Saturday, April 14, 2007

Grand Caillou

I arrived in DuLac ready to quit driving and meet some crazy Cajuns and within minutes of doing so I was trying my best to get rid of them.

After a half hour of frustrating communication with people who probably don't make much sense when they are sober either, I moved from the store to the bar and immediately regretted the decision to go indoors, the sun was setting and I had been in the car most of the day. The bartender let me take my beer outside to watch the sunset from the bank of the bayou and I was checking out the boats when I met Mike, who had seen me at the store and actually wanted to warn me about those guys, which didn’t surprise me at all. The thing about crashing in really small towns, is that once you’ve met some people, everyone knows you’re traveling alone. If anyone in town wants to find you, they will. So, I had to either get out of town completely or find a really safe parking place. I was tired and ready to quit driving so I immediately followed Mike to his property at the north end of town where he is building a Bed and Breakfast that backs onto a lake, across the road from the bayou and with not a single refinery in sight!

He invited me to stay as long as I like at his place with a lake full of fish and canoes. I took him up on his offer to cook some catfish he caught that morning and we drank a beer.

After talking to Mike, my feelings have been confirmed that there is no safe place for a lady to stay alone in the bayou, unless maybe you can get a boat and get the hell away from any people. Best to go with a friend or two. Of course, there are other people you can talk to besides the town drunk but basically, if people see that you are alone they are going to be interested in talking to you. My impression of Cajuns is that they are friendly but some are a little TOO friendly. How about this guy?

I actually had to tell him to leave me the hell alone and then said to the kid with the neck tatoo:

"Damn, that guy is obnoxious!" and he replied "That's my dad." I said "Well don't you be like him!" and he said "I know." As though he had been told that a million times. The kid is 23 and already been kicked out of his mom's house and 86'ed from the local bar for fighting. It seems like his only friend is the town drunk who hangs out in front of the store with the kid's dad.

You know, when I was driving around Southern Louisiana I nooticed that there are only about ten different surnames attached to most of the businesses. Hebert, Brousseaux, Chauvin, Beauregard, and you know what that says to me? It says you need to diversify your gene pool people. Now.

I wish you could hear the way these folks speak. It's a cool sounding accent when they speak English and a strange patois in French. The younger people don't seem to speak French very much but all the Cajuns I met over 40-50 years old spoke some.

When I went to bed in Mike's driveway that night I spent 30 minutes killing mosquitoes in the van and the rest off the night sweating with the windows shut as a storm rolled in from Texas.

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