Thought for the day: Let the good times roll!
Boys and girls, we're gonna laissez les bons temps rouler in Louisiana.
What can I tell you about this fine state? In 1803, the United States paid France the paltry sum of fifteen million dollars for the Louisiana Purchase, which encompassed an area 828,000 square miles, and nearly doubled the size of the country. What a deal, huh? However, Louisiana didn't become a state until 1812, and since then, it's had eleven constitutions and five different capital cities. Guess lawmakers wanted to get it right, huh? In a nod to the state's French roots, Louisiana is the only state whose laws make reference to the Napoleonic Code.
And speaking for every restaurant we sampled in New Orleans, it is all GOOD, too. No, better than good. Excellent.
Whenever my hubby told me about an especially good dish he'd had on his business travels, I'd attempt to replicate it for us at home. Like the blackened red fish he raved about when he came home from Louisiana. I found what sounded like a great recipe, bought the fish, mixed the spices, and gave it a whirl. Ran into a major problem. The fish is dipped in melted butter and coated with the spice mixture ... no problem. Big iron skillet ... no problem. Skillet super-heated ... again, no problem. But when the fish is added to the super hot skillet ... big problem. I'm talking mind-boggling billowing clouds of thick smoke. So thick, you can hardly breathe. So much of it, the entire house filled with it. The smoke alarms screamed bloody murder, and I'm telling ya, if we would've had a sprinkler system, it would've immediately whammed into overdrive.
But the fish tasted awesome.
Lesson learned, though. All subsequent blackening was done outside.
If you're interested in some excellent recipes for genuine Cajun cooking, provided by a genuine Cajun gal, check out Marguerite's terrific blog. Her recipe for bread pudding with a caramel rum sauce is a killer. Best I've ever tasted.
As mentioned a couple months ago, New Orleans has a Voodoo Museum, but the state also has a host of other museums, too, like the National D-Day Museum, honoring WWII vets and their service, and the Confederate Museum.
Jackson Square is named after Andrew Jackson, who led the successful defense of the city in the 1812 Battle of New Orleans. You've probably heard about this battle, but did you know it occurred two weeks after the War of 1812 had officially ended? And it was another month after that battle before news of the war's end actually reached Louisiana. (No Internet back then.)
There are two kinds of music readily associated with Louisiana:
First, there's my personal favorite ... jazz. Preservation Hall, pictured at the left, was founded in 1961 to protect and honor New Orleans jazz, and though it may not be much to look at, the sounds emanating from this place truly stir the soul.
Don't believe me? Take a listen for yourself:
The other distinctive music of Louisiana is, of course, Cajun music, which is my husband's favorite. Mamou is the Cajun Music Capital of the World, and musicians who've played at the inauspicious Fred's Lounge have successfully expanded the audience for Cajun music far beyond Louisiana's borders.
Wanta hear a snippet of Cajun music?
This video gives a little background information about this most-haunted location:
Finally, before going on to pick on the laws, we've gotta say something about Mardi Gras, right?
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day of revelry before the next day's start of Lenten season. (Ash Wednesday) But did you know Carnival begins on the sixth of January? Beginning on that date, dozens of parades are held, until the celebration enjoys its last hoorah on the day of Mardi Gras itself. A multitude of different krewes host parades and/or balls throughout carnival season, and each krewe selects its own theme, costumes, and throws. Parade participants throw all kinds of things like beads, cups, doubloons, and stuffed animals. Since I'd never been there for Mardi Gras, I had the misconception that it was a bawdy, drunken party where questionable activities go on in exchange for a string of pretty beads. Not so. None of the parades even go down Bourbon Street, which is usually the center for those questionable activities and behaviors. The official parades and celebrations are actually family-oriented. And essentially, a Christian celebration.
Here's one last video, in case you'd like to take a peek at some highlights from the 150th anniversary of Mardi Gras, held in 2006. By the way, since 1875, Mardi Gras has been a legal holiday in Louisiana, so many high school marching bands participate in the day's parades.
Okay, time to take a look at some of the laws still languishing on the books in the fine state of Louisiana.
- "Fake" wrestling matches are prohibited. (No smackdowns there, huh?)
- Spectators at a boxing match may not mock one of the boxers. (Better pick on both of 'em, baby!)
- Stealing an alligator is punishable by up to up to ten years in jail. (But he matches my SHOES...!)
- Mourners at a wake can't eat more than three sandwiches. (Guess the hog jaws better grab a bite before attending.)
- Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and locked. (Does the snorer have to be IN the bedroom, or do you suppose it'd be okay to lock him OUT?)
- There's a five hundred dollar fine for having a pizza delivered to your friend's house without him knowing about it.
- It's illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the teller with a water pistol. (Really? The water pistol's the problem here?)
- Biting someone with your natural teeth is considered "simple assault." With false teeth, it's upgraded to "aggravated assault." (Sounds like blatant ageism to me.)
- It's illegal to gargle in public places. (But sometimes those crawdaddy heads leave such a nasty taste in your mouth ...)
- One can go to jail for up to a year for making a false promise. (Yipes! This one oughta fill the jail cells.)
- Prisoners who hurt themselves could serve an additional two years. (That'll teach 'em to fall out of bed.)
- In Jefferson parish, no one may pour a drink onto the ground at any drive-in movie. (Even if it's non-alcoholic?)
- And all garbage must be cooked before it can be fed to any hogs. (Those prissy pigs.)
- In New Orleans, no "Look, ma, no hands!" Every rider of a bicycle, tricycle, or other vehicle propelled by hand or foot must keep at least one hand on the handlebars of his machine while riding it.
- Tying your horse to a tree on the public highway is a no-no. (Guess you better stick with a fire hydrant.)
- You can't host a game of marbles on Lafayette Square without a written permit from the Parkway and Park Commission.
- Chasing fish in a city park is against the law. (Must be talking about those pesky walking catfish, I reckon.)
- Mardi Gras beads may not be thrown from a third story window. (Better go up a floor.)
- City commissioners drinking booze during a public meeting risk a fifty dollar fine. (However, boozing may be AOK for the spectators. Might even be recommended.)
- It's illegal to practice voodoo within city limits.
- Snakes aren't allowed within two hundred yards of a Mardi Gras parade route. (Does somebody provide them with maps?)
- It's illegal to toss condoms from a Mardi Gras float. (I'm not touching this one.)
- Sorry, but you can't tie your alligator to a fire hydrant. (Oh, rats. No trees. No fire hydrants. Better leave Allie at home.)
- And the last one for New Orleans, it's illegal for a woman to drive a car unless her husband is waving a flag in front of it.
- In Port Allen, only two people may picket on a sidewalk at a time, and they must stay at least five feet apart at all times.
Okay, it is finally time for (ta-DA!)
The Weirdest News Stories of the Week
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.