#9 ‘Dem White Alligators

White AlligatorEver since my grade school field trip to the Aquarium of the Americas, I’ve been fascinated by the white alligators they have there. It’s a fascination I share with many of my Cajun brothers and sisters. Such was my own interest, that after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina, about the fifth thing I thought of (after the really important things of course) was whether or not them white alligators were alright.

You see, alligators are deeply embedded in the Cajun psyche. We glimpse them out of the corner of our eyes while fishing in the basin. At night, we see their glowing eyes reflected back at us when we’re out gigging. There’s an unspoken agreement we have with them: we leave you alone, and you won’t try to eat us.

But don’t Cajun’s eat alligators you ask? Yes and no. I grew up in Cajun country and can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve eaten alligators in my life, and just about every time was at one of our many yearly festivals. Alligator is more something we feed the tourists. It’s a stereotype we play up to, or down to. In my opinion, alligators are a bitch to clean, and they’re not all that great to eat.

Reactions upon seeing the white alligators usually goes something like this: “Keeyaww, did you see ‘dat! Man, I could make some nice white boots with ‘dat. Mais, let’s throw ‘dat ting in a gumbo. Boudreaux, ‘dat crocogator’s prettier than your wife Marie!”

If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing these fine creatures, take a trip to New Orleans, throw down a few hurricanes down at Pat O’Briens, have a fried shrimp poboy, and head on down to the Aquarium of the Americas. Then go drink some more. Life’s short.

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15 thoughts on “#9 ‘Dem White Alligators

  1. you know- there are some gators out by us that people started feeding from the highway, and now the dang things swim up to you like dogs begging for milk bones.

    I’m really loving your blog, btw! especially the boudreaux jokes. I hadn’t heard some of those in a while!

  2. Thanks. I had a alligator chase me once on the USL campus. It’s one of the small ones (a few feet long) in the swamp in front of the student union. It got bored after a few feet and turned around.

  3. I believe those gators are some of the only things that survived the Aquarium through Katrina. Some hearty boogers they are.

    Happened to play golf at Squirrel Run in New Iberia on Good Friday and we saw four of ’em. About 3-4 feet long.

  4. On a semi-related note: Where do you like to go for shrimp po-boys? My dad took me to Mike Anderson’s a few years ago. They had a yummy one.

  5. My favorite place is Old Time Grocery in Lafayette, near the USL campus. I make a trip there every time I’m in town. Never tried Mike Anderson’s. I also like Chris’ PoBoys.

  6. so, as a white person from california, what do Cajuns think of us?….I love New Orleans btw, and believe Cajun food is possibly some of the best, fufilling, spicest food in America. I probably would become a billionaire if I opened a bunch of expensive, fancy Cajun fast food resturants here in LA, (Los Angeles, not Louisianna)

    • well honey I’m a live and let live kinda girl…but I have to question the whole cajun fast food thing….fast food??? My Maw Maw would get up at the crack of dawn and be cooking all day for supper when paw paw would come in. There ain’t nuthin fast about GOOD cajun food.

  7. I can only speak for myself, but growing up, I didn’t give much thought to California at all, good or bad. My world was pretty small. Pretty much anything north of Alexandria was northern to me. Every few years, I’d vacation in Florida, but I never traveled west beyond Texas. That said, I don’t really remember there being any ill will towards anyone outside of Louisiana. Cajuns are mostly a live and let live bunch.

  8. hrhkat – if you do, open a chain, make them *real* Cajun restaurants! Most of the stuff outside Louisiana is just spicy-for-spicy’s-sake, or Creole, or both. In other words, the food approaches being Cajun in name only in many cases – we need some quality control standards… 😉

  9. We need to start a Cajun tasting guild. Send a coonass to each new restaurant to certify them with a ‘Cajun Inside’ stamp of approval. Think of it as the Michelin Guide, except we hand out crawfish tails instead of stars.

  10. I like your certification plan! I hate when friends who live in other states want to take me to a “cajun” restaurant – and it’s so pathetic I want to cry. My favorite is when they take a buttload of pepper and dump it on a chicken breast and call that “cajun chicken” oh goodness.

    and I’ve found that great shrimp poboys are always at gas stations. (or at least here- they are- Danny & Clyde’s in the NOLA area- or Johnny’s in the French Quarter)

    oh, and the grocery store near my house makes kick ass ones as well.

    I haven’t been to the aquarium since I was in high school. Maybe I should go back one of these days.

  11. There is a “chain: Cajun restaurant here in Houston (Sugar Land) called Razoo’s. ( http://www.razzoos.com/ ) I grew up in Vinton, and my parents and extended family are all from Turkey Creek. I know good Cajun food. This is like MawMaw’s cooking.

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