Another world

We crossed a great cultural divide again yesterday — passing from NewOrleansWorld and into another dimension. By this I mean we went across the St. Charles Parish line and down into the swamp, headed for Houma and Thibodaux to do a little bidness.

Despite our Mulate’s, the blaring, pre-recorded Cajun tunes in the French Quarter, the many various menu items and all the ‘ueaxs and ‘ots in the phone book, New Orleans itself remains much more Anglo/African/Creole than Cajun. It’s always been that way, I guess, and the differences appears to be getting larger instead of smaller. The accents are different, the conversational patois shifts and the overall attitude transforms once godforsaken Jefferson Parish is left behind.

We had a delightful couple of beers and then a light dinner at Tab Benoit’s Lagniappe Cafe in Houma. I’d been wanting to go since it opened a couple of years or so ago, and my mind had pictured it as being a glorified blues hall similar to the Southport Hall over in the Riverbend area. What we found instead was a fairly upscale place with a menu and ambiance that would be a reasonable draw on St. Charles Ave. Entirely worth the one-hour cruise down Highway 90. Then it was on to business.
We attended a wine and cheese tasting at Cannata’s, the flagship of the small grocery chain stretching from Houma to Morgan City. The place has a touch of Whole Foods, a lot of Rouse’s, but the overall congeniality and familiarity of the Uptown locations of Langenstein’s or even Zara’s. We passed a wonderful couple of hours, tasting some very good but mid-priced wines and engaging in conversation with then-unknown but friendly locals of various ethnic extraction. They first smiled, then laughed, then began slapping on the back as the wine flowed. We arrived as businesspeople but left as friends, and that’s part of Acadiana’s lure.

It’s definitely worth a long daytrip and even an overnight to become immersed in Swamp Culture.


2 Comments so far

  1. JBoo (unregistered) on June 27th, 2005 @ 9:41 am

    Is a trip to Tab Benoit’s and to a grocery store really being immersed in one’s culture?

    Kudos on making the journey, but there’s much more to cajun country than what you relayed.

  2. Craig (unregistered) on June 27th, 2005 @ 1:48 pm

    Of COURSE there’s a whole lot more. Roughly 300 years, as I recall. This is my biological home, at least on my father’s side.

    The places are nice. The people are incredible. The history is fascinating.

    My point is that Houma is a neat daytrip. I’m constantly amazed, no matter where I go, that some folks born and raised in an area know so little about it. I’ve talked to big-time Yats who’ve never been to Terrebonne Parish. Huh?

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