5 Tips on surviving your first crawfish boil

Last week, I blogged about where to find boiled crawfish outside of South Louisiana. If you happen to be the friend or relative of a Cajun, you just might find yourself at a crawfish boil and feel a bit out of place. This post is meant to prepare you for what to expect, how to dress and how best to wash your hands after peeling boiled crawfish.

5 Tips to Surviving your first crawfish boil (1)_opt

Ready, set…here we go! Continue reading

Where to find boiled crawfish outside of Acadiana

If you’re a native Cajun, you know the familiar roar of the propane burner, the smell of crawfish boil seasoning wafting through the air and taste of delicious, freshly boiled crawfish. You’re very aware of when “Crawfish season” wraps up and around this time of year, you’ve got the envie for some crawfish. Yeah, I know the jealousy that sets in when you see your facebook friends posting pictures of large, delicious crawfish and there’s a feeling in your gut – you miss home. You want to be transported back there. Immediately. You won’t be happy until you have some hot, boiled crawfish and an ice cold beer.

Where to find boiled crawfish

Where to find boiled crawfish outside of Louisiana

Gee, how did I know? I know because I’ve been there. While I’m lucky to live in Atlanta, where there are a number of transplants from Cajun country, finding good boiled crawfish outside of South Louisiana can be a challenge.

To help you get your crawfish fix, I surveyed bonafide Cajuns from around the country and found some great suggestions on where to find crawfish all around the US. If you know of a spot that I missed, please email me and let me know. I’ll update this post as often as necessary.

Bon Appetit!

Atlanta, GA

Adele’s on Canton – this is my neighborhood Cajun restaurant and I highly recommend not only their boiled crawfish, but also their etouffee’ and beignets. They’ve been known to have all you can eat boiled crawfish on weekends – follow them on Facebook to be notified of any specials. They also have a crawfish eating contest in early June each y ear.

1169 Canton Street | Roswell, GA | 30075 | 770-594-0655 Continue reading

A Cajun documentary nearly 30 years in the making….

Through a wacky series of events, I had an experience a few weeks ago that left me speechless. Let me tell you the story of 30 years of activities that culminated into a single experience that confirmed that the path that I’m on is where I’m meant to be. Grab some popcorn and settle in for a good ol’ Cajun tale.

It’s no secret that I love arts & crafts, but I LOVE to sew – it’s likely my favorite crafty medium.

Because of my love of sewing, I’m a member of the American Sewing Guild (ASG) and as part of our Atlanta ASG Chapter, we’re affiliated with the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance organization (SEFAA). SEFAA has some really excellent shows, classes and demonstrations and since I’m a group leader in ASG, I also get SEFAA emails. In February, SEFAA sent out an email that caught my eye – they listed an upcoming screening of the film “Coton Jaune: A Cajun love story” – I looked at the description of the documentary and watched the trailer and I and thought “Yeah, right. How can this Cajun tradition exist and I haven’t heard of this? I was born + raised in the HEART of Cajun Country and I’ve never heard Acadian Brown Cotton. Could something this important really exist and me not know about it?”, but something whispered in my soul “Desi – you should go.”  So, I emailed a few friends, tried to drum up some folks to come with me (even other Cajuns that live in Atlanta) – no one responded. I was on my own.

Coton Jaune - a documentary about Acadian brown cotton

Coton Jaune – a documentary about Acadian brown cotton

The day of the film screening came and since I’d paid my entry fee, I decided I’d go – what did I have to lose? I was still a bit skeptical about this tradition I’d never heard of, but I went with an open mind. I walked into the building, knowing no one, but seeing a group of knitters working on projects they’d brought with them. These were my people – I’d fit in with these folks — a sigh of relief. I must say that SEFAA folks are a very lively, friendly and creative bunch. Continue reading

The power in connecting with your tribe

I’m probably the only goofball that takes a vacation day from my full time “day job” so I can use that day to work on my business. Yes, you read that right – I took a day off of “work” to work.

