Category Archives: Inspiration

Leave the Hat On Please

Today I’m over at Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind talking about something very weird I’ve seen while on Bourbon Street. Comment to win a copy of You Bet Your Banshee!

Continuing this month’s theme of stripping/dancing/taking off clothes, we have something in a slightly different genre.

For those of you who’ve never seen The Full Monty, you’re missing out. It’s one of those movies I will watch over and over again, not just because it’s cute and funny and British, but because it’s a good story.

For those of you who have seen the movie, you can probably guess what today’s song is. Yup, it’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Tom Jones. This song was originally written and performed by Randy Newman and covered several times. I’m not playing the Joe Cocker version because I always feel like poor Joe is about to have an aneurysm when he sings. I think Tom Jones’ version is smooth and sexy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good quality video of this version, so you’ll have to make do with very bad graphics.

Enjoy!

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Cajun French: Do-Do

It’s been a while since I did a Cajun French post, but I’ve been gathering information again so hopefully there will be more.

Today’s phrase is do-do (pronounced doe-doe). It means “sleep-sleep”. Remember what I said about the Cajun French/English language and intensifiers? Well, this sort of falls into the same category. I imagine anything could be an intensifier depending on how it’s used. A Cajun comedian who goes by the name of Poo-Poo Broussard is a little infamous for his phrase “My lips are chapped, chapped”. If you’re in the need for a little laughter, you should check him out.

Do-do though, is short for dormir which means sleep. Parents would tell their children, “Make do-do” or “go to sleep”.

You’ve probably also heard this word used in the phrase fais do-do which isn’t the same thing really. A fais do-do is a party, or like an informal jam session in today’s terms. People, probably extended family, would gather around, play music, dance, and eat. My own personal belief is that it was called a fais do-do because it was what adults would do while their children were sleeping.

There’s also a song called “Fais Do-do”which is a lullaby. I don’t know the words except for a few, but it’s one my mom used to sing to us when we were young. When holding babies now, it’s almost second nature to hum the “Fais Do-do” song to them.

I hope this post didn’t make y’all go do-do cause that would just be embarrassing.

Yay for the upcoming weekend! I have a book release Monday and good news on the way so I’m definitely not going to be making the do-do easily.

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Cajun Music vs. Zydeco

I got the idea for this post from a discussion on Four Foxes One Hound, the group blog I’m part of and thought it would be a fun way to show the differences between Cajun music and Zydeco.

According to a site I found, Cajun music comes from the Acadians who were forced to leave Canada. It borrows some from Creoles of African descent, country and western, and in some cases, rhythm and blues. It’s a mishmash of genres. From what I gather (since I don’t speak Cajun French), most of the songs center around ill-fated love, death, and loneliness.

This Cajun French song is called”Jolie Blon”, or pretty blonde.

Zydeco is not Cajun music in origin. It was created by the Creoles of African descent who borrowed elements of Cajun music. They kind of copied off each other, pretty much which is kind of funny and probably why people get the two confused.

Zydeco became more popular after WWII and was heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and jazz. It’s considered party music now, but like most songs in the R&B genre, the songs were about hardship.

The song I’ll play for the Zydeco side is by Buckwheat Zydeco called “Tee Nah Nah”.

The major difference I find between these two similar genres is the instrumentation. Zydeco uses the accordion and washboard, while Cajun music relies heavily on the accordion, fiddle, bass, and drums.

What do you think? Can you tell the difference? Which one do you prefer? I’m partial to Cajun music, myself. It’s the perfect music to listen to when I’m going fishing or sitting on my porch.

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Road Trip Part Three

This is the last of the road trip pictures from weekend before last. I haven’t posted half of what we saw because there just isn’t enough time on the blog, but needless to say the trip was well worth the time.

We left Donaldsonville and headed further north, taking roads neither of us had ever been on before. My mom used to drive truck so there’s a lot of the state she’s seen and it’s a major bonus to find a place she’s never been before.

Passing through the town of White Castle, we took a gorgeous picture of Nottoway Plantation. I’ve been to this plantation years ago and it looks like they’ve added to it. Gorgeous, huh? Ghost Lab did a paranormal investigation of this property a couple of years ago and I want to say they did find evidence of unexplained activity.

Next we found Tally-Ho Plantation in Bayou Goula which is a private owned residence. The house here was once the overseer’s home because the plantation burned down in 1945. It’s a gorgeous house, I think.

Somewhere in the Bayou Goula area (I can’t remember exactly where now), we stumbled across this little church. It was so unexpected, I stopped in the middle of the road so we could get a picture of it. This 8’x8′ church was built in 1903 by a poor sugar can farmer after he successfully prayed to the Virgin Mary for the recovery of his eldest son. Cool, huh?

Then we found our way up to Plaquemine, Louisiana. Plaquemine was settled as early as 1775. There are a lot of old homes in the downtown area and we managed to snag a couple of pictures. It isn’t so easy to stop in this area since the area is so busy. I was able to pull over so Mom could hop out and get this picture.

From there, we went up and around in what seemed like a never-ending loop until we ended up on the Morganza. The Morganza Spillway is where the flood control structure between the Mississippi River and the Atchafalaya River is located. If you recall last year with the flooding of the Mississippi, this area was creating national headlines as it’s the only thing that protected the lower Louisiana parishes from flooding completely. We couldn’t get out to take a picture, but we got one from the road on top of the flood gates.

And that’s the trip. It was a lot of fun. We went north following one river (the Mississippi) and came back home following another (the Atchafalaya). If you ever get the chance to visit south Louisiana, try to take some time out to explore the smaller areas. There’s beauty in nearly every corner of the state and we’d love to show it to you!

