I wasn't quite sure what to expect once venturing away from New Orleans and heading to the back country of Cajun Country! Would I be venturing into a vignette from Deliverance? Quite the contrary!
So how did we end up going to Lafayette? We have to chalk it all up to Facebook and the connection I made some four years ago with Interior Designer, Dawn Dupuis Clark, who spotted my work on our Candelaria Design Page and then friended me whereupon we truly became friends.
She came out to Scottsdale a couple years ago and toured some of my work and so I had to return the favor and make it out to Lafayette. We were not disappointed!
After a beautiful drive north and west from New Orleans via Baton Rouge we made the 2-1/2 hour drive to Lafayette! What I came to find out is Lafayette is the heart of Cajun Country!
So what is a Cajun? Cajuns mainly came from Acadia - not Arcadia - in Nova Scotia and migrated down to the Lafayette / Acadiana region of Louisiana. The music is French Based, and more folkish. The food is more spicy! Creoles on the other hand are a mix of people's. Whites and Blacks some from the Caribbean and some from the north. Given that New Orleans is a port city it became he melting pot of the Creole culture and people. The food is more African and Caribbean based.
Dawn said anyone south of 1-10 is a Cajun.... Hey mom and Dad you live in Maricopa which is technically south of Maricopa - you must be Cajuns!
So what could possibly be the first stop when you come to Cajun Country? Of course food! Dawn and her wonderful friend Lynne Thibodeaux - how's that for a Cajun name - took us to David Bertrand's Shucks Restaurant! And who should greet us at the door but David himself! He sat us and said just relax and let me start bringing the flavor of Cajun cuisine your way. And boy did he!
You have to start with a Cajun Bloody Mary and then fresh oysters on the half shell, followed by a little fried alligator and crab claws, followed by oyster stew, and then char broiled oysters - these were the best of the entire trip! Then a little ettouffe' and then some sautéed pan fried oysters and then sautéed redfish! Top it off with a tour of the kitchen and of course David's amazing bread pudding topped with white chocolate buttered rum sauce! Wow!! Great job David and what a wonderful host. If in the Lafayette area - please make this a stop!
Then Dawn and Lynne took us sight seeing to see some of the beautiful neighborhoods and homes in Lafayette! Fabulous - you definitely see a wide range of styles all well done! One development that definitely caught my eye was River Ranch! Fabulous mixture of styles from French Provencial, to Creole Southern / Caribbean to Spanish! Fabulous way to allow a wide range of styles yet it all comes together!
Then to top of our visit we were all invited back to Dawn's personal residence to relax and have a little back patio barbecue. The boys hung out on the back porch and spun stories of Louisiana local and state politics, to sports, to the oil business, and the women were inside and God knows what they were chatting about. The way discussions are done around food and beverage is quite different from how this goes down in Arizona - there is definitely a Southern way - a Cajun Way!
Thank Dawn and Lynne for the amazing visit and thanks Facebook for yet another amazing connection. Wow - i would never imagined any of this but I love where life takes you if you just venture out!