However, this was a must attend event for me. I needed a kick in the pants to get fired up about The Creative Cajun and boy did I get it! The 2 day workshop featured lectures and small group coaching time with 4 very successful mentors. The event was named “2×4 Live” (2 days with 4 mentors). No, it’s not a piece of lumber – I know how you Cajun folks think…

2x4 Event 2016 Event Header

2×4 Event 2016 Event Header

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How Can I Help?

It’s been a while since I last posted to this blog and for that, I apologize. Let me just say that my personal life has been crazy and I’d rather not say much more than that at this time. Maybe someday I’ll share some of the lessons learned in the past year on this blog, but today doesn’t feel like the day.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.; and what I should do and can do, by the Grace of God, I will do.

What has been on my heart & mind is what’s going on with Louisiana’s oil and gas industry lately. Anyone who is familiar with life in South Louisiana knows that the oil & gas industry is the main driver of the economy in the region. With oil prices being so low at the moment, many companies are cutting their US production resulting in job losses across the board. This hardship has affected my family as well. Even though I’m not living in Louisiana, it saddens me greatly to see my family and friends struggling. Knowing that the oil & gas industry can be volatile, this doesn’t surprise many of us. When things are good, they’re great. However, when they begin going south, it happens quickly and affects just about everyone in the region.

All I can keep thinking is “How can I help?”. So, I want to ask that question to you. I need your feedback & input. What would help you better navigate through this difficult period?

I am happy to share my skills, experience and direct you to resources that may help you in acquiring and strengthening those skills that may help you find employment in another industry. I’ll share my ideas of complementary jobs that may fit your skill set. I’ll be happy to review and give resume advice if necessary as well as navigating job boards, creating a profile on LinkedIn, etc.

Creativity doesn’t just apply to arts & crafts. The “Creative” in The Creative Cajun also applies to finding creative solutions to everyday problems. I hope that I can be of assistance in generating some creative solutions to help tide you and your family through this tumultuous oil & gas economical downturn. Continue reading

Lafayette Strong: Proud to be Cajun

I’ve always been proud to be born & raised in Acadiana. This last week has illustrated just why I love my hometown.

When I heard about the shooting in Lafayette last Thursday, my heart sank. At first I was in denial, convinced that the breaking news I was reading on Twitter was a mistake. I started texting my family members to check on them. They were all okay, but I still couldn’t sleep. Acadiana will always hold a special place in my heart and that’s painfully evident during a tragic event.

This Louisiana prayer flag banner hangs in my soap studio. It was printed by Parish Ink and sold at Red Arrow Workshop. Jillian, one of the victims of last week's shooting helped found both of these businesses.

This Louisiana prayer flag banner hangs in my soap studio. It was printed by Parish Ink and sold at Red Arrow Workshop. Jillian, one of the victims of last week’s shooting, was a co-founder of both of these businesses.

The first real experience of watching a place I dearly love suffer was during the 2005 hurricane season. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the coast along Louisiana & Mississippi in the span of a few weeks.   Continue reading

When tragedy strikes your hometown

Last night, tragedy struck the place where my heart lives – Lafayette, LA. When something like this happens in a place that you don’t know well, it’s easy to send prayers, support and keep moving on with your life. When it happens in a place where the majority of your family lives, where you have so many memories and where your heart lies, it’s a whole different experience.

The Acadiana Flag + LOVE

The Acadiana Flag + LOVE

I remember grieving after my father died. I got the news around 3AM and I thought “Let me get some sleep and then I’ll drive to Lafayette.I’ll be thinking clearer in the morning. There’s nothing I can do at this point anyway.” (I lived in Baton Rouge at the time – about a 45 minute drive to Lafayette). I was physically ill all night from the grief. I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I was in a fog. When grief like this occurs, it’s amazing that you can feel that your whole world is falling apart and the rest of the world keeps turning. It’s mind boggling, but oddly reassuring at the same time.

For months and months after my father’s death, I’d try to sleep and wake up and think “Wow, I had this awful dream – that Poppa died of a heart attack” and then I’d realize that it was reality – it had actually happened. I’m having a similar experience tonight when trying to sleep. I keep waking up thinking this was all a bad dream. I wish it were – as so many do.

