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Life is Slow – But Fun – in Cajun Country


Life is Slow – But Fun – in Cajun Country

Life is Slow – But Fun – in Cajun Country

Forty years ago, to find Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, you really had to want to go there. Yet even then, when only a twisting, two-lane highway reached this wide spot in the road, people from Texas, Mississippi, as well as Louisiana made a point of going there every evening.

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Breaux Bridge and its generally soggy surroundings are home to trappers, fishermen, rice and sugar-cane farmers, oilfield workers, and families who raise crawfish, a tasty freshwater crustacean. This is Cajun Country, named for French-speaking Acadian people who were driven out of eastern Canada by the British governor in 1755 during the French and Indian War.

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Thousands of Acadian exiles migrated all the way to swampy south Louisiana, where they could hunt and fish in peace.

But ever since a high-speed, coast-to-coast interstate highway was completed across the Atatchafalaya Basin in the late 1970s, whole busfuls of tourists have come to tiny Breaux Bridge as well. They tour the swamps, get a close-up look at alligators, and learn about Acadian culture. They want to hear Cajun music, eat crawfish and 'gator stew, and try dancing in the happy-go-lucky fashion of the Acadian people.

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And they often head to an old Cajun roadhouse called Mulate's, whose specialty is Acadian-French joie de vivre. That means joy of life, as one Louisiana native told us. You work hard. You play hard and enjoy life. Otherwise, what's the point?

Sometimes, the most fun comes from simply watching an old man or woman twirl about the floor with a young grandchild in a dance called the Cajun jig, and have a good time. Joie de vivre!

Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.

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