Posts Tagged With: laissez les bon temps rouler

Lake Charles, Lousiana – Day 8

The motorhome is parked at the 1,086 acre Sam Houston Jones State Park about 12 miles north of the city. We have been here enjoying Mardi Gras which ended Tuesday. We had planned to depart here today, but we are still weary and need to rest some more. We now expect to leave tomorrow..

You can read about Lake Charles by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Charles,_Louisiana

You can read all about the history of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana by clicking this link…
http://www.swlamardigras.com/about/history.cfm

LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!

You see this slogan everywhere in Louisiana. In French it means… LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

And roll they did on Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras this year.

Our day started with a 30 minute drive to the small town of Iowa (pronounced locally as I-O-WAY) to witness the chasing of the chickens. If you do not know the history of this tradition, reading this Wikipedia link will take care of that…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courir_de_Mardi_Gras

The event was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM. We were late getting out of the motorhome and did not arrive until 10:30. They were late getting started and said they would begin at 11:00. But we could not stay because we had other obligations elsewhere. So we took a few pictures and departed…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

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Here’s a short video of another Cajun tradition. Just click the link…
http://youtu.be/FQqMKXMirpA

Another about 30 minute drive brought us to the home of Renola Simon (pronounced SEE-MON in French) where the Krewe de les Cajuns float is stored. We’ve been invited to ride on the float during the final and biggest parade of the Lake Charles Mardi Gras!

The first two hours was spent getting to know everyone, eating and making the float ready…

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Renola served spicy deer and pork sausages that were really yummy…

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Here’s the float…

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And the back of the jacket of the Krewe de les Cajuns…

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The float was towed by this truck…

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On the way to the parade assembly point, it started to mist lightly and Mary was ready with her garbage bag raincoat…

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The parade assembled right along the shore of Lake Charles. It threatened to rain, but never really did…

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We took a walk to see some of the other 50+ floats…

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Here’s Mary with 80-year-old Renola Simon…our hostess. She was a founding member of the Krewe de les Cajuns 26 years ago and has done this every year since…

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Here’s the others with whom we rode the float…

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We had a three-hour wait for the parade to begin and Mary really got into the mood…

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Click this link to see a short video…
http://youtu.be/nGfcufU9aUE

With the French Cajun Music blaring loudly, at 5:00 PM we started rolling down the main drag of Ryan Street in Lake Charles…

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The object was to throw as many string of beads and plastic cups to the begging crowd as fast as possible. We guesstimate the Krewe threw 25,000+ during the 1.5 hour parade route…

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Into the night we continued. It was amazing to see how a string of beads or a plastic cup brought a beautiful smile to the face of the recipients…

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We just had a blast! Thank you Krewe de Les Cajuns for inviting us along. We will never forget you!   LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!

Enjoying a Louisiana Mardi Gras is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER

Laissez les bon temps rouler, a greeting you hear all over Cajun country. It means let the good times roll, and they do at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, 10 miles out of Eunice. We arrived by 7:30 in order to get a seat when the bar opened at 8 A.M. Fred’s is only open Saturdays with live music, drinking and dancing. The two couples below were the early birds along with Jim and I. Calvin Daigle, standing closest, brought breakfast from Charlies Place around the corner, a heaping pile of boudin, (boydan) in a piece of butcher paper along with a paper bag of cracklins. The still warm sausage, slightly spicy with a soft texture more like stuffing than meat was wonderful. I believe it had rice in it. The cracklins were inch thick pieces of bacon fried crisp, unlike any cracklins I ever tasted. Calvin and his wife Nonie, (next to the wall,) are regulars at Fred’s. Sally and Mike Wenckus are from Golf, Ill.
Before the musicians had set up to play, a crew of guys out back iced down beer to keep the refrigerators inside full. A couple of guys set up a pot to make jambalaya. Some one asked what time it would be ready? “Oh, somewhere between 9 and 2, he claimed.” No charge for the jambalaya. Its part of the “experience.” We walked out back and claimed a heaping bowl full around noon. Good stuff.

Getting the meat started for the jambalaya.
Nonie & Cal started the dancing before it got crowded. The Cajun musicians were Scotty on Accordion, Jason on Violin, Ray on drums, who also sang, and Smiley on guitar. No fanfare or introductions, Nonie told me their names because she knows them all. They just play, with no breaks from 9 until 2. Sometimes longer. The music is broadcast live  from Freds and a different group plays each Saturday.

After a couple hours the crowd looked like this. Then, later, you couldn’t get back far enough to take a picture. It was necessary to slide between people. I slid by this one guy with a clothes pin and money attached to his beads. He told me it was too crowded to get his money out of his pocket so he carries it “up-front.” Everyone is friendly and polite. No cross words spoken or drunken behavior evident, although the rules are, no standing on the jukebox, bar, or tables. And no kissing on the lips. Leon, in the striped shirt above, told me he kissed his girlfriend and owner,  Tante Sue,  wapped him on the head with her “no kissing” stick.
These two out-of-town women have been friends for 55 years. The Justice Of The Peace, on the left, offered to marry Jim and I, and rescind it for no extra charge, but we declined.
Tante Sue keeps the whole shebang running. Between slapping beers on the bar, counting change, cleaning up a cans, bottles and glasses, she is known to break into dance with the music while playing the accordion on her shirt, reach in her holster for some “Hot Damn”, take a slug and yell “Quinta!” (which means Who Dat?) In fact, she sometimes tastes a new pint of Hot Damn before handing it over to the customer.
This couple pilgrimage to Fred’s twice a year. She once lived in Santa Barbara, CA for four years but couldn’t stay away from Louisiana. They have Targil’s Spices, you can order on line. Everyone is rooting for love-him-or-hate-him Shockey and the Saints, and gearing up for Mardi Gras.

I met Mikell above in line for the bathroom. She is almost ready for Mardi Gras and we coined some folksy wisdom, no matter where you are, be it fancy or folksy, women have to wait in line for the bathroom.
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