November 5, 1999

What has happened to all the Italian men in Morgan City and Berwick? They are forgetting their heritage and the old customs of their parents.

We meet at the coffee shop every afternoon from about 1:30 to 3 or 3:15 p.m. Recently, this Italian man asked me, “What is a biscotti? How do you pronounce biscuit in Italian? How do you say fig cake in Italian? and What is a Cannoli?”

Well, I said to myself, these Italians must have come from Cut-Off or Pecan Island because they know nothing about the Italian culture. They also asked me how do you pronounce gumbo in Italian and I answered, “Aqua-lordo!”

Morgan City or Berwick is in need of a really authentic Italian restaurant, with an Italian atmosphere – soft mandolin music; murals of gondoliers in Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Coliseum of Rome – all in warm colors adorning the walls. There would be waitresses in the Italian colors of red, yellow, and green threading in and out of the restaurant and the heavenly smells of Italian spaghetti, and sweet basil in the “polpetta.” Serve excellent red and white wine and always have grated Parmesan cheese on the table with warm olive oil that you can dip hot Italian or French bread into. It is important that you never serve cold food or cold coffee or cold bread anytime.

I have lived here in the Morgan City-Berwick area all my life and I know that there are more Italian people here than any other nationality.

When my mother was living and somebody offered her fish, shrimp, or crabs for a Sunday dinner, she would chase them with a broom! No Cajun, or Mexican, or Chinese foods on Sunday – Sunday was “spaghetti day” with all the trimmings.

My mother’s typical Sunday dinner was meatball spaghetti, or No. 7 chops in the gravy, or pork roast in the gravy, or Italian sausage in the gravy; with sweet peas or fava beans in season, fried cauliflower, fried eggplant with spaghetti gravy and cheese-baked apples, parched peanuts and, after the meal, a two- hour nap!


Remember the mayor of Bayou Pom Pom? A few politicians here should do as he did. Instead of using the traditional donkey or elephant as their emblem on the ballot, they should use the symbol of “Cajun land” – the noble crawfish.

The mayor believed that the crawfish is “de mos brave’s creature in the worl. You put an eagle on de railroad track, and w’en dat train come along, de eagle, she jump up and fly away – but not de brave crawfish, no. He r’ar back and t’row up dem claws to stop dat train.”

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