A Cajun Country adventure album
Where does a travel editor go on vacation?
Cynthia Elyce Rubin
The Norwegian American
Where does a travel editor go on vacation? Why, Louisiana’s Cajun Country, of course! A two-hour drive from New Orleans, Acadiana, a region where French-speaking immigrants who fled Canada in the 1700s called Cajuns mixed with Creole, Native American, and African traditions. The result? A rich gumbo (stew) of food, music, culture, and history.
My weekend with family and friends in tow began at the annual Festivals Acadiens et Créoles where Cajun and zydeco music inspired hundreds of young and old dancers. Lafayette, the region’s urban hub, is, after all, known as the “happiest city in America.” Off to Vermilionville to see Acadian, Creole, and Native American buildings and crafts and then a visit with Tee Don Landry, whose father first made the wearable rubboard (frottoir) used as a percussion instrument in zydeco music.
The next day, a “Cajun Food Tour” taught us a distinct culinary identity, including po’ boy sandwiches, jambalaya (a one-pot creole dish), rice, crawfish, shrimp, BBQ, and boudin (sausage). It’s no surprise that the festival opens not with a cutting of a ribbon but of a boudin.
A “swamp tour” took us into the Atchafalaya Basin, wetlands, and river delta where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. The guide kept trying to attract alligators to the boat while egrets flew around mindless of us interlopers. Like all locals, they seemed to say “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll).
All photos by Cynthia Elyce Rubin
This article originally appeared in the January 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.