Would you want to come to the reception?" asked Robert Credeur. That question occurred at the end of our second meal at Chef Roy's Frog City Cafe in Rayne, LA, and our second conversation with Robert, the owner. We said we would be pleased to attend.
And so, this evening we attended Robert's sister's wedding reception at the Cafe. We felt very honored to have been invited after just meeting Robert, but he and the others whom we met this evening made us feel like distant relatives who had come to join in the celebration. What a wonderful experience!
We also met Jackie (of Jackie Callier and the Cajun Cousins), and in the course of the conversation, he said he could teach me to play the accordion (or at least one song) in three months. I just might take him up on that. He sure played the "diatonic melodeon" well.
But first there was Breaux Bridge (or Pont Breaux, as the sign over the bridge at the entrance to the town reads).
This town of about 8,000 people seems to have music venues in every block. One of its main restaurants with music every night is Mulate's, where we had hoped to spend more than one evening. However, Gustav had eliminated all chances to hear some fine music. The hurricane earlier this year was responsible for lifting the roof off the entire building. Its re-opening is scheduled for the day after we leave the area.
The boards cover the stained glass windows, while workers replace the lead strips around pieces of glass in the ornate windows in the St. Bernard Catholic Church.
One of the top places to hear music in downtown Breaux Bridge is Cafe Des Amis. This Saturday morning it was the Creole Cowboys who provided the entertainment. A zydeco band at 8:30 in the morning will effectively remove any cobwebs in one's brain. The core of the band remains the accordion and the frottoir (a washboard with shoulder straps, above), with additional rhythm provided by guitar and drums.
With words like "up-beat tempo" and "vibrant" used to describe it, zydeco is made for dancing--with words like "passionate" and "sexy" used to describe the dancing. Even this early hour did not slow the dancers. As you can see, there was little space for standing when we arrived at 9:30.
We were seated at a table with David and Denise, a couple from Melbourne, Australia. Conversation was limited because of the amplified music, but we did have time to compare travel plans. We also learned that the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz movie The Long, Long Trailer was called The Big Caravan in Australia. Oddly enough, we all knew this 1950's movie and the difference in terminology for one type of RV.
After the Cafe, we headed to The Coffee Break to listen to a group of local musicians. This Cajun music jam session was in marked conrast to the zydeco performance. The group played waltzes and songs for 2-step dancing.
I spoke to the accordionist at a break about one of the songs the group played. He identified it as Te Mon and said that his band The Cypress Bottom Boys would be playing at a local restaurant Monday night.
Kate had been talking to another woman about the lives of the musicians and some other local places to hear bands and to a man about his daughter and his retirement. So as we left, we made the rounds of good-byes to about half of the people in the small coffee shop.
We have met many, many wonderful people in Acadiana.