Tonight, I find myself recalling so many memories of the location of this senseless tragedy. The movie theater was once a GIANT supermarket called “The Real Superstore”. I remember how you’d have to deposit a quarter to get a grocery cart and that was a highlight of our trips there.  I recall the store being HUGE and it seems like you’d get lost in there for days while shopping. It was an epic grocery shopping experience. That’s my most succinct description of the place.   Continue reading

An unexpected gift that’s lasted generations

A few years ago, one of my first cousins on my father’s side of the family informed me that she’d found a book that my father had given his mother back in the 70’s. She asked if I would like to have it and that my father wrote a personalized note in the front cover.

Not really knowing what the book was about nor its history, I gladly accepted her offer to send it to me. What arrived was so much more than I anticipated. Both my father and paternal grandmother passed away many years ago, and this gift that was given to TaLa (my grandmother) has now become a gift to me 40 years later. What a treasure.

The cover of "Apples of Gold"

The cover of “Apples of Gold”

Upon receipt of the book, I was stunned to see my father’s handwritten note on the opening cover. The date at the bottom is 1975 – a few years before I was born. At the time of this gift, he was attending law school and he and my mother were living on a meager income with 2 children while he invested in educating himself so he could provide better for his growing family.

My father's note to his mother - from Christmas 1975

My father’s note to his mother – from Christmas 1975

The quotations in this book are pure gold. None of them credit an original author, but a note from the compiler of these quotes wrote in the beginning of the book: “Do not inquire as to who said this, but pay attentions to what is said”  <–tweet this–> Continue reading

What being Cajun means to me: Friendliness

As I outlined in a previous post, I’m writing a series of blog posts about what being Cajun means to me – the traits typically found people who identify with the Cajun culture. In previous posts, I blogged about resourcefulness and our joie de vivre, the importance we place on family and our resilience. This week, I’d like to discuss our friendly nature.

Cajuns demonstrate their friendliness every day

Cajuns demonstrate their friendliness every day

For those of us who grew up in Acadiana, we understand how friendly and outgoing other Cajuns are – it’s not uncommon to make a friend while you’re standing in line at the grocery store. Hell, if you’re in line for hours at the DMV, you might just leave with a new best friend. You’ll likely have each other’s family history and discussed whether you know each other’s relatives.  I’d imagine the conversation might go something like this:

“Mais chere – do you know that Hebert family from Abbeville? Well, that’s my first cousin, yeah.”

“Oh yeah? Well, we went to high school together and my best friend married his brother”

Yes, we are that friendly – pretty much all the time.    Continue reading

12 Tips on what to expect at a Cajun wedding

Since moving away from Lafayette so many years ago, I’ve attended a number of weddings and it quickly became obvious to me that Cajun weddings are not “typical” – we have some traditions that other cultures don’t necessarily follow. To inform those not in the “know”, I thought I’d put together this handy guide about some things you may see or experience at a Cajun wedding

Our weddings are casual, fun and likely involve plenty of alcohol – and that’s just a start.

The chapel at Acadiana Village in Lafayette - a great venue for a wedding

The chapel at Acadiana Village in Lafayette – a great venue for a wedding

1. There is no “dress code”

You may wear anything from jeans and cowboy boots to a suit if you wish. No one will look at you like you’re not dressed appropriately. No pretentious people here, that’s for sure.

2. Food is served buffet style

Cajun weddings have no assigned seating and serving of formal, plated dinners. The best part is that you get to choose what you want to eat from the buffet, when you want to eat it and go back for seconds if you’d like. No judgement.

Table decorations at a traditional Cajun wedding - simple, no seating or table assignments

Table decorations at a traditional Cajun wedding – simple, no seating or table assignments

3. No assigned seating and table assignments

Since the meals are served buffet style – there’s no assigned seating at tables. You can sit where you like and even change seats during the evening. There’s no forced conversations between people you hardly know and no fussing about who will sit at which table or having to create place cards for each guest.   Continue reading