Sunday, January 5, 2014

Doesn't Everybody Go Out For Cajun Music on Saturday Morning at 7 AM?

That's what we did Saturday morning.  I had to set the alarm as I'm out of practice getting up at 6.  Of course, I've not lost my innate ability to wake up two or three times during the night to see if it's time for the alarm!  Geesh!

A group of us left Betty's right at 7 for the 80 minute drive northwest to Mamou (that's Maaa- Moo).  Louisiana is a maze of state and county roads; there aren't a lot of freeways like we're used to around larger cities.  It's fun to drive drive through Cajun Country; it's almost a little like being outside the US - and I don't mean that in any negative sense.  The Acadian - Cajun culture is alive and well.

Our first stop for this outing was Fred's Lounge in Mamou

We'd been advised that if you want to find a seat you have to get there by about 8:30.  The Cajun Radio Show (KVPI 1050AM) begins promptly at 9

 The band members play:  fiddle, accordion, two guitars, drums.  Here they are warming up
 The radio announcer is a young Cajun lady who makes all 
the announcements in Cajun French
The band got started right on time.  It's absolutely impossible to resist 
tapping your foot when that sound comes up.  And, the audience dances a kind of 
Cajun two-step. When they very first started to play this gentleman, Jack, asked me to dance - Yikes, I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do.  But, it was fun and he came back about four times, so I guess I didn't annihilate his toes too badly!
We kind of had to spread out so this is just part of the group - L to R:
Jay and Vicki (Washington state), Sharon and Wayne (Iowa).  Wayne's to the right of Sharon in the cowboy hat.  Next to Wayne is Doe-Doe, forgive my spelling (Kalispell, Montana) and in front of the table are Bobbi and Jim
 Here's Vicki dancing with a gentleman (88-years young with his VFW hat on) who 
walked in using a cane, so Jay gave him his seat; and what did the guy do?  He asked Jay's wife,
Vicki, to dance with him!  No cane!!
 Well, Vicki thought that was fun so she got Jay to dance the next one with her
 Sharon and Wane weren't going to be left out, so they
'cut the rug' with an Iowa version of the Cajun Two Step
 This little lady is Fred's widow.  Her name is Tante (French for "aunt") Sue.
She is alive and well, all made up and ready to be the hostess with the most-est
She has  a Guest Book and she carries it all around the place to make sure that 
every single person signs it.
Jay di get into it and let us know how they do it in Washington
Here's most of the group - except the drummer.  And, the announcer is just 
waiting for the set to end - to do a commercial and make announcements
 There were several biker dudes that rode on in on some heavy duty motorcycles - all
togged out in biker duds - to the hilt
Here's Wayne doing a little solo - he's an auctioneer in Iowa and 
we've had an opportunity or two to hear his auctioneer jargon

Well, we were sorry to leave but there was more to see; we left Fred's and stopped 
at Charlie's Meat Market for their special "boudin" (that's pronounced: BOO' DAn -in French).
Boudin describes a number of different types of sausage in French, Belgian, German, Québec, Acadian, Creole, Austrian and Cajun cuisine.  The main type in Cajun country of Louisiana, I understand, is Boudin Blanc (white sausage).  There are as many variations as there are Cajun cooks, I suspect.
In doing a little online research, out of about 200 contestants, I found that Charlie's Meat Market's boudin is rated "A" which is VERY GOOD.
Meat counter - click on photo to enlarge
Cracklins (fried pork skins) - often served with boudin
How about some pickled quail eggs to go with?
And, for other recipes, how about some roux for the gravy/sauce?
The seasoning section of the market - salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and seasoned salt - that's all they sell and it's all you need!
From the market we drove to Lake Front RV Park, in Eunice, where Jay and Vicki have moved, to check it out and have lunch.
Here are Sharon, Wayne and Ray (in foreground) devouring their boudin and cracklins
This is serious eating!

We didn't want to waste any 'Cajun music time' so we headed over to the Savoy Music Center

Savoy Music Center is owned by Marc Savoy (pronounced SAA-VWA)
They have a Cajun music jam session every Saturday morning where the old timer greats of Cajun music jam and invite newcomers to join in.  Cajun music is alive and well.  Check out the younger jam participants.  The jam session is not for criticism but for encouragement for young musicians a regular opportunity to practice and play with the greats.
I counted 19 participants in this session.  The fiddler in the navy blue and white shirt on the left of the photo is Fred LaFleur, one of the original members
Here's another old-timers.  I didn't get his name but I heard him mention that he's 99 years young!
This young piano player has been blind since birth but is a virtuoso of Cajun piano playing

There was a gentleman and his son sitting behind me.  The 7-year old was keeping time to every piece on his triangle.  I turned around and asked his father, "Can he go up and jam with the group?"  His father suggested it to the boy and away he went.  He stayed up there with the group the entire time we were there.  I mentioned to his dad that he sure did have the Cajun music bug and his dad said his son had received an accordion for Christmas, but that his real love is drums.
Here's the little guy with next to a talented teenaged accordionist and behind Fred LaFleur, fiddler.
What concentration!  And he didn't miss a beat!

What a wonderful experience we had.  It was truly what I'm looking for on this North American adventure - learning about these magnificent places we call HOME.

Later in the day, at happy hour, a group of us got into a discussion of the word CREOLE.
Here's what I found in the dictionary
Cre·ole  (krl) noun

1. A person of European descent born in the West Indies or Spanish America.
a. A person descended from or culturally related to the original French settlers of the southern United States, especially Louisiana.
b. The French dialect spoken by these people.
3. A person descended from or culturally related to the Spanish and Portuguese settlers of the Gulf States.
4. often creole A person of mixed Black and European ancestry who speaks a creolized language, especially one based on French or Spanish.
5. A Black slave born in the Americas as opposed to one brought from Africa.
6. creole A creolized language.
7. Haitian Creole.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Creoles.
2. creole Cooked with a spicy sauce containing tomatoes, onions, and peppers: shrimp creole; creole cuisine.

[French créole, from Spanish criolloperson native to a locality, from Portuguese crioulo, diminutive of criaperson raised in the house, especially a servant, from criarto bring up, from Latin crereto beget; see ker-2 in Indo-European roots.]

That's all for now y'all!


  1. Great pics and post!! You look like a movie star in your dancing photo!! We are looking forward to getting to Betty's. Maybe you will still be there in a month or so!!

  2. Hi Guys:
    I'm paid until February 1st but haven't made any plans beyond that. I do want to see Mississippi, Alabama and Florida before heading north through Georgia and especially to the Carolinas. Be sure you make a reservation at Betty's as this lace is VERY popular. There's also a nice RV park in Eunice northwest of here. From the post photos: Vicki and Jay are there now and will be there until I think the end of March. Also, Wayne and Sharon (in photos also) will go there on February 1st. It's very near the places we visited yesterday. It's Lake View RV park and it's on a lake. Pretty nice too. Are you having a ball?

  3. Would love to do a music tour in Cajon country with Dan. He's a bass guitarist with country roots. Would definitely like to get there in cooler weather so we can 2 step without too much sweating. Looks like so much fun.

  4. I think you'd love it. I hadn't danced in ages and the gentleman, Jack, asked me for the first number of the day - boy, was I rusty. It's really cooler weather (by our standards) right now. It got down to 24F last night and is only about 34F right now!

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    What fun you are having! Good for you!

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