The Big Day – Mamou!

Tuesday, February 8

So on Mardi Gras, we slept in (hey, we got in from New Orleans around 4 AM) till about 11, then went to a Chinese buffet with Chris, Patrick, Ross. Waiting for Jacky and Derrick to wake up… er um I mean… yeah you didn’t see that. Waiting for Jacky and Debra and Derrick to meet us so we could leave, I mean. Yeah. So we figured out that one channel on the TV actually shows the front gate. Or what would be the front gate if there was a physical gate….

Yes. so we see Debra’s Short Bus rocketing through toward the apartment and we’re ready to go when they arrive. Oh – bit of trivia – the password for the weekend was “does McDonalds serve Red Bull and vodka at 7 AM?” – apparently an allusion to the Ok-State friends that visited earlier in the month.

So we head off to Mamou, which is about a 2.5 hour drive. We left at about… oh, say 2. So we get there around 4:30, maybe closer to 5. I’m crammed in Patrick’s one-layer pickup, fortunately it’s an automatic so I wasn’t as smushed as that time Emily, Juanita, Amy, Mom and I went in the old Ranger to the teen conference…. Yeah. Definitely squished.

So we get there, with a few little fun sightings along the way, like “Speedy Vasectomy Reversals” and ” and Sons Taxidermy” billboards. Oh, and the frantic pit stop at the hotel… yeah, we’re staying here. In nowheresville. So we get on the nowheresville road to Mamou. And we park. After trying to find spots in a bank parking lot. And stuff. There’s a guy chilling out in the parking lot dancing around to the rap music in his car… and kids running around. We realize as we start walking that we’re on the black side of town … seriously. And it’s not the kind of town where it’s just the dregs of history. Nope. It’s still totally segregated. Different grocery stores and all. So we make it to a crossroad and suddenly it’s the traditional country Mardi Gras with zydeco music and everything. The cross street is apparently the line dividing the black and white sides of town. Crazy – I didn’t realize that it was still so obviously segregated… damn. Human nature is messed up.

We got there just in time for the parade.
Which consists of pickups, flat trailers, and horses. All crawling with drunk Cajuns. I mean DRUNK. Falling off their horses and trucks and trailers, with their empty beer cans hanging off the windshield wipers. And everyone’s carrying chickens. I guess the traditional celebration includes letting the chickens loose in the town and chasing them… so that they can cook ’em up for the community gumbo later. I’m not sure that they actually did the gumbo thing, but certainly a couple chickens met their doom… and got drunk along the way.

  • Guy falling off the trailer.
  • Guy falling off the pony. I mean pony! Come on! It’s what, a whole foot off the ground?
  • Guy riding behind the saddle
  • Guys standing up to surf on their saddles.
  • Guy riding sidesaddle on his horse’s butt, beer in one hand, and tapping his horse’s neck and pointing, saying “I wanna go that way”… and the horse started to turn for him.
  • Guy in fake boobs and butt riding his horse in a really screwed up way RIGHT IN FRONT OF A BILLBOARD FOR AN OB-GYN! Hilarious.
  • Some of the costumes look like dyed/modified ex-Klan robes… SCARY.
  • Drunk chickens. Drunk guy in chicken costume. Weird stuff.
  • Cute pony that looked like a roaned out chestnut version of Chip. 😦
  • Beer cans on windshield wipers.
  • Port-A-Potty on a trailer, with couches and coolers of beer. I guess some natives are smarter than others…
  • People getting into trucks along the parade route – truly a homegrown celebration.
  • THE GUY IN THE THONG OVER HIS PANTS! He was a recurring spectacle… and as we went along he lost his jacket and hat… and started pinching his nipples. Wow. Oh. My. God. Sooooooo wrong!
  • Little kids running around with beer. Feeding beer to chickens. Putting beads on chickens. WOW.
  • Jacky and her friend figuring they were in hicksville so they’d better fight like they wus on Jerry Springer or somethin.
  • “Family Video and Other Things”

I called my dad so he could hear the zydeco music. Quotes that had my companions rolling in hilarity. “Everything bad you’ve heard about Cajuns… it’s true in this town” and “they have electricity here” and “they’re getting chickens drunk! Kids too!” and “Oh. My. God.” … wow …

And the guy with the chicken. Headless chicken. Completely plastered. His eyes wouldn’t even focus. He shows Ross the chicken, then throws the head at his camera. He says “I’m just showin’ some furriners what us Cajuns do…” and throws the head and then says “ooops I didn’t mean to do that… oooh beer!” as his mom (?) hands him another can. EW!

Had dinner at a local cafe. Ross had alligator — I was broken after the chicken head and had a catfish po’boy (think sandwich). Most everyone else had crawfish. The water was sooooo bad. I didn’t even try it – I saw Patrick and Ross gagging. I swear it was radioactive. On our way back to the cars, I swear we saw a few drug deals going down as we passed back through the town.

Then we stop by a gas station. There’s a sign saying “no masks” and we figure folks must use the Mardi Gras masks as a disguise for carrying off things… yeah.

Then. Then, then, then. The Boudin. It’s a sausage casing filled with rice and beans and stuff and spice. Lots of spice. It broke Ross. I just had yummy hushpuppies. But Ross… Ross broke. Maybe it was the Mamou water. Maybe it was the chicken head. Maybe it was the boudin.

Anyway… we’re finally on our way back to Baton Rouge and Ross is bouncing around in the pickup going “boudinboudinboudin chickenheadchickenheadchickenhead…. mmmmayyyybeee I shoulda kept it and sent it to my 4-H dude like in the godfather and oooh I should make necklaces of the chicken heads and sell them and stuff and wow they’re better than beads!” and other such gems. We broke Ross.

We broke Ross.

Ross is the silent one. The quiet, well-behaved, chivalrous-to-a-fault polite fellow who drives Sandy crazy with his antics. Ross never ever says a word out of line. Ross dances around questions and doesn’t really answer them. And we broke him.

We stayed up all night. Made a run to Blockbuster, then Wal-Mart (Red Bull! Souvenirs! Beads! Malfunctioning checkout things! Weird clerks! Yay!), then the coffee-&-beignet place… and got pics with the dude who gave us about 2 POUNDS of beignet’s when I just ordered the tiny bag… and a large latte. Mmmmmm cooffffeeeeeeeee javajavajavabuzzbuzzbuzz. Er. Yeah. So we watched Napoleon Dynamite (which was sooooo painful and yet everyone quotes it) and part of Van Helsing (Van Halen!) before Jacky picked us up around 4 AM for our 6 AM flights. And then we arrived in Pittsburgh and all was drama. All. ALL. But that’s for another entry. Yay!

~ by jackelopette on February 22, 2005.

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