Pinch the Tail and Suck the Head

Pinch the Tail and Suck the Head

I have been fascinated with Louisiana since my first visit over thirty years ago. The people, culture, language, food, and coastal environment has captured my attention and is not replicated anywhere else in the world.

Regional pockets around the country can feed my soul in unique ways. The Black Hills of South Dakota and coastal Louisiana are two that are high on my list, and they simultaneously contrast and complement each other.

anhinga bird sitting on tree limb
The anhinga, sometimes referred to as a snake bird, is a diving bird that swims with its sbody submerged and the head and long neck emerged above the water that appears to be a snake swimming.

There are innumerable other locales and people I have yet to encounter, but South Dakota and Louisiana will always remain comfortable, fulfilling and rejuvenating. I am told I should experience the Hill Country of Texas, and I look forward to working that into my travels.

Brad Saum laying floor tile in a bathroom for a Habitat for Humanity build
While enjoying Louisiana, I volunteered for two weeks with the Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity based in Mandeville, Louisiana in St. Tammany Parish. We worked on houses built with funds originally donated by Oprah Winfrey and Bon Jovi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“…and what does it mean,”
I asked, “to follow your heart?”
She laughed and beat on her drum.
“So you want my secret recipe?”
she said. I said yes.
“To follow your heart is as
simple as closing your eyes
and listening to the rhythm
of your soul song.
Once you find the beat
you will always walk in tune…”

The Persistence of Yellow by Monique Duval

Cajun Cuisine

Although arguably authentic, the iconic beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Mond in New Orleans barely scratches the surface of local cuisine.

My first crawfish boil many years ago was tossed on a picnic table in a manner similar to how I would later be served lobster in Boston. My lips still burn from the cayenne in the Cajun seasoning that I was not accustomed to at the time.

anhinga drying feathers on tree limb
Anhingas face away from the sun and spread their wings to dry their feathers and absorb heat as they spend a considerable amount of time in and under water in search of fish.

My quest for an authentic crawfish boil was more than adequately satisfied on this trip at The Shack in Houma, Louisiana. My Cajun dinner consisted of two pounds of boiled crawfish and a pound of boiled shrimp served with potatoes, sausage and corn.

Cypress Lake RV Resort
Cypress Lake RV Resort in southern Louisiana with typical Spanish moss, cypress trees and lots of water.

And perhaps most importantly, we were fortunate to have a patient server who demonstrated without hesitation how to pinch the tail and suck the head. Obviously she was not a rookie. There were a few friendly smiles from the experienced locals that packed every table as we embarked on foraging through these critters attempting to extract or dinner of tail meat.

sunrise at Cypress Lake RV Resort
Sunrise at Cypress Lake RV Resort that was home for two weeks while we helped the Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity.

Over the last two weeks I enjoyed jambalaya, boudin, shrimp po’boy and crawfish etouffee. And for dessert? A King Cake, as the Krewe celebrations have already begun as the anticipation of Mardi Gras grows.

RVing Revealed

Here’s just a few of my other experiences in Louisiana?

Barrier island of Grand Isle

Dew Drop Jazz Hall

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park

Sugar Cane and Tabasco

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