Cajun Mardi Gras

We left Grand Isle and headed to a Harvest Host Brewery – Bayou Teche.  We love Harvest Hosts for a lot of reasons, but one is the opportunity to meet people who live in various areas.  Bayou Teche was no exception.  As soon we pulled in the parking lot, we met a guy named Guy.  He invited us to join his team for Song Trivia and boy are we glad we did!

Our home for the night – Bayou Teche Brewery

Guy and his wife Lainey and their friends couldn’t have been more welcoming.  We had a blast hanging out with them and getting to know them.

Song Trivia champions!

They even invited us to a crawfish boil the next day with their family.  Lainey’s dad is a crawfisherman so we got spoiled by the amazing crawfish he prepared for us.  They were huge and delicious!  We had a lot of fun with our new friends and their family.  We learned that household staples in this part of the country include crawfish trays and Magnalite pots.  Also, the crawfish were served with a saucepan! 

The fisherman and the cook! Notice the serving trays and Magnalite pot on the table.

When we were in New Orleans we learned about Traditional or Cajun Mardi Gras.  Anthony Bourdain has an episode on it, so we promptly went home and watched it.  After seeing and hearing about it we decided we definitely wanted to check that out!  We asked our new friends and they told us the three places where they still have Cajun Mardi Gras (Mamou, Church Point and Eunice).  Although we had planned on staying a week at Acadiana Park Campground, we decided to leave after one day and head to Eunice, LA to check out Cajun Mardi Gras.  Boy are we glad we did!

In a traditional Mardi Gras celebration (Courir de Mardi Gras), you dress up in crazy costumes and go around town all day entertaining your hosts in hopes of them giving you an ingredient for a community gumbo at the end of the day.  The highlight being a chicken.  Throughout the day there are chicken runs where a chicken is thrown into a field and all of the inebriated paraders run after it and try to catch it.  We went to the water tower in Eunice around 10am and were able to witness this.  It was quite the spectacle!  After several hours parading through the area, the crew parades down main street that afternoon where there is a stage set up and bands play all day.  It was a community-wide, day-long party!

This area of the country has been blowing our minds.  It really is unlike anywhere else in the United States we have ever visited.  There are crazy things at the grocery store, interesting foods, another language and so many cultural things we have never seen before.  There are alligator bites for sale in the grocery store, MSG by the bottle, a Cajun Aisle and a Zatarain’s Aisle.  We ate gumbo, etouffe and sauce piquante.  We heard more French than we have since visiting France – it was incredible!

As far as campgrounds, we really wouldn’t recommend either of the campgrounds we stayed in during the first part of our Lafayette area visit.  Acadiana Park was ok, but one night was plenty.  L’Acadie was probably our least favorite campground we have visited yet.  It was close to everything we wanted to see in Eunice and that’s why we picked it, but we definitely wouldn’t go back.

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