FRIENDS CAFE: Zydeco 2, Gumbo and Shrimp Galore!

Today, I got to take in a bit more of Zydeco in a slightly different context. I also partook of mounds of food in a local establishment, something I always wish to do whenever I travel.

Sunday, December 28

7:30 AM: We have already decided that today would be a relatively slow starter, since the previous two called for us all to rise so early. Given my sleep issues when o the road though, it’s not surprising that I am still awake by this time. Not to mention the need, as usual, to go ahead and put the hearing aids in so I can know if I am being summoned for some reason. I can’t sleep with them on, but don’t wanna be in la-la land if, say, they call me for breakfast.

So, I fire up the early Jazz station again on Pandora and read more of the Lous Armstrong book for about an hour. It feels good to just relax against the pillow in an unhurried way.

At about 9, we gather for coffee. She also makes biscuits, serving them with fig jam which I had never tried but liked well enough. We are each given three, and the guy eats all of his before I have completed my first one. Yeah yeah I know, I eat slowly. I think maybe my stomach has shrank or something. Life as a bachelor?

I go and grab a quick shower, and at around 11 we decide to attempt to watch God is Not Dead on Demand, because they both really want to see it. She searches high and low for close to an hour, can’t find it iuntil practically giving up, locates it, then decides we will go ahead and catch it at another time. This is because we want to get out for a little while and enjoy more Zydeco at a place in Lafayette called Vermilionville.

We leave for this venue, again under drippy skies, around 1 PM. Both this and last year’s winter vacations saw very little if any sun, actually, but I guess that’s mostly to be expected during these months. The village-type establishment is located right across the way from Lafayette Regional Airport.

First, we pass through a little store, where we are given wrist bands that will allow us admission. Then, in a courtyard between the store and bar, we see a giant pot that had been used to haul sugar cane but is now full of soil and little plants. I think she says there are also other bits of scenery out there as well, little houses and the like.

Inside of the place where the performance is happening, I sit at a table and suck down a Corona. People are dancing here, but it’s not the same kind of happy-go-lucky crowd as had been at Café des Amis, so I mostly just take in the music and allow my mind to wander down whatever path those tunes take me.

We are listening to Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band,

and I enjoy them well enough. The show lasts till approximately 4 PM, by which time my bladder is nearly bursting. We start a running joke that if I even wish to carry a bottle of water with me into the car we’d need a urinal as well. I don’t know, it’s just that water and beer zip right along the pipelines and need removing quite regularly.

Before leaving, I get to meet Chubby Carrier himself, pictured here,

Assuming I know what I'm doing, this should be me and Chubby Carrier

Chubby Carrier

and discover that he regularly performs in and enjoys Charlotte.

“Yeah, I go to a place called Double Door all the time,” he says: “those people love Zydeco there!” I’ve heard of the Double Door, but have never actually been there.

After this, we make our way over to a restaurant called Don’s Seafood Hut. The place is nearly silent when we enter, but quickly becomes busy when a party of 25 shows up at once and nearly overwhelms the servers.

This meal comes in parts. First, I eat some buttery bread. Then onion rings with a special dipping sauce who’s name I can now not remember, but that I find quite tasty. Next, I have a piping hot cup of chicken and sausage gumbo. Ah, don’t that feel good going down! My extremeties in particular are still cold from the day’s weather, so I revel in that feeling and flow of warmth that radiates from my belly outward. And finally, I opt for shrimp and fries. The menu states that the shrimp are the big ones with tails, but the kids menu features popcorn shrimp. So, she asks the server if we can substitute the little ones for the big ones and I could get a regular serving size of these, and the server agrees. Not that I really need a regular serving size, as that turns out to be huge! I only manage to consume about half of them before I am bursting at the seams.

After that fantastic meal, it takes me a minute to wrench myself back out of the booth. I half roll myself out to the car, through the now slightly more insistent rain, and we head back home. On the way, I check the scoreboard and discover that my Carolina Panthers are putting the smackdown on the Atlanta Falcons, a game they would ultimately win 34-3 to clench the NFC South Division title and a trip to the playoffs with a sub-.500 record. I of course brag about this on Facebook, noting that I am “proud to announce from Saints territory”. She is a Saints fan, and so mockingly threatens to throw me outside to sleep in that insistent rain. Ha, ha, ha.

And that basically makes up Sunday, all in all a nice day. We just take it easy from then on, watching an episode of 60 minutes and continuing the chatter to which I have been looking forward on this trip. Everyone begins filtering out to do his or her own thing by 9, so I climb the stairs and settle in with my book and the night-time football game until sleep begins its gentle tug.

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