#39 Nobody, Dat’s Who!

MSaints Logo - Fleur de Lisan, I thought I wuz done with dis bloggin’ stuff.  Thought dere wasn’t anything else good to write about.  And dat was mostly true, until the other day dat is.  See, cuz dat’s when this funny little thing happened.  You might have heard about it.  You know, when dem SAINTS WON THE WHOLE DAMN SUPERBOWL!!!  Wooooo Hooooo!!! WHO DAT?  WHO DAT? Nobody, DAT’s Who All You Hatin’ Couyons!!!  Oh pooh yaille,  I gotta sit down now.

Mais, if you not a Saint’s fan, then I’m sorry cher.  I’m not tryin’ to gloat or nothin’.  Dis long-time Saints fan knows what it’s like to be handed an ass whupping, and it don’t feel too good no.  I’m jus celebratin’ cause I’m happy like a guy who shot a 20 point buck on his wedding day.

Now, I’m not of those guys who likes to take credit for the winning of others, but you should know that me and my old lady and my cuz T-Boy prayed the rosary between plays (and sips of Natural Light).  And when we was down by 10, I started bargaining with the big guy himself.  I was like, ‘Come on Brah, you know we need this.  I tell you what – you give us this one and we promise to give up drinkin’ an cussin’ for Lent’.  My wife and Cuz, they shot me a face, but I told dem that’s the way it’s gonna be.  And not too long after that, the Saints, they come back and the rest is histoire.  Why, dis ole boy got so caught up celebrating that night I even picked up a few crunkin moves.  Things, they got so crazy, I laid a big kiss on Cuz’s lips by accident.  It was a little bit uncomfortable after dat, but then he punched me in the mouth and called me a big sissy and that was that.

Outsiders say dis makes up for Katrina, but I don’t know what these couyons are talking about, cause this has nothing to do with Katrina.  Ain’t no Superbowl fairy gonna come fly down and rebuild all dem houses that got all flooded and stuff.  We all a lil bit happier these days, but dat doesn’t mean it’s all good.

From now on, I’m hostin’ a  Saints Superbowl party every year.  Everybody’s invited!  And if my Saints not in it, that’s ok, we’ll just play dis one again (I got a copy for my video player).  My house, my rules.

#23 Po’Boys

Ask a Cajun what his favorite lunchtime meal is, and he’s likely to choose a po’boy, south Louisiana’s answer to the hero sandwich. What distinguishes a po’boy from its sandwich cousins is the French bread, flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s not a real po’boy if you aren’t wiping breadcrumbs off yourself after you’re done.

While bread may be king of the po’boy world, the ingredients can hardly be considered peasants. Po’boy shops live and die by the quality of their ingredients, the most common being fried shrimp, fried crawfish, fried catfish, fried oyster (see a pattern here?), and roast beef for the slightly more health conscious. After ordering a po’boy, the question that follows is “How you want your po’boy dressed, cheré?“. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about business casual here no. A fully dressed po’boy has tomatoes, pickles, onions, mayo, and shredded lettuce, though some places substitute shredded cabbage instead. Since a Cajun can never have too many carbs, po’boys are usually served with a generous side of homemade fries, and a pile of napkins, because a sign of a great po’boy experience usually includes having to wipe the juices running down your arms.

But wait, po’boys aren’t Cajun, they’re from New Orleans! That’s technically true, but after what New Orleans did with our gumbo (the tomato fiasco), we’re taking the po’boy for ourselves – consider dat a reparation. And if you New Orleans folks don’t watch out, we’ll go after your beignets next! Anyway, this is a blog about stuff Cajun people like, not stuff Cajun people invented, and the po’boy is a great idea no matter who came up with it first.

There are several competing stories about the origin of the po’poy. In one of the most popular tales, these cheap sandwiches were served to striking New Orleans streetcar workers, called “poor boys”, which was eventually shortened to po’boy. Another theory is that the name po’boy is derived from the French pour boire, or “peace offering”, describing the oyster loaf that men would bring home to their wives to make up for a night out on the town. Leave the debating to the historians, meanwhile, us Cajuns are going to keep shovin’ dem po’boys down our throats.

#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.

#7 Popeyes Fried Chicken

Popeyes Fried Chicken

Last Sunday, founder of Popeyes Fried Chicken Al Copeland died of cancer at the age of 64. Despite growing up poor in New Orleans, Al became a millionaire with his spicy fried chicken and buttery biscuits. Now I was gonna to get to Popeyes sooner or later, but it seems now that sooner is better. Rest in peace Mr. Fried Chicken Man.

Ask any Cajun what his favorite fast food place is, and 9 times out of 10, it’ll be Popeyes Fried Chicken. It’s got everything a Coonass needs. Biscuits. Check. Fried chicken, shrimp, catfish. Check. Red beans and rice. Check. Cajun rice. Check. Heart bypass…well you gotta go to the doctor for dat one.

In an age where other fast food places are putting salad and skinless boneless chicken breasts on their menus, Popeyes remains unapologetically deep fat fried. Go get your tofu and salad somewhere else little girl. And if you’re feeling adventurous (or possibly suicidal), visit the Popeyes mecca in Lafayette at the corner of South College and Pinhook, where you can eat yourself to death at their all-you-can-eat Popeyes buffet.

The best thing about Popeyes is that it’s franchised throughout the United States, giving Cajun transplantees a nice source of comfort food when they get a little lonely for their mama’s cookin’.