A couple of years ago I posted something about a little town called Gheens. Well, it isn’t really a town. It’s a one-road, dead-end community. There used to be a grocery store, but I think that’s closed now. There was a bar and I don’t think that closed. There’s also a community center.
I had no idea this area existed until I went to college and met one of my good friends who was from Gheens. Talk about opening a whole new world. They have their own parade which is far more fun than any of the parades I used to go to in a bigger town. There are small neighborhoods carved into the area, but for the most part, it’s wide open land. My friend, who’s my age, didn’t have cable until he was nearly fifteen years old. That should tell you how out-of-the-way this community is.
But they don’t let that stop them from doing their own things. Throughout the year nearly every town and community in south Louisiana has a festival. In Breaux Bridge, which is near Lafayette, they have the Crawfish Festival. Chackbay has the Gumbo Festival. There’s a festival for nearly everything and the people of Gheens aren’t about to be left out. No, they have their own festival called the Bon Mange Festival.
Bon (pronounced bawn – soft n) Mange (mahnge) means “good eats”. The festival is held every year to raise money for the upkeep of the community center. I haven’t been to the festival. The one time I was supposed to go, I had a little too much alcohol and fell asleep instead. *cough*
The festivals held throughout the year in south Louisiana are filled with lots and lots of good food from gumbos and jambalayas to fairground burgers to pralines and funnel cakes to more interesting things like alligator on a stick. There are carnival games and rides and lots of music, mostly of the Cajun French, Zydeco, or Country variety. They’re a lot of fun.
Then of course, there’s a court. Kings and Queens are announced. My friend used to find it hilarious that the queen of the Gheens festival was called the Bon Mange Queen…in other words, she’s the “good eats” queen. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what he meant *snickers*
So if you ever make plans to come to south Louisiana, look for local fairs. Sure, there’s Jazz Fest and Voodoo Fest in New Orleans, but you’ll find a lot more Cajun flavor away from the big cities.