Chasing the sound of the Zydeco from Opelousas to Lafayette

Time to slow down and explore the Cajun culture. We’re heading for old Opelousas then south to Lafeyette.

On any given Sunday

 We were expecting something. What we got was Sunday: church, family and football. As it should be.

So we rolled through the tiny heart of Opelousas, this once confederate capital.  It’s old cobbled streets a broken crackle in the heat, occupied only by our imagined ghosts in all their finery peeking just out of eyeshot through broken shutters and boarded up shop windows. The only respite from the quiet came from Angelle who served us up frosted malts on West Landry Street.

It’s leafy Sunday back streets all prayer book pretty, with bright Acadian flags flying from porches and lush front yards. The same flag we’ve used on the bandana on this particular Clueless Trail. We moved on south to Lafayette.

Travelling the backways and byways to Lafayette with the wind at our heal and the sun on our face. The heat was ridiculous. Horse suggest I wear my bandana like a hood to cover up. I said I’m not sure wearing a hood in Southern Louisiana was such a good idea.

We rode on until camp  We were hoping for the cool of another Bayou, when we stumbled on Nicole at Shaky’s drive-through daiquiri. It seems odd, but by some legislative quirk you can buy a cocktail from a car in Louisiana, so long as you don’t buy a straw. A bit like buying a loaded gun, so long as it’s not cocked. What could possibly go wrong?

Nicole worked her magic at the ice machine as Horse and I order up the crazy in one litre pails. All chased down with a frito-pie and seafood rotel. Both heinously unhealthy, and all the more delicious. Nicole you are legend. I’d open Shaky back home any day.

Stuffed full and squishy we rode the warm pitch of evening to camp, spending the late of the evening all sway to a chorus of the night cricket and the distant whistle of locomotive working the line south.


Bob Dylan’s mean rendition of Dixie

Old Opelousas

Nicole and Shakes drive-through daiquiri bar


Opelousas of St. Landry parish is Louisiana’s third-oldest city and a previous civil war State capital.

Historically an area of settlement by French and Spanish Creoles, Creoles of color, and Acadians, Opelousas is the center of zydeco music. It celebrates its heritage at the Creoles of Color Heritage Folklife Center, one of the destinations on the new Louisiana African-American Heritage Trail. The city calls itself “the spice capital of the world”, with production and sale of seasonings such as Tony Chachere’s products Targil Seasonings, Savoie’s cajun meats and products and LouAna Cooking Oil.

It’s everything they say on the door, whether you walk in or drive by… You can get a litre of your favourite cocktail so long as you don’t ask for a straw!
And if you get to see Nicole, ask for a Frito pie. Words cannot describe what that thing is!

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