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Local Music Best Bets

Welcome back all to Lafayette and Bayou Round Up. It's been a hot and soggy summer down here, to say the least... Time for some cool air and cool cars! We've got plenty of great music planned for y'all to boogie to out at Blackham and Downtown Alive. But let's not let it stop there. Crawlin' back to your motel room and hanging out in a parking lot all evening just ain't a good look at all. Get into town, get out of your car and onto the dance floor. Below is my music pics from around town, this weekend. Hope yall'll soak up the sounds and culture and support some live local music. Ils sont partis!

Fri Oct 7th The Blue Moon Saloon (215 E Convent) - Bobby Lynn Shehorn does a Bobby Charles tribute 9:30PM, The Bluerunners (Cajun Rock n' Roll) 11PM

Fri Oct 7th Artmosphere (902 Johnston) - The Roebucks (Rockabilly) 10PM

Sat Oct 8th Cafe Des Amis (140 E Bridge St, Breaux Bridge, La.) - Zydeco Breakfast with live Zydeco band from 8-11AM

Sat Oct 9th Blue Moon Saloon (216 E Convent) - OFFICIAL BRU AFTER PARTY Lil' Buck Sinegal (King of the Zyde-Blues guitar) 10PM

Sun Oct 10th La Poussiere (1215 Grand Pointe Ave, Breaux Bridge, La) - Jackie Callier and The Cajun Cousins (Tradition Cajun) 2PM Afternoon Dance

Sun Oct 10th Whiskey River Landing (1365 Henderson Levee Rd, Henderson, La.) - Kevin Naquin And the Ossun Playboys (Traditional Cajun) 4pm Afternoon Dance

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Friday Lunch Cruise

* Lunch in Abbeville - 2-3 hours/lunchtime
* Lunch in Abbeville/wetlands tour/Lake Arthur - Several hours/afternoon
* Rip Van Winkle/Avery Island gardens - Several hours/afternoon
* Any route + casino - As long as it takes to loose all your $

Wind your way south on Highway 167 (which is the main drag of Johnston St. in Lafayette). Notice how the skies and clouds get taller over the rice fields and cattle grazing marshes, as you head towards the Gulf. First stop is Abbeville, home of famed musician Bobby Charles who penned "See You Later Alligator" and iconic tunes for Fats Domino and so many others. Explore downtown with its beautiful church, square, courthouse, and absolutely fantastic seafood restaurants and oyster bars (Dupuy’s, Black's, Shucks, and The River Front --- all four are downtown and are exceptional). October is prime time for some delicious salty oysters and a starter of duck & andouille (pronounced ahn-doo-ee... a prairie Cajun smoked pork sausage) gumbo! If you wanna get a nap in before Jimmie Vaughan!!! at Downtown Alive, then you can roll back to Lafayette after lunch... Of course making sure to stop in at the world famous Maurice City Bar in the speed trap hamlet of Maurice (midway back down 167 between Lafayette & Abbeville).

If you'd like to tool around further after lunch, head south from Abbeville on Highway 82 and you will be on a road that takes you through scenic marsh and wetlands that are the fall and winter home for the largest population of waterfowl in North America. This is where we hunt our ducks and geese, and you will see hunting camps and large flocks of birds and probably some gators sunning themselves on the blacktop along the route.  You may want to stop and visit the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge between Pecan Island and Grand Chenier. If you get out the car, be sure to keep an eye out for gators in the canals and beside the road (though they're usually pretty chill). At Oak Grove head north on Highway 27 through more wildlife refuges, and then turn east on Highway 14 which will eventually take you through Lake Arthur, the home of famed Cajun musicians Rusty & Doug Kershaw. The Regatta Restaurant on the lake there is also a very good and their deck bar out on the water is a nice place to wet one's afternoon whistle. From Lake Arthur you can either head north and take I-10 east back to Lafayette (45 mins) or head back east down Highway 14 through Gueydan (the “Duck Capitol” of the world), and back to Abbeville, then North to Lafayette (this route takes about an hour). 

Another equally as lovely alternate afternoon trip from Abbeville, is after lunch, take Highway 14 East on a short trip through Erath to the picturesque shrimping village of Delcambre. You can see all the boats parked from the road. Just over the bridge in Delcambre take Highway 675 that leads to the gates of the Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island. These gardens showcase one of Acadiana's most mystical and romantic spots, and it has a nice café that serves lunch only. Next, it's back to Highway 14 and nearly straight onto Parish Rd 706 (in La. we have parishes instead of counties). At Highway 329 go south to Avery Island, which is owned by the McIlheney family of Tabasco fame. The beautiful and spacious Jungle Gardens are located here, and are perfect for stretching out, catching the sun and walking around/picnicing. You can also put-put around all the gardens, and seemingly travel back in time, on a little one-way lane. And make sure to take the tour of the Tabasco factory if you have time - it's really cool! After Avery Island, it's backtracking toward New Iberia and, depending on time and your schedule, north to Lafayette via Highway 90. New Iberia is a historic old town on the Bayou Teche. Pop in and take a drag down historic Main St. where there are nostalgic old buildings and movie theatres and a beautiful antebellum home called “Shadows on the Teche” (which you may want to also stop and tour). New Iberia is where all the Coco Robicheaux detective novels are set. Author James Lee Burke and recently deceased "Blue Dog" artist, George Rodrigue, are New Iberia's most famous sons.

OR... If from Avery Island you want to keep riding take Highways 83 and 319 to Cypremort Point (the Cajun Riviera). There you will see fishing camps ranging from very basic to very extravagant, as well as "beaucoup" (lotsa) boats. "The Point" is a great place to catch the sunset. Continue on Highway 83 to the Cypress Bayou Casino at Charenton and enjoy full gaming, shows and superb dining at its Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse. On a daytime sight-seeing trip, it's nice to wind back to Lafayette through the sugar cane fields and bayous surrounding Jeanerette, Loreauville, New Iberia, and St. Martinville. Or just hop back onto the 4-lane Highway 90 and head north back to the "Hub City" of Lafayette (Cypress Bayou Casino to Lafayette via 90 is 50 mins).

Laissez les bon temps roulez (let the good times roll)!

CCx

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Lafy-Ates: So much delicious cuisine, so little time

So the first thing you'll do when you roll into town is weigh yourself. We'll weigh you out when you split, to see just how well you've done .... Putting digits on y'all's odometers and expanding your Louisiana cultural horizons and belt circumferences is our goal here at Le Premier BRU!

We've got some incredible eats in Acadiana. I mean, I know you've eaten barbeque, Tex-Mex and tofu in Austin and have probably been to Paris ... maybe you even once nibbled your way through the Italian countryside ... and of course, everyone love's their momma's cookin' ... and these days, has got a fave little hipster gastro joint in the neighborhood .... But let me just prepare you ... the grub around Lafayette rates against any on this planet. The Gulf of Mexico provides us with a sinfully bountiful seafood harvest (for the next 50 years or so - no thanks to BP). From high-end nouveau peasant fusion, to workin' man's rice n' gravy plate lunches, we love to feed folks ... and we ain't messin' around.

Here's our (very condensed) list of "must eat" restaurants down here, along with some fare descriptions and off-menu insider local ordering recommendations. And this doesn't even get into the real best places to eat – that'll happen when you get invited back to someone's house or (even better!) camp for a supper, grillin', gumbo or a crawfish or crab boil

Your cardiologist might not join us in all the recommendations we've listed here ... but we've literally got one of the best heart hospitals in the nation right here in Lafayette ... And Oshner's, just up the road in New Orleans, is renown for it's liver transplants (supply and demand)! So geaux for it! ... We can bore it out if you start feeling a bit tight or turning green!

Judice Inn (3134 Johnston St) – Best burger in the world. Period. Straight outta The Class of '47, a joint that used to do curb service. Not a big overwhelming thing ... more subtle. Done with a special sauce. And don't ask for ketchup or fries, you'll be slapped. Order with cheese and grilled onions and craw-tator potato chips. Add Tabasco. Wait 5 mins ... order another ... it's Cajun crack!

Alesi's Pizza (4110 Johnston St) – I know you're thinkin' "I didn't come to south Louisiana to eat burgers and pizza!" Trust me. Alesi's has been a locals' fave since the '50s. Cool old neon pizza-throwing sign out front. Their pizza is thin, slightly sweet and old-school. Another great pie in town is Deano's – try the crabmeat-and-mushroom "Marie Laveau" or the Cajun sausage, shrimp and jalapeño "Cajun Executioner." And all the I-tal joints in town offer scrumptious antipasto "wop" salads, for those of you descendant of the old country.

