Archive for Mamou

Walkin’ To New Orleans: Mardi Gras!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 19, 2009 by 30daysout
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Mardi Gras in Mamou (Photos by Art Meripol)

Well, here we are.  Mardi Gras, for all intents and purposes, is New Orleans.  The parades, the beads, the coins, the crowds, the costumes, the bare breasts … ahem, that’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Many places celebrate Mardi Gras around the country – and of course they celebrate “Carnival” in other parts of the world.

My favorite Mardi Gras is the old-timey party they throw in Mamou, Louisiana, a small town in “northern” Cajun country (north of where Interstate 10 crosses the town of Crowley).  They have the traditional Mardi Gras celebration, consisting of a big dance on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, then a “courir de Mardi Gras” the next day.  That’s a sort-of procession where men (traditional) dress up in wild-ass costumes and ride horses (mostly) around to farms in the area, gathering food items for a big community gumbo that night.

My Uncle Harold (Champagne, from near St. Martinville) told me about it once, and I mentioned it to my Port Arthur News partner and ace photographer Art Meripol.  So, very early one morning in 1980, we were in the car headed east with the vague idea that there was some kind of Mardi Gras thing in Mamou.

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Rock and Roll Recipe: Gumbo Time

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2008 by 30daysout

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Ooh, baby, it’s cold outside!  In Texas that means it’s about 53 degrees, and a warm front is going to blow back from the Gulf tomorrow, kickin’ everything up to about 75.   Hey, we take what winter we can get.  Anyway, let’s dig out a deep pot and make some gumbo today.

Gumbo is, of course, that stew-like dish popular in South Louisiana and crummy restaurants across the country.  Although it apparently originated in New Orleans, gumbo is most closely associated with the Cajuns of South Louisiana – like my mother from Catahoula and my dad from Cecilia.  Those folks used to make gumbo that was thicker than Atchafalaya Basin swamp water.  I don’t know how they did it – our good friend Dr. Michael DeBakey (from Lake Charles, La.) used to insist the secret to good, thick gumbo was okra.  And he lived to be 99 years old and was pretty much always right, so who knows?

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