June 30, 2000

I met a fellow at the store the other day and he asked me if I was a Cajun. I said, jokingly, “Yes, and my name is Nina Guzzetteaux.” I told him that in southwest Louisiana, the people mostly speak French with a Cajun dialect; then, there’s the Creole or Parisian French that’s mostly spoken in the New Orleans area.

The fun-loving Cajun has always looked forward to having a good time and loves dancing. When one thinks of Cajun dancing, the word most likely to crop us is “fais-do-do.” They would bring the babies to the dance and they were made to “fais-do-do” while the others danced.

The most popular card games for the Cajun old-timers are Bourre’ and Euchre. The most famous of the Cajun dishes are jambalaya, crawfish pie, and File’ gumbo. Regardless of how it is prepared or eaten, gumbo is still the favorite Cajun dish. Rare, indeed, is a Cajun who doesn’t like it. Gumbo is eaten with rice. Some people file’ it – seasoned with finely ground sassafras leaves. Potato salad or baked sweet potatoes are popular dishes eaten with gumbo.

Now there is the boucherie – this is where Cajuns get together and agree to butcher a hog or calf and to divide the meat among the families participating. This is an all-day affair. There’s nothing like spending a day at a Cajun boucherie.

Drinking coffee is an integral part of the Cajun way of life. Cajun coffee drinking begins with a small cup in the morning. Then the coffee is put aside and a little heated during the day as needed – usually several times a day – “jusse un p’tit gout pour fumer” (just a taste to smoke).

Through the years, the crawfish has been a source of recreation, as well as a delicacy to the Cajuns of southwest Louisiana.


The biggest eater of crabs to me was my friend Tarville Davis. I’ll never forget one time we were at Mrs. Lyles in Verdunville eating crabs. Tarville sat across from me. I ate two dozen crabs – and Tarville never stopped eating.

After a while, he ate so many crabs that the empty shells were piled so high on the table that I couldn’t see him anymore. The shells must of been two feet high. After we got through eating, he said, “Let’s go to Russell Delaune’s Cafe and get some pie and ice cream.”


Remember Bena Wilson? He used to pitch for the Berwick Cubs. He threw a ball so fast you could hardly see it. Some people swore that he painted the balls that he threw with invisible paint.


Remember Skinny Rink? He was so skinny that he stayed home on windy days – he weighed 63 pounds.


My friend, Jeff Jeffus, one of my “coffee buddies,” was given a surprise birthday party at the Holiday Inn in May.

As our group was sitting at the table drinking coffee, the Holiday Inn staff brought a large birthday cake, which was beautifully decorated, and placed it before Jeff. The cake was furnished by Sharon Howell, the general manager at the Holiday Inn. Everybody sand “Happy Birthday” in honor of Jeff’s birthday. It was a great occasion!

He said that he didn’t like cake – that’s why he only ate two pieces.

Mutt LeBlanc was also there – he ate a large, large piece of the cake; he said he forgot all about his diabetes; speed Bennie Courtney also was there; Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Nosworthy; Rita White; Mrs. Lee Hoffpauir; Jo Ellen Cheramie; myself; and of course, Jeff.

There was a most unique feature on the cake which was a question mark candle. It was each person’s guess as to how old Jeff was. We all, of course, knew that he was over 58.

Jeff tried to blow out the candle, but didn’t have enough air to do it. Maybe he should have eaten more beans that day.

It was a lovely party. Everybody enjoyed it thoroughly.

Unfortunately, some of our “regulars” were absent that day. These were: Jimmy Manuel who was at a golf tournament; Charles Johnson who was busy on an important case; Louis Tamporello who was in Franklin checking on the black bears on his property because Sam Jones, the mayor, put on a bear tax; Lloyd Aucoin, who hurt his back pulling up those large fish that he said he caught; Sam Russo, who had to go to a ballgame in Florida; Don Verrett, who had to give some free advice to a home buyer; Sterling Fryou, who was too busy telling everyone that he could tell them about anything that comes out of the water, except about a mermaid.

All of these absentees surely missed a real good time.

* The End *

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