Abbeville was having a celebration. Located in Vermilion Parish ("The Most Cajun Place on Earth"), Abbeville was preparing for the celebration when we arrived early in the morning.
There were signs of Abbeville's history throughout the downtown area. This Rexall Drugs sign caught our attention, not having seen one for many years.
We arrived so early that the main street where the celebration was to be held was virtually deserted.
On the opposite side of the street, we found these two people also waiting for the crowds to appear. Later in the morning, we saw the gentleman checking with vendors and making program announcements.
On the corner of the main celebration street was the bank. Many vendors were located around the corner, and it was here that we met Paul Benoit, who was preparing what he claims is "the world's best jambalaya." Paul is a teacher in the industrial arts program at the local tech school and also enjoys his hobby--making jambalaya.
This pot will yield 150 pounds of that marvelous food in each batch. He explained his recipe and technniques to me while his two sons helped with the preparation.
He also told me the story of how he obtained this recipe and even told me what his secret ingredient is. Being entrusted with that information after only a 15-minute conversation was pretty amazing, so I couldn't possibly pass that along.
The aroma from the pot was so enticing that I had to have a bowl--even though it was only 10:00 a.m. The meat (Boston Butt and spicy andouille sausage) was done to perfection, the rice was cooked with the meat and seasoning so that with every bite I tasted all the flavors. And at the completion of each bite there was little spicy reminder (due to the seasoning and sausage) in the back of my throat. Wonderful.
Before the formal celebration began, there was a performance by the Berard Family Band. Al Berard was with The Basin Brothers when we first heard the group in New Orleans about 18 years ago. We caught them on about three other occasions on trips to this area many years ago and even heard them at the Kosciusko Polish-American Veterans Club in Philadelphia many years ago. It was good to hear him again.
Along with several food vendors, was a block devoted to classic cars. This 1931 Model A Closed Cab Pickup caught our eye.
I thought of my uncle Hank when I saw this 1943 Model LA John Deere tractor.
That pretty well covers the preparations for the celebration. Tomorrow we will cover the afternoon's events.
Let the procession begin.