As part of my checkered past, I used to live in Louisiana. If you add it all up, I spent about ten years down in Cajun Country.
Growing up in Texas, we used to call them crawdads, but I’d never eaten a crawfish until I went to Baton Rouge. You boil them up in Cajun seasonings with red potatoes and corn on the cob. Thanks to my years there, I’ve been to many a crawfish boil.
Even though they’re neighboring states, going from Texas to Louisiana was a shock to my system. For example, Nº. 8 on the list I’m about to share with you: Your last name isn’t pronounced the way it’s spelled.
In one of my freshman classes, we had a young man named Hebert. I couldn’t grasp why the teacher was calling him A-bear instead of Herbert until I realized that there was no “R” after the first “E”. Mr. Hebert was a Cajun.
Wikipedia defines Cajuns as:
“The Cajuns, also known as Acadians are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting in part of the descendants of the original Acadian exiles — French-speakers from Acadia in what are now the Maritimes of Eastern Canada.”
That was just the beginning of my education. I enjoyed living down there and I still miss their food and their laissez-faire.
Recently, I found an old menu from a restaurant in Houma, LA. It was called Boudreau & Thibodeau’s. On the back of the menu, there’s a list of things that mark you as a Cajun. Are you part-Cajun?
You Might Be a Cajun If:
1. Your boat motor is bigger than the one in your truck.
2. You take Community Coffee and Tabasco with you on vacation.
3. Every so often, you have waterfront property.
4. You’ve ever barbecued SPAM on the grill.
5. You judge a Po-boy by the number of napkins used.
6. You’ve ever been too drunk to fish.
7. You push little ol’ ladies out of the way to catch Mardi Gras beads.
8. Your last name isn’t pronounced the way it’s spelled.
9. You know what the waitress means if she asks if you want your Po-boy dressed.
10. More than one living relative is named after a Southern Civil War general.
11. You think the stock market has a fence around it.
12. You keep a can of Raid on your kitchen table.
13. Your “matched” set of luggage is Rouse’s shopping bags.
14. Your boat has not left the driveway in years.
15. Your front porch collapses and kills more than three dogs.
16. Your home has more miles on it than your car.
17. Your tackle box contains dynamite.
18. You own a homemade fur coat.
19. You can spit without opening your mouth.
20. Your Christmas tree is still up in February.
21. The most used tool in your toolbox is a butter knife.
22. You think a lobster is a crawfish on steroids.
23. You think the four seasons are onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic.
24. You let your black coffee cool and find that it has gelled.
25. You sit down to eat boiled crawfish. Your host says, “Don’t eat the dead ones,” and you know what he means.
26. You don’t know the real names of your friends, only their nicknames.
27. You gave up Tabasco for Lent.
28. There is more furniture on your front porch than in your living room.
29. Any of your dessert recipes call for jalapeños.
Laissez les bons temps rouler.