For our next Family Meal beginning Friday and continuing through Mardi Gras, I wanted to do something different from your typical, expected po’ boys, red beans and rice, and whatnot that’s associated with the revelry in the French Quarter, and instead travel west of town into the countryside for a taste of Cajun country cooking. The final week before Mardi Gras, we will also offer crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, and peacemaker po’ boys on our a la carte menu.
One of the unique traditions of Mardi Gras in Acadiana is the “Courir de Mardi Gras” or Fat Tuesday Run, in which roving bands of revelers eat and drink heavily, don masks and costumes, and travel the countryside in an old begging ritual, stopping by house after house, making all manner of racket, singing, dancing, and spreading the cheer all while demanding a contribution to the community gumbo pot – a chicken, a piece of sausage, a fistful of file, or what have you – before they would leave you in peace and go on to the next house.
Of course this leads to quite a fantastic pot of gumbo. The community gumbo pot is a venerated old tradition, including “Sunday” gumbo, a phenomenon you’d get when everyone brought a contribution to the gumbo pot when attending church on Sunday. As unseemly as it might be, we are going to recreate the community gumbo pot by putting literally everything we can into it – chicken, sausage, ham, alligator, crawfish, and all manner of seafood.
What I’ve set out to do here is create a meal you might have encountered in a Cajun country Mardi Gras celebration back when it was still very isolated and long before the rest of the country had even heard of the word “Cajun,” on the cusp of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which would bring roads and bridges to all parts of the country and would gradually lead to the absorption of such remote areas into larger society.
As the South becomes more Americanized and America becomes more Southern, we invite you to join us for a meal remembering a bygone place and time. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
A Cajun Country Ramble, ca. 1955
Available daily 5 pm-9pm, February 3rd-26th
- Crawfish and Pork Boudin Balls
- Cracklin’s and Cornbread
- Sunday File Gumbo – chicken, sausage, ham, catfish, crawfish, crab…
- Creamy Potato Salad
- Alligator & Andouille Sauce Piquante
- Arkansas Delta rice with butter
- King Cake
$25 per person, family-style. Total table participation requested.