torrent at this time of year. It’s an incredible – and very specifically Louisiana – harvest, and naturally Louisiana greets it with a harvest festival. As always, the first weekend in May means it’s time for the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.

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Festival International: When Playing Second Fiddle Is a Blessing

Posted April 26, 2012

It’s an extremely busy time for festivals around south Louisiana. While Jazz Fest in New Orleans tends to suck most of the oxygen from the room due to its sheer size, rich history and general awesomeness, the Festival International de Louisiane two hours down the highway in Lafayette is an increasingly appealing draw as well.

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Alight Christmas: Bonfires Beckon in St. James Parish

Posted December 16, 2011

Christmas Eve bonfires along the Mississippi River represent deep tradition for some Louisiana families, though for others making the trip to experience this amazing spectacle can be tricky. Family obligations and other traditions on Christmas Eve might preclude a road trip, even a short one. But it’s worth the effort, and with just a little advance planning — to put the in-laws on notice perhaps, or to organize a group for the outing — it can turn into an unforgettable part of your holiday.

Continued…

Of Oysters and Omelets in Eminently Edible Abbeville

Posted November 3, 2011

I’ve racked up a lot of miles in search of iconic Louisiana food, and while I don’t regret a bite of it, in the future when I need a concentrated dose of our distinctive local flavor I might just drive straight to Abbeville, a place I’ve come to love as one of the great eating towns of Acadiana. You’ll find Abbeville at the end of a two-hour road trip west from New Orleans, about 20 miles south of Lafayette along the Vermilion River, surrounded by cane fields, cattle ranches and fishing villages. With a population of about 12,000 people, it’s a small town with an historic core and an outsized culinary personality, one that will be in full bloom next weekend, Nov. 5 and 6, with oysters, omelets and more.

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Heritage by the Link at the Andouille Festival

Posted October 14, 2011

There is noting remotely seasonal about andouille sausage. But there is no denying that the urge for andouille goes through the roof at this time of year, as summer weather slackens and the first whiff of Louisiana’s fall and winter weather hangs in the air.

The capital for andouille is LaPlace, and it’s no coincidence that this time of year, with the seasons change, is when this riverside town hosts its annual Andouille Festival, which happens Oct. 14th through 16th.

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Watching Louisiana Culture Bubble Over at Festivals Acadiens et Creoles

Posted October 13, 2011

The intergenerational transfer of Cajun culture happens on hunting trips and at fishing camps, in kitchens and campsites, at music jams, in horse stables, during Mardi Gras and at family gatherings, from weddings to funerals. That’s where the deep fermentation happens. But for the traveler, a good south Louisiana festival is a chance to experience the contemporary culture firsthand, to participate in the celebration and to watch it all bubble over the top.

I am an unabashed fan of Cajun country festivals, and a great showpiece of what they’re all about is coming around this weekend with the Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. It happens Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 16 in Girard Park, right in the heart of Lafayette and it’s free.

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Festival International: When Playing Second Fiddle Is a Blessing

Posted April 29, 2011

It’s an extremely busy time for festivals around south Louisiana. While Jazz Fest in New Orleans tends to suck in most of the oxygen in the room due to its sheer size, rich history and general awesomeness, the Festival International de Louisiane two hours down the highway in Lafayette is an increasingly appealing draw as well.

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