Browsing CategoryThe South

vermilionville

A brief history lesson: Acadians came from French-speaking parts of Canada during the Louisiana Purchase. Before that, they’d been in France. So the French language permeated for decades in Southern Louisiana. Only, as it is prone to happen, people began to decide that this “backwoods” language shouldn’t be tolerated in America, and so efforts were made to squelch the language. I knew all of this, but learned even more when Mom and I visited Vermilionville, a living history museum dedicated to early Cajun culture. This photo illustrates how, if students in school in the late 1800s spoke French, they were…

louisiana cemetery

My grandfather on my mother’s side died before I was born. My main impression of him is a photo: in black and white, he stands next to a grill open to show a handful of baby chickens. As a child, I was horrified at the idea that he planned to cook them…until my mother explained it was a joke. Despite knowing he was buried in the cemetery next to the Catholic church in Church Point, where she grew up and where I still have family, I’d never been to his grave. On a recent trip with my mother, I asked…

The year I graduated and left Hot Springs, Arkansas, a magic show opened up downtown. I paid no mind to it when I came back to visit friends and family. Now I’m wishing I had. Twenty-two years later (man, I’m old), The Magic of Maxwell Blade is still serving up magic, but now it’s in a bigger and better venue: the historic Malco Theater. I’m pleased as punch that Maxwell Blade purchased and renovated this theater (to the tune of $1 million) because it’s a gorgeous gem of days gone by when movie theaters were a place you dressed up…

One of my absolute favorite things to do when traveling is go to the grocery store. Even in the US, you’ll find such diversity in products that you’ll feel like you’re in another country. That’s the case in Louisiana, where red pepper, pickled pig’sĀ feet, and frozen Cajun dishes fill the shelves. Where else can you buy pralines that someone’s aunt made at the checkout? I always stock up on Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning, Zapp’s potato chips, and maybe an Abita Beer Turbo Dog.