As our hotel was amazing, we spent the morning there swimming, blogging and doing laundry. The staff were so friendly and lovely that a) we got a 20 dollar discount on the price for booking another night and b) they gave us some of the birthday cake they were sharing for the birthday of one of the members of staff. They also had lots of great tips on what to do in the city and were extremely helpful. We started our day out with lunch at a local seafood place they had recommended:
I tried Acadian catfish with crawfish and Chris tried gumbo. Acadian is basically cajun. They were French Canadians who were expelled from Canada and worked their way down the coast, looking for a new home. Louisiana was the place that accepted them and they are s till here. The word cajun is ‘Acadian’ with the a taken off and a palatalization of the di, which is a common phenomena in language. It happens in English (and several other languages like Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and Polish) too in words like education and actually, where the du and tu sound like ju and chu for most speakers.
Gumbo is basically a soup with rice. Chris isn’t much into seafood, so he had the chicken and sausage gumbo, which he said was a lot like oxtail soup.
The highlight of the day was a complete accident. In our attempt to meet people or hear French, we went to a building at the University of Louisiana called la maison française. It was just a student welcome center, but even not being students, the woman at the desk was very welcoming. She told us about the university, which could in theory employ both of us as Chris has experience in university IT services and I teach adults ESL. She also told us the university has a swamp, yes, you read that right – a swamp. The swamp was extremely cool and full of life. We saw two more alligators and loads of turtles, which some lovely students we had a long chat with told us to the best of their knowledge, are not typically eaten by alligators. We also learned that hunting and fishing are indeed huge here. One of the two students was an avid hunter and said he would eat pretty much any animal in that swamp. They both loved living in Louisiana and recommended it:
For anyone interested, we learned that mainly the older generation speak French and use it to talk privately. It was banned in schools during their time, which unfortunately means they made an effort not to pass it on to their children, so most people we met knew some French words that had gone into Louisiana English, but no fluent speakers.
We did a bit of shopping after the university swamp and caught the end of a torrential rain shower that happened while we were in a Walgreens. The weather here is a bit like Florida, where it can be lovely and sunny, but it can also be muggy and then pour with rain.
We have very much enjoyed Louisiana and its lovely locals. It is definitely up there with South Carolina as one of our top two Southern states.
Check out the video: