In addition, with all the national attention visitation at Lafayette Pro Fiber by folks outside Acadiana has been very high. So that's an excuse to provide a little local color for our visitors as well.
Welcome all, Bienvenue!
Lafayette is not only the current epicenter of the local broadband battle but is also just a plain great place to live.
Folks are generally aware of the unique French, Acadian, and Creole communities of our area. And the German, Southern, American Indian, Vietnamese and Italian enclaves should not be overlooked. I know of no place with a richer gumbo of long-established, rural as well as urban, communities living side by side, participating in, and adopting each other's traditions. The famous (and not so famous) musical and culinary mixtures that characterize our region are widely appreciated.
But while we may brag on the joie de vivre that characterize our region, its hard for folks living away from here to get a sense of what that means--much less participate.
Carnival, Mardi Gras, has a host of joyful traditions but the one that is most conspicuous in the daily lives of South Louisiana is the omnipresence of King Cakes during the season. The bakeries turn out huge quantities of the ring of sweet dough and garish colored icing that are the only real constants of pastry. If you walk into an office for any reason during the day expect to see the traditional pot of coffee joined by a king cake, a plastic knife and a pile of little paper napkins. Parties throughout the season may also offer more sophisticated fare but a King Cake is de rigeur. There are even, traditionally, king cake parties--little semi-formal gatherings whose main excuse is the king cake and a little socializing. At those gatherings the big event is choosing who is to have the next party (and buy the next King Cake.) And that is accomplished by waiting for someone to find the "baby" embedded somewhere in the pastry. King Cakes used to come from the bakery with a little plastic baby hidden inside. Today lawsuit-consciousness has lead to packaging the little plastic baby in sanitary wrappings and forcing the customer to embed it in discretely in dough. Some particularly sensitive bakeries even offer 2 babies, in brown and pink, for their diverse patrons. We always use both. And the first to find a baby has to have the next party.
If you think I must be overemphasizing the importance of the King Cake be aware that our daily paper here ran, on this the first day of epiphany, a front page center story with a three column color photo and an interior sidebar entitled: Cakes King of Carnival Culinary Celebrations. Take a look; in it you will find discreet hints of the passionate debates over what a real King Cake is and what a good one should be. (And these are most definitely not the same argument.)
Parades and Carnival Balls are nice, no doubt, but don't confuse the MTV version of Carnival with the real thing.
If you want you can even get a real (or good) King Cake from an authentic Lafayette baker. But if you get one you have to use the baby.
All 337 numbers:
- Anjo's Bakery, 1507 Kaliste Saloom, 989-1977.
- Keller's Bakery, 1012 Jefferson St., 235-1568
- Meche's Donut King, 306 E. Willow St., 232-3782, 205 Rue Louis XIV, 993-1058, 402 Guilbeau Rd., 981-4918.
- Poupart's Bakery Inc., 1902 W. Pinhook Rd., 232-7921.
- Southside Bakery Inc., 2801 Johnston St., 233-8636.
Lassiz le bon ton roulez!