Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Cajun Culture and a Cajun Feast

People often ask, What do you do at Betty's? We have learned to not plan too much because so many things happen that we do not want to miss and this past week was typical with several unplanned happenings coming together.

Guitar player Mike and his fiddle playing wife Tesa showed up and so we had an expanded jam session under the pavilion. Country Music Association nominee Judy Bailey (yellow shirt) joined in so Dan (left) got to cross that happening off his bucket list. Along with Cal on the keyboard they sang Betty's RV, a song Judy wrote for Betty. Here is a link to hear the song that sure sums up our feelings about this wonderful place.

There was a new group of RVers in the park so Gator Wrangler, Kristi (left) and Gator Queen, Liz (between Nanc and I) stopped by again to autograph pictures, hats and shirts. Liz told us she, her husband Troy and Kristi are getting to go to South Africa this summer because someone saw the show and wants to use the Gator Ladies to promote safaris. It is great to see how much they are getting to do because of being on the show Swamp People.

Here are Nanc, Merlene, Cookie, Lori and Marie getting a few tips on how to wrangle gators from Kristi. We can't wait to taste that gator the ladies are going to bring in.

Here is another example of something we got to do at Betty's that was totally unexpected. Betty got a call from Warren Perrin, a local attorney who is a director of the Acadian Museum in Erath. Here is our blog post about our first visit to the museum when we met Warren. Warren is famous both here and in Acadian Canada for getting the queen to apologize for the expulsion of the French from Nova Scotia in 1755. Here is a link to that story. Warren invited everyone at Betty's to his farm to join a feast of Cajun food he was holding for a group of grad students from New York University. The students were taking a week long seminar on the food ways of New Orleans and Acadiana. Above is Kyle showing Marie, Lori, Nanc and Steve how to make a big pot of jambalaya. He also fried some gator.

Glen (right) boiling a pot of crawfish. Talk about fresh, these mudbugs had just come out of the pond we were standing by that morning.

The NYU students getting up close and personal with Cajun cooking as they learn how the crawfish are boiled.

Top left is gator and hush puppies with a few mudbugs ready to be devoured. There was also crawfish fettuccine, enchiladas, salad and sauce picante, as well as, a few other Cajun favorites. There were many desserts to top off a great meal. Needless to say we were all stuffed.

Nanc and I got to talk with Warren's uncle Jonas, a WWII Navy veteran who was stationed in Hawaii. It was great sharing stories of the islands and also to learn more about Acadiana.

After filling up on all that great food a few of us went out on the crawfish boat to see how they are really caught, not the way Marvin showed me in an earlier post. The boat is quite unique as it is driven by a wheel extending out of the back that rides on the bottom and it also has tires on each side so it can be driven over the levee from one pond to the next.

Ross Hebert sorts the crawfish as his helper dumps them on the tray. They then rebait the trap with fish and a food pellet as they are moving toward the next trap. The trap is stuck to the bottom with the spike and the next trap is removed as the process starts over again. The traps are checked ever three or four days. It was neat getting to go out on the boat as we have seen the crawfish ponds all over Southern Louisiana and always wondered how they were farmed.

As with most people we meet here, Ross was very happy to tell us all about the Cajun culture. He told us that in the early days they walked through the ponds and pulled the boat as they harvested their catch. It is no wonder the Cajuns live so long with all the hard work they do. Top are Cal, Jim, Ross and Dan. Bottom are Marie, Nanc, Ross and Merlene. I think he liked posing with the ladies more then with us guys.


Jim and Bobbie said...

Loooove this post. Such great photos. Thanks also for explaining how they actually collect the mudbugs and bait the traps. Good to know. Hoping to get to Betty's again....maybe this fall.

Woodworkin' & Good Eats said...

Just found your blog, it is perfect. My wife and I are in the thought process of buying a travel trailer. I like to look around and get a little knowledge on just what I want before I jump into the fire. The only thing wrong with this post was that my Connie and I were not at the party. Her brother winters in Florida at a retirement camp ground. We went down in February and had so much fun, everyone we met was laid back, warm and friendly and enjoying life. It was great. I want to follow your blog, but I don't see a follow button . . . so I'll keep looking. I'm new to blogging, and just started my blog a couple weeks ago. Maybe you could visit and follow me, then I'd have your thumbprint to click and follow. Anyway, looks like retirement is going to be fun. Have a great life and hope to hear from you. Steve P.S. That jam session is right up my wife's alley, she plays with the Old Time Fiddlers.