Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Living in the South ~ Cajun Country ~ Lagniappe

Lagniappe ~ Cajun French for a little bit more.

I spoke in a recent post about how Cajuns celebrate everything. I'm sure you've all heard or know about Mardi Gras. And what a huge party that is!  But did you know that there is a Festival that takes place at least once a month, and once a week throughout the summer, somewhere in the state of Louisiana? These people know how to have a good time. The festivals celebrate everything from the Yam, to Rice, to Buggys, to Pirates. You name it and there is a Festival for it.
The town we lived in, Crowley, is known as the Rice Capital of America and is famous for The International Rice Festival. The Int'l Rice Festival is one of the largest and oldest agricultural festivals in the South, with over 100,000 people attending in a three day period. I had the distinction of being this Festival's organizer for three years. I learned a lot about special event planning. And this opportunity gave my OCD  organizational skills a chance to shine. Do you need an event planned for 75,000 to 100,000 people? I'm your girl!

I would also like to make note of something that I had not seen since my childhood. The way young kids are allowed to run and play without a lot of grown-up supervision. And yet there is supervision everywhere. Children mind all adults. (especially with the threat, "Don't make me tell your Momma!) And Adults look out for all children.

My long red hair was a source of amazement in south Louisiana. Red hair is a novelty down there because most of the people are of French ancestry and black or brown hair is dominant. Most women have short hair because of the heat and humidity - I'd wear mine in a bun in the summers. I had a lot of people come up to me and ask if they could touch my hair, especially children.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed South Louisiana and felt like this was home, it wasn't long before the hot, humid summers really got to me. I'm not a real heat loving person. And the constant threat of hurricanes in the summer weighed upon us. We had experienced one hurricane while living there (Hubby had experienced more while growing up, but it was fun and games then) and it was a nerve racking experience. The torrential rains, the howling wind and the mini-tornadoes which are spawned from the hurricane are nothing to trifle with. And then the utter destruction in its aftermath. This was the first time I had seen such destruction and it was mind boggling. When I heard a news reporter say, "If you are not prepared to lose absolutley everything you have at least once a year (because of a hurricane), then you shouldn't be living in South Louisiana." I knew he spoke the truth and that we had to move. And well, being the Gypsies that we are, we began looking for another home.


Aine said...

Rice festival?!?!? Yippee!

I too have (had) red hair and it does attract attention (some wanted, some not.) Over the years my hair has become brown, but redheads are redheads forever.

I have always wanted to go to New Orleans - a couple of friends and I began to plan a trip there years ago, but disaster struck - literally. So I took it as a sign, at least for THAT trip.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I don't think I would want to experience a hurricane either.

Heathen said...

Hurricanes are indeed nothing to sneeze at. Especially in that region. Those poor people get hit every single year.