Don's Downtown (301 E Vermilion St) – Since 1934. Start with a "Cliff" old fashioned. Seafood gumbo, crawfish bisque, quail, frog legs and a slammin' hamburger steak or ribeye done étouffée style. Just off of Parc Sans Souci ... the bar there definitely makes for a good clubhouse during Downtown Alive!

Don's Seafood Hut (4309 Johnston St) – The cousin of Don's downtown. They got in a family fight a few generations back ... now everbody wins! Great seafood ... start with char-grilled oysters and then order off menu as follows: "Cajun fried rice with lump crabmeat and a filet kabob (medium rare) on top." Feeds two or makes for a great large table appetizer. I'll buy (and then escort you directly to the edge of town) if you don't like it.

Creole Lunch House (713 12th St) – Creole soul food. Get a "stuffed bread" to accompany any order, or on its own with sides. It's like a zydeco hot pocket. Meatball and chicken fricassée!

Bread & Circus (258 Bendel Rd) – Hipster and delicious deli cum rock'n'roll dining. Awesome cane-glazed fried chicken and cured meats and pork belly ramen.

Poupart's & Keller's Bakery (1902 West Pinhook Road & 1012 Jefferson) - Morning coffee and confections. Both done en francais.

Charley G's (3809 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy) – Fine dining in a casual but cool deco-city grill decor. I like a booth in the bar. Fresh wood-grilled gulf fish and duck.

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn (240 Tubing Rd, Broussard, LA) – Old school seafood recipes done right and in a comfortable atmosphere. Crabmeat au gratin. Seafood salad!

Olde Tyme Grocery (218 W St Mary Blvd) – Killer po-boy sandwiches. Fried shrimp or roast beef and Swiss. Roll your sleeves up and let the gravy roll down to your elbows.

Saint Street Inn (407 Brook Ave) – My fave "hidden gem" restaurant. Near campus/downtown. Chef Ashley is a culinary star on the rise at this small, laid back, screen door porch restaurant. Miso gulf fish and whipped sweet potatoes. Scotch egg starter.

Pamplona (631 Jefferson St) – Spanish tapas in a cozy but sophisticated Euro-vibe bar scene/dining room. See "CC C'est What" Vol. 1.

Tsunami (412 Jefferson St) – Sushi. See "CC C'est What" Vol. 1.

Country Cuisine (709 N University Ave) – Soul food and Sunday bar b que lunches. Fried poke chop sang-wich!

MaeSone Noodle House (4807 Johnston St) – The Vietnamese have thrived as fishermen and rice farmers in South Louisiana. This place is the real deal. Delicious pho and semi-healthy cuisine, for when you're tired of the poke chops and gumbo.

Antlers (555 Jefferson St) – Proper plate lunches. Wednesdays: Smothered – and smothered and stuffed – poke chops with blackeyed peas and candied yams. Thursday: Same preparation options with their legendary chicken, rice'n'gravy, and corn macque choux.

Taco Sisters (407 Johnston St) – Drive thru or eat at the picnic tables out front. Brisket burrito, chicken chili, and great breakfast brisket biscuits.

Dwight's (4800 Johnston St) - Killer cajun plate lunches and mama's cookin', Louisiana style.

Dwyer's Cafe (323 Jefferson St) – Old downtown diner ... breakfast and a heavyweight blue plate special lunch line.

Cedar Deli (1115 Jefferson St) - Downtown. Mediterranean sandwiches and other old world deliciousness. 

The French Press (214 E Vermillion) – Duck and sausage gumbo, Sweet Baby Breesus, Cajun Benedict.

La Fonda (3809 Johnston St) – Since 1957. Old school white tablecloth Tex-Mex. Order the off-menu fried chicken or the Don Briggs – a queso and onion smothered steak with brabant potatoes!

Mel's Diner & Hub City Diner – Both are authentic '50s diners, and Mel's has late night breakfast/sandwiches.

Eat 'em up ... Yum-yum ... Ummm dey good!

