#4 LSU Football

LSU FootballCajuns love them some LSU football, and for good reason. As the reigning 2007 NCAA Division 1-A champion and a share of the 2003 title, LSU is a national football powerhouse. This football team is a source of Cajun pride in a state where it’s usually bad news to get mentioned on CNN (worst education, poverty, etc).

If you ask the average Cajun what LSU was, they’d probably say it’s a football team, and not a state university. Considering the amount of money poured into the team, this assessment probably isn’t that far off base.

It’s not uncommon for the most rabid LSU fan to have never even visited LSU’s Baton Rouge campus. Hell, some of its most rabid fans actually went to wanna-be rival school ULL, or didn’t go to college at all.  That’s cause Cajuns don’t need college to understand LSU football kicks serious ass.

A Cajun man’s biggest dilemma is whether to watch the LSU game, or go hunting. Usually, the deer can wait.

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#3 Rice

JambalayaNo ingredient is more essential to Cajun cooking than rice. Cheap and abundant, impoverished Cajun settlers were able to feed their large families with this staple. But don’t start thinking of buttered rice or rice Pilaf…to hell with dat. We’re talking about rice and gravy son. Give us our crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, sauce piquant, and just about anything else we can cover it with. If there’s nothing heaped on top of it, bring it back…we don’t want it. And Cajuns don’t buy rice in those skinny 5 lb bags you see in the rest of the country. Give us the 20 lb sack of rice.

Rice is such a big part of Cajun culture that we have a yearly festival dedicated to the greatness of rice. Here’s a tip about Cajun people for future reference: If there’s a festival for it, we probably like it.

#2 Lent

CrucifixCajun people love Lent, the 40 days of repentance and fasting that lead up to Easter. More specifically, Cajun Catholics love lent, but since the majority of Cajuns are Catholic, I’ll use the two interchangeably. Forty days may sound like a lot of sacrifice, but after the pure debauchery of Mardis Gras kicks off the Lenten season, Cajuns actually need 40 days of repentance and fasting, and there’s nothing Cajun people love more than asking each other “What did you give up?”. Mostly we give up small things like chocolate, candy, or swearing, but some crafty Cajuns build loopholes right into their penance like “I gave up all candy but chocolate.”

Each Friday during Lent, Catholics are asked to give up meat, and only eat seafood. This is the equivalent of asking a child to skip dinner and only eat dessert. Sure, we may put on a pained expression, but how miserable can a Cajun be when he’s shoving seafood gumbo or crawfish etoufee down his gullet?

Sure, the whole Jesus-dying-on-a-cross thing might be a downer, but everything else about Lent is all good.

#1 Community Coffee

Community CoffeeStarbucks may have taken over the rest of the world, but here in South Louisiana, the only real coffee is Community Coffee, and I’m not even being paid to say this. As a Louisiana product that’s been around 88 years, it’s the closest thing to an official state coffee that Louisiana has. We even serve it to visitors at our state rest areas. Made from 100% Arabica beans, it’s no over-roasted pretender to the throne son, it’s the King.