I am a “Thibodeaux” from East Texas. My husband, two boys, and I recently made a big move to South Louisiana. Imagine that! A “Thibodeaux” in “Cajun Country!” We miss our extended family and friends in East Texas like crazy but are enchanted by and loving Acadiana. It’s as though we’ve moved to another country! The culture here is so rich: we surely feel as we’ve moved to another part of the world. As the four of us continue to navigate life and make the Lafayette area our new “home,” here are some of the reasons why I love living in Acadiana:
The first day we moved in, our neighbors brought us over grilled chicken and mowed our yard! We quickly became best buds and have learned that the people here share a unique bond with one another. They want to know your life story and ask: Where do you come from? Who is your momma? Are you related to …? They connect to the community by cooking dinners, mowing each other’s lawn, babysitting, and hosting “Margarita Fridays.” One does not do life alone down here!
Growing up with a Cajun grandfather, I have had my fair share of gumbo. But gumbo over French fries? Yes, please! I saw this particular dish on the menu at a local restaurant and had to give it a try. My husband and I devoured it. That’s what you do here – you try new foods. And let me tell you, there is no shortage of unusual but deliciously satisfying delights in Acadiana. One thing I have not tried and pinky promise I never will try is crawfish. I just cannot do it. Never ever. But then again, you never say “never” in a place like South Louisiana!
Zydeco music, dancing, and parties! Life is bigger here! If someone wants to dance in the middle of a restaurant because their favorite song came on … they do. So have I (much to my boys’ embarrassment). When a hurricane threatens to head this way, a hurricane party is planned … along with home and safety preparedness, of course. And the dialect! I love learning new words and phrases unique to Acadiana. I also hear my grandfather’s voice as I listen to the locals with rich Cajun accents.
There is a natural beauty to South Louisiana unlike any I have seen. We’ve traded pine trees for hundred-year-old live oaks with moss that sway from their branches. The sunsets are incredibly full of color as if the sky is painted by the most brilliant artist. We’ve discovered the gardens at Avery Island and I can truly say that it’s like stepping into a beautiful world hidden behind a garden gate!
We are not quite a year “new” to the Lafayette area and cannot wait to see what the holiday season holds. We’ve been told that Christmas and Mardi Gras here are really spectacular. This I know: no matter the season, Acadiana is full of enchantment year round!