Travel can be an insulator or a conduit. Whereas we may not get everything we want, we’ll always get 100% of nothing if we don’t invest in an experience. Like all things, our reward depends on the amount effort we put into an endeavor, relative to expectations.
The richness of travel is emersion into the culture of the area. We either learn of something new, we didn’t know we were missing, or find a new entry into the chapter of “I’ll never have to do that again”. Louisiana is a culture-rich state, steeped in language, music, food and beer. Lot’s of beer.
Our visit to Lafayette, Louisiana landed us in the middle of a week-long event called “Festival International de Louisiane”. A blending of Cajun French inspired music that was a cross between Bon Jovi meets Bedouin Monk and Earth-Wind-and Fire meets Garage Band; set up in a 5-block area of downtown Lafayette.
Four large stage areas, at opposite compass points around the city, boomed with music throughout the day as the tens of thousands of people cycled from venue to venue sampling food, drink and each other.
Being the nosy one, I asked a 30-something couple, whose four year-old daughter was perched upon her father’s shoulders, about the dual-language announcements being made over the sound system between bands. “Cajun French” I was told. Unlike Quebec, Canada, where Parisian French is the preferred and dominate language, Cajun French has been relegated to a generation gone by and, according to this couple, “…is dying out. When we were young, and in school, we were punished and looked down upon if we spoke Cajun French, so we just stopped”
It appeared that some of the young people in the audience, and every performer we heard on stage, still spoke the language. The revelry of the crowd ratcheted up a notch each time someone spoke in Cajun French; but I have no idea what they said.
There was a sponsor banner above one of the venues we stood with the words Fais Do Do in the lower right-hand corner. I asked a middle-aged couple behind me what that phrase meant. They said it was Cajun for “Dancing in the street”. Now that, I understand.
Our shell is moving and the Paisley Turtle is inching onward to New Orleans.