Thoughts on Cajun Country

Monday, March 09, 2009
Abbeville, LA

Abbeville and Cajun Country: Today was our last full day at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville. Our 7 day stop here has been a good one… no, an excellent one. We experienced much and have a much better understanding of the Cajun culture and way of life. If there’s one thing I’ll remember about Cajun country it’s the people… all very friendly and hospitable. Cajun’s have a saying that goes like this: “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” It’s Cajun French and is translated as “Let the good times role!” And that pretty much sums up the cultural attitude of people we’ve run into here. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Betty’s RV Park: If you’re looking for concrete pads, little grass patios, and lots of space between rigs, don’t stop at Betty’s. If you’re one who likes to stick to yourself, are not very social, and don’t thoroughly enjoy the company of other RV’ers, don’t bother to stop at Betty’s. But if you’re into good times, genuine-ness, learning about this part of the country, enjoying the simple things in life, and good conversation with interesting people, this is the place to be. Betty’s has a cult following and many serious fulltimers make sure to stop on a regular basis. Abbeville is smack dab in the middle of Cajun Country and it can be the base for Cajun explorations for a week, two, or a month. Most of the people we met here and really connected with have been here numerous times before — members of Betty’s frequent stayer program… some of them staying for a month — feeling it takes a month to really soak in the culture and take a break from the pressures of the outside world. And Betty works hard to make sure everyone in her park is comfortable and having a good time. It seems she knows everyone in the area and she can assist you in making decisions about what to see and where to go. She hosts a happy hour every afternoon promptly at 4:30 and there are usually snacks or goodies of some kind to munch on. Every once in a while, like this past Sunday night, she gets everyone together for a special event. This week it was a pot-luck dinner on the patio. It was grand and we enjoyed it immensely.

Food: gumbo, shellfish, jambalaya, bell peppers, onion, celery, beans, rice, chicken, po boy sandwiches… it’s all simple food made and served in a simple style. And it’s delicious. I can honestly say there was nothing I didn’t enjoy during our stay. Some new friends in the park invited us along today to Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant about 10 miles from Betty’s for a lunch-time shrimp po-boy sandwich. Suire’s has been at the same location, just a few miles south of Kaplan, forever. Nothing fancy here… it’s a family operation and they’ve survived this long by serving the best Cajun cuisine in the area. They’ve been featured in The New York Times and many other publications as one of the best Cajun places around.

Music: a big part of having a good time down here is music. We were introduced to Cajun music by the country’s largest builder of Cajun Accordions. We enjoyed Zydeco music at an extended Saturday morning breakfast. We attended a jam session of musicians at a little bar in the country that served dinner at no charge for all those that came to listen and dance. Let the good times role!

Tomorrow: In the morning we’re pulling up the jacks and driving about 150 miles east to New Orleans. What a change that’ll be. We have reservations at the French Quarter RV Resort just a few short blocks from Bourbon St. Oh boy, I’m not sure I’m ready for this!

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