Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Contraband, Cajun Food and Music, and Crawfish!

Continuing with the A to Z Blogging Challenge, the letter of the day is C.

Here in Lake Charles, we have a wildly popular two-week festival called Contraband Days, which celebrates PIRATES! From a historical context, Jean LaFitte was a notorious local pirate. According to legend, LaFitte hid buried treasure along the banks of Calcasieu River bayous. Festival begins April 28.

Arrrggh, matey!

One of the highlights of the Contraband Festival is the Tour LaFitte bicycle ride. I've participated in this event three times. You can read my posts about that bike ride here and here.

Bob and I and our "bicycle built for two."

Here's a fun video about Contraband Days, where the pirates make our mayor walk the plank!

Sponsored by the Lake Charles Chapter of the Cajun French Music Association, the Cajun Food and Music Festival will take place July 15-16. This was one of the first festivals my family and I attended, back in our 2007 "summer of immersion." Everything Louisiana-related was so brand new to us then. We learned about Cajun music, mesmerized by the dancers. We ate new-to-us foods like gumbo and jambalaya and banana pudding. I was fascinated and excited for the opportunity to experience, truly, a completely different culture from anything I'd ever known. Cajun food, music, arts and crafts -- it was a wonderful introduction to our new home. Read more about this festival here.

One of the most challenging things we had to learn upon moving to Louisiana was how to peel and eat crawfish. There are several techniques, and it's an acquired and necessary skill if you live in La. Breaux Bridge is known as the Crawfish Capital of the World. They've been hosting the annual CrawfishFestival since 1960. This year, the event is scheduled for May 6-8. Over thirty bands, mostly cajun, zydeco, and swamp pop, will entertain the crowds. And of course, food. Fried, boiled,in étouffée,bisque,boudin, jambalaya, and crawdogs. Who knew crawfish could be prepared so many different ways! In addition to food and music, you'll experience crawfish races, crawfish eating contest, dance contests, étouffée cook-off, parade, and carnival rides. I've not been to this festival, but I did do a crawfish drive-through shack crawl one Sunday afternoon. You can read about that adventure here.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow you'll read about a duck festival.


A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Okay I'm curious... what exactly is a crawfish race?... :D
Also, I never realized there were so many festivals in Lake Charles! :D The pirate one sounds fun...

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
The Multicolored Diary

Claire Annette said...

What an awesome celebration! Looks like lots of fun.

We actually have a crawfish festival in out town but with the drought here in California, we haven't had enough crawfish for the last couple of years.

Stopping by from Pam's Unconventional Alliance

Common Household Mom said...

Wow, that's a lotta sea critters on that plate. Hooray for the Pirates! (both kinds)

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Tarkabarka, I have never witnessed a crawfish race, but I doubt they move too fast. Claire, I had no idea there were crawfish in California!