Wow, I almost let Mardi Gras get by me without a post- I can't let that happen. One of my brother Vincenzo's army buddies is a guy from the heart of Cajun country whose family was adopted en masse by my family. My mom is very proud of her French heritage, so she immediately took a shine to la famille M_____, who were proud Children of Acadia. The père of the family is a lawyer who specializes in the byzantine property laws of an area characterized by changing watercourses, and most of his clients had agricultural interests (one client was a rice farmer who decided to diversify his business by raising crawfish in the flooded paddies). Needless to say, the man is an amazing cook- he made it a point to demonstrate his culinary skills to his various clients so they would be sure to bring him bushels of crawfish and shrimp whenever he threw a party. When I visited my brother Vincenzo at Fort Polk, the family came up from Lafayette Parish, jumbo shrimp and boudin packed in coolers. More important was the endless supply of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes- one characteristic of Cajuns is the ability to poke fun at their own foibles.
My brother's army buddy always got a kick out my Mamoun's Falafel Restaurant shirt, deliberately conflating "Mamoun" with Mamou (later on, he underwent an intensive Arabic language course at the Defense Language Institute- he can now order a falafel/baba ghanouj combo in Arabic. My personal favorite Cajun band is, appropriately enough, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Here's the band playing Bon Reve:
So, to the Cajun branch of the extended family, and to all of my readers, let me just say, laissez les bon temps rouler, mes cheres.