by Hannah Carlos & Mallory Matherne, co-features editors
There’s a reason people from South Louisiana love the saying “Laissez les bons temps rouler.” Down in the Bayou Region, the locals always let the good times roll. And if asked what makes up the heart of the Bayou Region, locals all give a different story.
Misty Rhodes of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou in Raceland said the locals’ heritage is unapologetic. “That’s just the way we are,” she says.
The good times really start rollin’ in the season of spring. Mardi Gras parades, delicious seafood, hunting wildlife and cooling down with flavorful snowballs are some things true locals do.
In the South, locals live their lives based on the season. In the Lenten season, the work week is concluded by going home Friday afternoons and getting the backyard ready for a weekly crawfish boil. Weekend mornings usually start before the sun comes up because that’s when the fish are biting. If locals aren’t hunting and fishing on a Saturday morning, they’re at the snowball stand getting a treat before they head to the camp for a day of recreation and relaxation.
A lot of the traditions in the Bayou Region are based off of good eatin’, good livin’ and good playin’. Most of the things locals do to pass the time involve food, drinks and music. Whether it’s a weekend lunch date with friends or even a funeral, everything down here becomes a celebration. Every meal has a beer with it, every award show is a reason to have a food-centered get-together and every Friday in the spring means foldable tables covered in newspapers with piles of crawfish.
Bayou entertainment means more than Mardi Gras season and crawfish boils. It represents a simpler way of living that connects family and friends at every gathering.
Jeanne Lirette, 70, said she recalls family gatherings occurring daily. She said the gatherings always involved seafood boils, dancing, drinking and quality time together. Although she was raised in the Bayou Region, Lirette was born in the Philippines and moved to South Louisiana at nine months old. Her parents met during World War II, tied the knot and moved to Louisiana after she was born. Lirette’s father owned a local seafood restaurant on the east side of Houma where she and her six siblings immersed themselves in the Bayou culture.
“Family time became a way of life for me,” Jeanne says. “That’s where your value is. Because Louisiana living is so simple, you were able to focus on the real value and treasure in life. Louisiana made it easier. The bayou region and entertainment influenced these beliefs instilled in my life, and it still affects the way that my family lives their lives today.”
Although Lirette has lived in the Bayou Region for most of her life, she said she could not imagine living anywhere else.
Megan LeCompte was born and raised in Houma. She has lived other places, but she said there was something so special about Houma that she could not find anywhere else.
“When my husband and I became pregnant with our first child, I knew I wanted my kids to grow up immersed in the same culture as I did,” said LeCompte. “I grew up fishing behind the house on weekend mornings, and now we have a bayou in the backyard so my boys can do the same.” LeCompte said, “I love having weekly crawfish boils and not having them be in celebration of anything, but having them just because we feel like it.”
The community and atmosphere of the Bayou Region allows locals and guests to fully immerse themselves in the food, life and culture that the area has to offer while making everyone feel like they belong. So “look at this” and come visit the bayou for a taste of the Southern culture that will always leave “Bon Moments” to remember for a lifetime!