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Road Trip Part Two

Yesterday I talked about the start of our little road trip. Today I’m continuing with some really great pictures. We left the Sunshine Bridge behind and headed for Donaldsonville.

Acadians first began to settle in Donaldsonville in 1765. It was called something else back then, but in 1806, William Donaldson commissioned an architect to build the town. We took a few pictures of the buildings and homes found in and around the area.

This was a great old house we saw on our way into town. It needs a lot of loving, tender care and money to make it a showplace again.

Next on our pictorial tour is the Bank of Ascension. Donaldsonville is the parish seat of Ascension Parish and at one time served as the state capital when New Orleans was deemed “too noisy”. I just loved this building so much and could’ve spent hours staring at it, but Donaldsonville has lots of other buildings to ogle.

This building was the home of the oldest family-oriented department store in the state of Louisiana, B. Lemann & Brothers. This building was built circa 1877, but the department store seems to have been in operation since 1836. It’s now closed to the public, but it’s pretty darn nice!

This is a row of shotgun houses. We had to take this picture because I was reminded of New Orleans. The houses aren’t as fancy as those in the French Quarter, but you can tell they’re old and I think they look cute.

I’m not sure what this building is now, but we think it was probably some kind of store at one time. Maybe it was even a boarding house or something. The bus parked in front of it makes me think it’s either empty, or used for some after school programs or something. It looks like it was taken straight out of the French Quarter.

Now this old building had to have been a general store. Look at that steep roof. This one is no longer used as far as we could see, which seems like a shame.

The funny thing is most of these buildings aren’t even listed as having historical significance with the exception of the B. Lemann & Brothers building. There’s so much to see in this area, we probably could have spent a week in the area and found something new each time.

Stay tuned, I’ll be back Thursday with more pictures!

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Road Trip: Part One

I love to roder. Yesterday, with the sun shining brightly and it not being too hot, I kidnapped my mom and hit the road for a little sightseeing. She didn’t complain at all. She grabbed her camera and was ready before I was.

It’s funny really. I had no idea where we were going. That’s the best part of rodering, traveling without any destination in mind. At first, I thought we’d just explore River Road (the highway that follows the Mississippi River), but we ended up doing a lot more than that. In fact, we did so much and took so many pictures, I’m going to do this first road trip in parts. Yes, I said first because we decided we’re going to try to do this once or twice a month.

We headed east from our house, driving through the small communities of Choupic (pronounced shoe-pick), Chackbay, and Vacherie (vash-a-ree) to get to River Road.

This is a sugar mill we passed on our way to Choupic. Sugar cane is one of Louisiana’s endangered industries. At one time, there were more sugar cane fields than neighborhoods, but over the years, more land is sold for development. Sugar cane mills are slowly going out of business due to population growth and imported sugar. 

Then we were in the community of Choupic and Chackbay. Every year they have a Gumbo Festival, but I think we missed it.

 

 

 

 

It’s a pretty area with lots of traditional Acadian style homes and cypress trees.

 

 

If you ever get the chance to visit the area, you should take the back roads since they provide you with plenty of things to see.

 

 

Next we headed for River Road, which as most people know is where the big plantation homes are. We didn’t do any tours, but we did take as many pictures of the homes, public and private, as we could.

We actually passed on taking a picture of Oak Alley Plantation since they were having their festival and a race. The traffic wouldn’t allow for a stop and shoot (of the photographic kind). I think Oak Alley is popular enough though, that you’re not missing out.

This is, I believe, St. Joseph Plantation. This home is just before Oak Alley if you’re coming from the south. Apparently the home is still part of an active sugar cane farm and tours are available.

We followed River Road for several miles before taking a small break at the foot of the Sunshine Bridge. The Sunshine Bridge, named for Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis, was the only bridge across the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, it emptied into a swamp. I remember one of my college professors telling us that before the Sunshine Bridge was built, the East bank of the Mississippi didn’t have Nutria Rats.

This is a nutria rat. No, we didn't see any on our trip.

We got back on River Road and wound our way along the crooked Mississippi, leaving the Sunshine Bridge far behind us. Except when we got about ten miles down the road, we looked back and saw this:

It just goes to show how winding the Mississippi River is.

So that’s the first part of our road trip. I have several more pictures during our trip to Donaldsonville, Louisiana and further north, but I don’t want to crash anyone’s machine. I’ll pick up the story again tomorrow.

Hope you’ll stop by to see more pictures!

 

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Cajun French: Rougarou

That’s right, I said rougarou,  not loupgarou. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if there’s a difference except in usage.

Rougarou is pronounced (roo-ga-roo) and loupgarou is pronounced (loop-ga-roo).

Most people have heard the word loupgarou, especially if they’ve read books, or watched movies pertaining to this part of the world. However, growing up, I’d never heard of a loupgarou. My mom used the rougarou to keep us in our places.

This is someone's interpretation of the rougarou at the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans. Scary, huh?

I was never entirely sure what the rougarou was except something I didn’t want to meet. Loupgarou is a werewolf and according to some sites, it seems that the rougarou is also a werewolf, the only difference is the word usage.

My mom used to say it was a swamp monster, never giving any specifics. She was crafty that way. I suppose the threats of being eaten by the rougarou as well as the hellacious ghost stories she used to tell me helped to make me a paranormal writer. I love writing about special beings whether they’re heroes or monsters.

Have you written about the rougarou or loupgarou?

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