WASHINGTON, La. — The names in these parts — on businesses, on gravestones and in the phonebook — are Thibodeaux, Fontenot, Terrebonne, Soile, Ardoin, Dupuis, and that’s just a sampling.
The favored brand of coffee is Community Dark Roast. On the menus in the cafes are gumbo, shrimp po boy sandwiches, rice and beans, catfish and Tater Tots. A popular seasoning is Slap Ya Mama.
We’re deep into Cajun country in southern Louisiana.
Monday’s ride of 54.65 miles from Oberlin to Washington took us through the rice fields of Evangeline Parish to Mamou, which calls itself the “Cajun music capital of the world,” then on to Ville Platte, where Slap Ya Mama is made.
The label on a container of Slap Ya Mama’s says that Evangeline Parish is home of the Cotton, Smoked Meat, Gumbo, Boggy Bayou, Swine and Cajun Music festivals.
Several of the riders in our cross-country caravan stopped in Mamou for an early lunch of grilled shrimp po boys at Maxie’s Cajun Diner, which is next door to the Sixth Street Tavern. A sign in the doorway of the tavern said: “Please no motorcycles in the bar.” I wonder if they’ve had a problem with that.
According to Wikipedia, Mamou figures in the titles of several Cajun songs (such as “‘Tit Galop Pour Mamou” and “Valse de Grand Mamou“) and in the names of such bands as Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Mamou is also home of Fred’s Lounge, which features live Cajun music every Saturday morning for broadcast on radio station KVPI/1050 AM.