Country Roads, Acadiana: Creole Country Sunday, Jun 30 2019 

In the countryside along US Highway 190 between Eunice and Opelousas in rural St. Landry Parish, in and around communities such as Swords, Mallet, and Savoy, one discovers the heart and center of one of Louisiana’s richest Creole cultural areas.  These Louisiana French-speaking Creoles are mixed-blood  descendants of African slaves, French settlers, and even Native Americans.

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The French Table meets at the St. Ann’s Church in the Savoy/Swords community on the fourth Thursday of each month.  These proud people meet in the interest of preserving their Louisiana French language and their rich folk traditions.

Our Cajun French preservation group from Eunice visited our neighbors’ monthly French Table meeting at the St. Ann Church Thursday morning where we were warmly received.  The program included a documentary film produced by a young folklorist who recently published a book on the Creoles of the Cajun prairie.  Her research concludes that the white Cajuns and the mixed-race Creoles of the South Louisiana prairies are truly first cousins, by blood as well as by cultural experience.

We spoke a lot of French, heard colorful tales and reminiscences from bygone days celebrating both the Creole and Cajun folkways, and ate some tasty Creole cooking for lunch.  I came away with a deeper appreciation and a fascination for the uniqueness of these warm-hearted, hard-working people whom we proudly claim as neighbors on the Cajun prairie.

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Mis-Signagey? Thursday, Jun 27 2019 

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The unnecessary apostrophe shown on the picture here (in a very nice supermarket in Lafayette, no less) is likely unnoticed by 99.9% of the general population who walks through the store.

But let an English professor come along and the apostrophe glares with blinding rudeness: “That is a plural noun, not a possessive noun!  Woe to the miscreant editor who approved that apostrophe!”

Can we come up with a word for this linguistic offense? I will propose an idea: As the word mysogeny refers to “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women,” then mis-signagey” shall refer to “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against grammatical and mechanical errors on public signs.”

Mysogenists and missignagists are both detestable in our society.  May their eradication be accomplished in our life time!

Multiple Choice: Lump, Hump, Bump or Table? Saturday, Jun 22 2019 

What highway safety engineer sits up nights thinking of different names for those irritating speed humps/bumps/lumps/tables that municipalities install on roadways and parking lots to slow drivers down?

IMG_5050Today we came across the newest name, the speed table.  What will they think of next?

Let me suggest some possibilities:

Speed brake
Speed mound
Speed boob
Front end alignment wrecker
Slowmedowner
Struts buster
Blowout bubble
Suspension breaker
Pavement popper

Still thinking . . . future edits possible.  Who knows what addition to our road signage vocabulary lies ahead on a futre drive the residential neighborhoods!

Revising New Orleans Lore: Oysters, Living, and Loving Saturday, Jun 15 2019 

For all the so many years past, fried oysters meant the greasy deep-fat process that tasted oh-so-good but was also oh-so-messy, not to mention oh-so-unhealthy.

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For the heart!  Air-fried oysters, upper right; complemented by roasted potatoes, haricots verts, and tomato/cilantro/avocado salad.

Sarah Ann’s been experimenting with the fat-free air-fried process for several years now, and she’s got it down!  The oysters are just as tasty, and the conscience is certainly clearer after supper is over.

I remember an oyster marketing slogan from old New Orleans: “Eat fish, live longer; eat oysters, love longer,” as if eating fish was healthier.  If the oysters are air fried, I believe the motto can be revised: “Eat fish, be bored; Eat oysters, live longer and love longer.”

Thanks, Sarah Ann!  You’re the best!

Marley’s Day Out: The Dog Park Tuesday, Jun 11 2019 

IMG_4924Marley the Dog is blessed beyond measure.  His Mommy and Poppa brought him to the dog park at Beaulieu Park in Lafayette!  The trip was Marley’s first visit ever to Lafayette and his first visit ever to a dog park.  There were several other frisky, friendly doggies that he romped and froliced with, dashing through the open spaces and sniffing one another in the manner that dogs use to make friends (the sniffing-the-behinds routine, of course).

IMG_4925 2After playing in the park, we had a picnic lunch and topped off the visit to Lafayette dropping off at PetSmart, another first for Marley, who had never been in any kind of store in all of his life.  He was one excited doggy as he scurried up and down the aisles, sniffing the scents and fragrances of the dog food aisle with relish.

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A happy dog, weary from the exertions of his sojourn, succumbs to sleep on the 45 minute drive home.

Paladin: The Anti-hero’s hero? Wednesday, Jun 5 2019 

One of the joys of cutting loose the  cables and electronic gizmos of satellite TV has been discovering the old school TV networks that are proliferating these days on free (local antenna) TV.  I particularly enjoy watching the B&W western TV shows and movies that fascinated me as a youngster.

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The actor Richard Boone played the role of Paladin.  The color pix is misleading, because the show pre-dated color TV.

One of my favorites from the olden days is Paladin.  Before Clint Eastwood created the legitimate anti-hero as a literary type, Richard Boone’s role as the gunslinger Paladin had some of those anti-hero elements.  His memorable slogan struck me as soooo cool when I was six years old: “Have gun, will travel.”

For example, in the 1950s and 60s western genre, good guys typically wore white hats, the bad guys black hats.  Paladin went against the grain–He dressed in solid black.

Paladin was also a hired gun who played the role of protagonist.  In almost all other vintage westerns, hired gunslingers played the antagonist, the bad guy.

I watched the last 15 minutes of a Paladin episode this morning and recalled why I admired him so much as a six-year old.  The bad guys never got to him!  He was never out-fisted, out-smarted, out-run, or for sure, out-shot with a hand gun.  He also had a very refined, gentlemanly side, comfortably appearing dressed in a snazzy suit and displaying impeccable manners when he wasn’t under hire on the trail of some desperado.

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This was the Paladin business card  accesory that came along with my Paladin toy cap pistol set.

I was a serious Paladin fan in the late 1950s.  Mama gave me a Paladin play set for my birthday or Christmas in those days.  The set included a toy cap pistol with a black holster (the holster emblazoned with the gold emblem of the chess piece that was the character’s trade mark), a black cowboy hat, and a several of the Paladin business cards that incuded the terse motto, “Have gun, will travel.”

I loved playing Paladin.  This guy never lost at anything!  Such are the heroic (and silly) ideals to which dreamy little boys aspire when they’re six years old.    And that’s OK: Reality will come along soon enough (and last long enough!).

Country Roads, Acadiana: Boudin! Saturday, Jun 1 2019 

Before I began hanging out with (and marrying into) Cajuns, boudin was a strange and foreign concept.  Growing up in non-Cajun southeast Louisiana, I don’t even remember tasting boudin.

IMG_0377But after living in these parts for going on forty years now, I understand  that boudin in Cajun South Louisiana is more than a flavorful, seasoning-packed pork/rice dressing stuffed in sausage casing.

In truth, boudin is a cultural culinary institution, a tradition from the boucherie folklore of the Cajun subsistence farmers’ rural past, and now a prominent symbol of what we  identify locally as Cajunism.

This lady shopper’s tee-shirt provides a humorous expression of those regional values.

A link of boudin may not keep the doctor away (it’s fatty cholesterol actually may do the opposite!), nor would anyone seriously claim that boudin is the breakfast of champions . . . .but it  certainly nourishes the Cajun’s soul.