A retail relic in downtown Rayne, still open for business.

A retail relic in downtown Rayne, still open for business.

Anyone who travels across South Louisiana without leaving Interstate 10 misses the rural and small town lore of this fascinating Cajun region. Take, for instance, the Worthmore 5 & 10 in downtown Rayne, Louisiana. We took the back roads out of Lafayette on the way home this afternoon and came across this rustic retail relic of yesteryear. Sarah remembered the place from perhaps her childhood; I had passed the site often but never gone in. As we approached the intersection, she exclaimed, “Oh, I love this store!”

What could I do but suggest we stop and go in?

So I pulled into a parking space and we approached the store. How can I characterize the place, beginning at the entrance where a cardboard CODOFIL placard from the 1970’s in the window proclaimed “Ici, on est fier de parler francais?” The aisles were narrow, the gondolas tall and laden with shelf upon shelf of the most glorious array of junk mingled with treasure that I’ve ever seen in a retail store. Yes, junk AND treasure.

The “5&10” label is certainly misleading. I believe $5 and $10 would be more accurate. We actually found some pricey items, like some sets of crystal and dishware, with price tags of $49.95, but it was really nice looking stuff.

Some of the merchandise was curious looking.

Some of the merchandise was curious looking.

But then there was aisle after aisle of tawdry merchandise, too, like hair nets with pix of 1970’s style coiffures on the label—-this stuff resembled merchandise a 5&10 of the 1960s/70s would have sold. Where in the world, I wondered, do they get such dated inventory?

And the inventory featured everything from training diapers to multiplication flash cards to roach motels to wash tubs to toy soldiers to lamp shades to carnival masks . . . and just about everything in between. It was an entertaining 20 minutes passed, and I even got some ideas for future gift shopping. Like those 1970’s style hair nets—-Sarah will look like a queen wearing one of those! But I DO need to remember to bring money, because the Worthmore 5&10 does not accept credit cards.

Some of the merchandise was cheesy!

Some of the merchandise was cheesy!

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