Monday, February 11, 2013
FOOD LOUISIANE, PARADE, BANDS, FUN.
The city puts on a dinner called Taste de la Louisiane. The idea is to give tourists an idea what Louisiana cuisine is all about. we were in-line with Carla and Mitch, and we had dinner together. Mitch likes the idea of traveling in a motor home, so we filled him in.
The offering, if I can remember them all from top left to right, jambalaya, gumbo ,spicy okra, coleslaw, red beans & rice, etouffee, tomato shrimp, corn machow. I'm not sure I've got the names right. Then king cake and bread pudding for dessert. The gumbo was delcious but we thought the gumbo cook off was a better introduction to Cajun food and people here, and much more fun.
The big room at the Civic Center was filled with activities for children. We took a sweep through there, face painting, a bounce house, many games like ring toss, and hoops.
The kids were also entertained by various costumed characters like Shrek, Mickey and Minnie Mouse with whom they can have their pictures taken. Lake Charles does a lot for kids over Mardi Gras.
Jim mentioned when we wandered into the room, "Hey, this band is better than the two we heard yesterday." And the two we heard yesterday were good, but these guys were better. A down home style that we associate with Cajun country music we like.
We spotted a costumed Eva Gidlow, center, who turned out to be an events promoter for Lake Charles. Jim asked her how we could find some French people? She was quick to get us acquainted with Renola Simon, on the left. Renola invited us to ride on the French float on Fat Tuesday. We were overwhelmed at such a special invitation. As for French people? There were plenty of them.
The two women on the right, (it was loud and I couldn't get there names) are members of a very active Cajun Dance group that travels all over. Their purpose is to preserve Cajun Music and Dance. They have a membership of 2000 families in 7 Chapters in Louisiana.
Their official title means The Good Time dancers Assn. of French Cajun Music Lake Charles Chapter. Isn't that amazing? We talked about our mutual French heritage, how my grandparents wanted to assimilate and wouldn't teach my mother, aunts and uncles French, nor we grandchildren. They, being Acadians, were punished for speaking French in school and made to feel inferior. We blogged about that subject in some depth in 2010.
Then, she introduced us to 82 year old Lesa Cormier, whose father was a founding member of the Sun Down Playboys. He still plays. His grandson plays bass. His son plays with a different band. There were two players missing on this day, but I took pictures of them all. Only two original members of the band remain. They are one of the oldest Cajun Bands in the state of Louisiana, still playing music after 64 years. In fact, Eva told us, Lesa sent a pressing of a their music to the Beatles Apple Records and they liked it and promoted his music. He gave us one of his CD's. You can read more about them at this address:
We so enjoyed August Broussard's accordian and singing.
And, Red Touchet playing fiddle. Too fun.
I think this is Leesa's grandson.
I just don't know who is who. All I can be sure of is they are a great band.
Let the good times roll!!
We waited for the Children's Parade. Just before the floats began to roll, it started to pour down and rain, and rain, and rain. These two ladies are sisters. The woman on the left was my favorite dancer, with her twin sister in yesterday's blog. I didn't know they were sisters at the time. The sister on the right said to me, "We're six girls and everyone of us has gray hair. I'm only 50 years old."
This is the twin sisters. They danced throughout the parade in between floats, in the rain, and while the floats were throwing goodies. I never saw such fun. They were born of a family of 12. (I hope I've got my information right.)
The floats were fun, and wet. They threw candy, beads, cups, stuffed animals, plastic coins, and various trinkets.
As we got wetter and wetter, Jim kept asking, "Are we having fun yet?"
While I tried to take pictures and catch beads, the sisters would give the best ones to me. They filled me up with cups, coins, beads and stuffed animals. They were so much fun, generous and I didn't even get their names. I didn't have a hand free to write them down. I hope they read the blog and correct any errors.
Home, drenched to the gills; purse and everything in it. All of our clothes. I spread the beads out to dry in the Bronco windshield and steering wheel. There was no place to lay them.
We had clothing hanging from the cutting board, the visor, the steering wheel, the backs of the seats...
The heater was on all night trying to dry things with a huge thunder storm roaring outside. In fact, the signal was down for about three hours this morning, which is why we are so late to blog today. When life is wet, we still have fun.