"Y'all come on down for the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival," came the invitation, in an easy, southern drawl.
Our Yankee friends reacted with universal incredulity to our plans to take in this big bash, held every Labor Day weekend in Morgan City, deep in the heart of Cajun country. "The what? Where? And what does shrimp have to do with oil, anyway!?"
Well, in fun-lovin' Cajun country, west of New Orleans, any excuse is excuse enough for a good party. Fairs and festivals celebrate cotton, sugar cane, and even sulfur, not to mention crawfish, crabs, and cochon de lait (roast suckling pig).
Heck, there are even frog and alligator festivals. And big town or small, they go all out for their festivals. From miles around, they come to kick up their heels to foot-stompin' Cajun, zydeco, jazz, and r&b, to savor all those wonderful Cajun culinary creations—jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo—and to live the Cajun credo: "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
The good times roll, urban-style, year-round and round-the-clock in New Orleans, which is all, unfortunately, most visitors ever see of Louisiana. The Big Easy is the perfect place to prep for big fun on the bayou, but conserve your energy for what awaits beyond the city limits. Once you've celebrated shrimp and petroleum, catfish, and gumbo, bayou-style, "N'awlins" will seem like icing on the cake.
For an exotic escape, without leaving the good old U.S. of A., you can't beat the bayous. Next time you're headed to New Orleans, make sure you take the road less traveled over to Cajun country for one of their fun-lovin' festivals. HG