Lafayette, Louisiana - Capital of Acadiana

Number 2 on my Top Ten Cities in America:

Forget N'Awlins - if you are going anywhere near Louisiana - Lafayette is the place.

First - the food. I have never had a bad meal in Lafayette. There are great restaurants on every corner.

Next - the people. Before traveling to Lafayette, I knew just a little about Cajun culture. Spend some time getting to know the locals. It is easy to do. They are absolutely some of the coolest, friendliest folks I have found. Happy to talk about their history (the Cajuns came to Louisiana from Canada, to escape religious persecution by the British), the challenges of maintaining their unique culture and language, their philosophy of food (some cuisines have recipes, the Cajuns, like the Japanese, have a philosophy)and fun (the Motto here is "laissez bon temps roullez", or "let the good times roll")

And finally - the music. Oh, the Cajun music. Now, I generally just listen to music - but bring out the zydeco band, and something happens to my hands and feet. They just start bouncing and tapping and clapping - and next thing you know, I am dancing. There is something about an accordion and and a couple fiddles (and incomprehensible lyrics) that just makes you want to move. Honestly, the only other music that affects me this profoundly is a Black Gospel Choir.
Some of the best evenings I have ever had were sitting in a cajun restaurant/club eating a boiled dinner, watching Cajun lasses in traditional dress dancing to traditional Cajun music. Ah, the memories.

Now, pretty much anytime, except high summer when the heat and humidity is dreadful, is a good time to visit Acadiana, but if you want a truly memorable trip - try a Cajun Christmas.
On my first visit, I was introduced to Deep Fried Turkey - I now own a fryer, and it has become a family tradition for me, on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. You should also try TurDuckHen - A chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. I don't know who invented this dish, but they deserve a Noble Prize, both for Cooking, and Humor.

And between great meals, and great conversation, and great music - drive around the neighborhoods and see the decorations. These folks take Christmas seriously. My personal favorite was a sleigh, pulled by eight 6 foot tall crawdads with a red-nosed alligator in the lead.

Like I said, anytime is a good time to visit Lafayette. And whether you choose to go as a destination, or just stop in for a while as part of a longer trip, you absolutely will have a good time.

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