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					Cajun Country

A little bit south of Shreveport Louisiana and a little bit east of
Beaumont Texas, an area of this country that is one of the most
mysterious and exotic places to explore exists and that is the home of
the Cajuns in southern Louisiana. When one thinks of “Cajun Country”,
you naturally start to think about New Orleans. And to be sure, that
great city, despite the devastating damage done by the hurricane last
year, is home to some of the richest Cajun culture of the area.

But New Orleans is not the only location you can become lost in the
charms of this fascinating subset of American culture. The Cajun world
is indeed a culture all its own. As you listen to the way the natives of
this world talk, you will start to realize that somehow right here within
the borders of the good old USA, a virtual other world has grown up and
thrived for these many decades and centuries.

The history of the arrival of the Cajuns to southern Louisiana is a great
American story that is seldom told or understood. But it all started in
far away Canada when an influx of the French culture encountered
discrimination and hostility in that northern part of the world. When
the Canadian “hosts” proved to be most ungracious, these French
immigrants were “deported” and their ships finally came to rest in the
wild regions of southern Louisiana long before this area was civilized
and organized into a state. Over the decades the combination of French,
Creole, Spanish, and Indian and African culture resulted in this rich
amalgam that we now know as “Cajun”.

The Cajun people will seem strange and peculiar to those of us used to
what is normal to American standards. But let yourself be swept away to
this exotic world right here in America and you too will find yourself
slowly adapting to the Cajun lifestyle and point of view. You will find
that the Cajun and Creole cultures are profoundly friendly and there is
no day that is not a good day for a party in Cajun Country. In fact,
Cajuns celebrate everything that is worth celebrating including funerals
as they send off their dearly departed with a rousing jazz band and
relatives laughing and making joy to the tune of When the Saints Go
Marching In.

No review of the great things of the Cajun culture is complete without a
mention of the great food. Get your tummy ready for some of the most
exotic and stimulating foods you are ever likely to enjoy as you settle
in to a local diner in the heart of southern Louisiana. The Gumbo and
other uniquely Cajun dishes will sizzle the mouth and set your tummy to
tingling as well. But don’t panic when it seems your digestive system is
on fire. When those potent spices take hold in your blood, you will
enjoy the best night of sleep that you can remember.

You should come out of your sightseeing trip to Cajun country with a new
sound in your ears as well because the Cajun beats are unlike anything
you have ever heard before. It isn’t country, it isn’t blues, it isn’t
completely jazz and it isn’t bluegrass. It is all of those things and so
much more. So if you are pushing back from the table after a big helping
of fried crawdad and alligator tail, if the locals ask you if you want to
stay for the party, tell them yes so you can become immersed in the great
Cajun music that can only be had here in Cajun country.

One of the great things about sightseeing in America is that every area
of the country has its own unique flavor and culture for all of us to
enjoy. And Louisiana certainly has one of the richest and most diverse
cultures that has grown up in the swamps around Baton Rouge and New
Orleans. Giving yourself to the chance to experience these rich cultures
is just as broadening as travel to Europe, Asia or Africa. And it’s a
whole lot closer.


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