Oct 21, 2009

Festivals Acadiens et Créoles 2009

We use anything and everything as an excuse to have a festival.

Just a few...alligator, andouille, antiques, art, bayous, boudin, buggies, blues, Cajun music, catfish, cotton, couchon de lait, cracklin, crawfish, Creole music, Creole tomatoes, duck, French Quarter, frog, Germanfest, gumbo, heritage (numerous ones), hot sauce, jambalaya, jazz, Mardi Gras, meatpies, mirliton, orange, oyster, pecan, peppers, prison rodeo, rabbit, rice, seafood, shrimp, shrimp and petroluem, smoked meat, strawberries, sugarcane, swamp pop, swine, turtle, voodoo, wetlands, yambilee, Zydeco

One of our favorites is based on music, food, and crafts: Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Lafayette, LA. This festival has been in existence since the mid 70s, starting as a 3 hour concert to honor Cajun music. The festival has grown/morphed each year. I'm not big on crafty things, but I enjoy the Bayou Food Festival component as well as the packed schedule of music. People come from all over for this festival. A few groups we met came from: Daytona Beach, St. Louis, Chicago, somewhere in Texas, somewhere in France, Fayetteville, AR (you know who you are you barefoot-dancin'-in-the-mud fool).

I'll start with the food since this is supposed to be a food blog, afterall. The night before we planned to go to the festival, I sat down to look at the schedule. Ok, ok. So I really sat down to look at what the food vendors would be selling...the "menu." The Boy decided to look over the menu with me. He said, "Oooo...frog legs! I want that. Alligator on a stick! I'll have that too. Softshell crab. I'd like to try that. Etouffee too! Oh, and beignets!" And he sat there for close to 20 minutes studying the list of food and telling me what he wanted. By the time he was finished, I calculated that we'd spend 35 bucks for one day, for one child, not including drinks. Not gonna happen. We shared three dishes between us (plus coffee, drinks, and a few small snacks like sno balls).

Softshell Crab Po'boys from A La Cart (Lafayette, LA): My dad loves softshell crabs; I've never been brave enough to try them. This year I did, mainly because The Boy wanted too. It's so funny to me that a toddler who would only eat plain pasta and grilled meat has turned into this child who is willing to try anything...the weirder the better. The softshell crab was ok. I thought the fact that it sat wrapped and in the bun took away from it, but this is festival food and not a 5 star dining experience.

Alligator Po'boy from Lagneaux's Restaurant (Lafayette, LA): this was my favorite and The Boy's favorite too. The alligator was seasoned well and was tender, which is sometimes not the case with alligator. And they also offered homemade tartar sauce rather then a packaged one. My only complaint was that, like the Crab Po'Boy, a regular old hot dog bun was used. That ain't Po'Boy material, people!

Seafood Jambalaya also from Lagneaux's: The Husband thought this was the best of the three we tried. It was flavorful/spicy and had lots of shrimp.

On to the music...

I had to work on Saturday, so The Husband and The Boy, the dirty rats that they are, went to Festivals without me. I spent the entire day there on Sunday though.

The first band we saw was Briggs Brown and the Bayou Cajuns. Briggs is a talented young musician from our area who plays accordion. His dad, Greg, is on bass, and his sister, Megan, plays guitar and sings with the band. Travis Benoit, another talented young musician, plays fiddle for the band, while his dad, Ray Thibodeaux, plays drums. Homer Lejeune is also a band member. Both Travis and Briggs have won the Cajun French Music Association's New Dawn Award.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stay for the entire set. We had to run across the festival grounds for another band who was scheduled at the same time: Fricassee. I think that's the norm for this festival...there are so many musicians scheduled to play in multiple areas that you really get a workout. We had to check out Fricassee because The Boy's fiddle instructor, Henry Hample, is a member of the band.

It rained on Sunday about mid-day. And rained hard. But "laissez les bon temps rouler" ya'll. Nothing stops Festivals. People came prepared.


And if you didn't come prepared, you made do.

It rained pretty hard for a while, but people didn't stop dancing...even though the dance floor looked like a pig pen.

A different kind of "rain dance."

And Festivals wouldn't be complete without seeing Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. If we missed Steve Riley, The Boy would be crushed.

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys performing one of my favorites--Pointe aux Chênes (Oak Point).

And Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys performing one of The Boy's favorites and a crowd sing-a-long favorite: Bon Rêve (Sweet Dream).

The last band of Festivals is one that I like more and more every time I see them: The Lost Bayou Ramblers. I first saw them perform at French Quarter Festival and I was hooked. I was a little disappointed that Louis Michot didn't hop up on top of the bass and play his fiddle like he's prone to do, but it was wet, slippery and muddy so I guess I can forgive that this once.

I think I may be a little bit obsessed with the upright bass. But if I were to play an instrument (ha...not likely), I'd want a big honkin' one like this.

The last song by the last band on the last day of Festivals Acadiens et Creoles 2009. And that's my child head banging right up front.

And if you didn't get a little bit dirty, you didn't pass a good time, you.

Update 10/22/09:
I woke up this morning to find that Kim over at Stirring the Pot gave me two blog awards...a "Lovely Blog" award and a "Neno Award."  What a treat on this humid, rainy, dreary day!  I don't know much about how these blog awards work, so I hope I'm doing this right.
I first came across Kim's blog when I started following Tyler Florence Fridays. When I saw that Kim is cooking her way through Tyler Florence's Stirring the Pot (she's half-way through), I admired that.  Plus, her photos (I'm thinking especially of a certain Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie) keep luring me back!

Thank you, Kim, for the awards (I'm a giddy little nut right now) and for always reading and commenting and encouraging me.  You rock!


  1. Anonymous10/21/2009

    Good work - glad to see some photos of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, who I missed at the Fest. The Festival remains the most important Cajun and Creole music event of the year. And the most fun for dancing and eating. The crafts are a big "Meh" for me.

  2. This is such a great post! I really enjoyed listening to all the music and seeing all the dishes you tried. This sounds like it was an all around blast, even in the rain and the mud! I look forward to your posts every week and think they are always unique, fun and full of culture.

  3. Michelle- I love your blog so much! I have two awards for you over on my most recent post. You can stop by and pick them up if you like:D

  4. Thank you, Anonymous. Hope you get to see LBR next time around.

    And thank you, Kim. I'm not schooled on the awards stuff...hope I can figure it out! On my way to do just that. And by the way, I can't stop thinking about those Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies you posted last week. You've hit a weak spot :)

  5. Hi neighbor! Those pictures sure did make me hungry for some festival food :) I didn't get to attend Festivals Acadiens et Creoles this year, but I'm glad you got to! Thanks for sharing all that wonderful Cajun/Creole food & fun with us in your blog.


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