CCx

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Bienvenue! Welcome to Acadiana and A Lafayette Dream Night

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Bienvenue! Welcome to Acadiana and A Lafayette Dream Night

Hopefully you'll all have arrived safely and soundly in our fair bayou city of Lafayette by sundown on Friday, Oct 16.

For those of you with "Dream State" plates, who are already from around these parts, great to have y'all all on board for our inaugural Bayou Round Up! Having a lot of leauxcal cars turn up was exactly the point! And as y'all already know the drill of how we do it 'round y'ere at home, please help us host and point the farther-away travelers (and especially those damn know-it-all, tall Texans!) in the right and salubrious directions! And help catch our fellow car brethren and their guests up on some the cultural phenomenons that are part and parcel of taking in all the joie de vivre that this region of the country has to offer.

Lafayette is called The Hub City because it's surrounded by and is in the center of all the dozens and dozens of other little Cajun and Creole towns of the Acadiana region. Towns like Opelousas, Abbeville, Crowley, Ville Platte, St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, Mamou, Church Point, and many more picturesque destination. .... Cajun is a shortening of Acadian, which refers to the French settlers who landed in the bayous and swamps of south central Louisiana in the late 1700s after being cruelly evicted and burned out of their homes and put onto boats in the middle of the night in Acadie, Nova Scotia, by order of a mean 'ol British king.

The Catholic Acadians landed on these muddy, mosquito-ridden shores, a shattered and scattered people. But immediately they started building a new life for themselves amongst the indigenous people, African American Creoles and others who were already trying to make something for themselves and subsisting in this hidden, inhospitable territory. In the swamps of the Atchafalaya and Mississippi River deltas, and on the adjacent western prairie, they all began to carve out lives for themselves. They had a tough time and had to work and live together to survive .... But when the work of the day was done, they all partied together – and hard, too! This European/African/Indigenous cultural cross-pollinating is what makes the recipes down here so unique and spicier tasting even today. And it's also what makes the music such an exotic and soulful blend of the blues and ancient European reels set to African beats. Cajun and Creole zydeco music is for dancing – a new-world combination of African tribal traditions mixed with some European formality. But regardless of all the ethnographic background, one MUST get out on the dance floor when "listening" to music in Acadiana ... the moves and rhythm will naturally come to you when the accordions and fiddles strike up. If you don't trust me (yet), then just hop on the leg of a local and have a spin! "Allons danser cher (Let's dance, sweetie)" is the club battle cry! You see all this multicultural mix personified in the café au lait-colored skin of the people down here and the thick French accents and big welcoming smiles. It's a little different, less bland, more colorful – and I dare say more civilized – than the rest of America, and even the rest of the South. I actually like to consider South Louisiana "south of the South" – or maybe "the northernmost port in the Caribbean!"

But back to The Hub City thing. On Friday night, after a long week's work, folks around here are ready to let loose and party! "Laisser les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)" They come flooding into Lafayette from all over Acadiana and the small towns in the countryside. That is what gives this place that country-come-to-town, rock'n'roll jamboree sorta atmosphere and energy. And they come down into the streets from all the office buildings in the city (everyone here knows to be sure to bring an extra pair of dancing shoes to work on Fridays to change into at 5 p.m.). On Friday evenings (in good weather seasons – and October is PRIME weather down here) the City of Lafayette throws a big FREE street dance in the center of downtown. We call it Downtown Alive! .... And on Friday, Oct. 16, knowing all you rodders will be gassed and revving to geaux, The Kontinentals have pulled some strings and are proud to help present Jimmie Vaughan & His Tilt-A-Whirl Band featuring Lou Ann Barton for your listening and DANCING pleasure! This will be a homecoming of sorts, as Jimmie has always been a Lafayette fave. Back in the '80s, his Thunderbirds ruled the legendary Grant Street Dancehall at the foot of downtown by the underpass. Their sets were always chock full of south Louisiana staples by Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, Guitar Jr. and Cookie & The Cupcakes. Fans would pack the club to dance! Meanwhile, on those very same weekends, our very own zydeco king Clifton Chenier would likely be holding court at Antone's in Austin. There has always been a simpatico relationship between Lafayette and Austin (some long-term Austinites that I know even say that Lafayette reminds them of and feels like Austin did back in its golden era from the '50s through the early '80s). Now the Bayou Round Up is here to write the next chapter and prove that the good relations and good times endure!

Lafayette Mayor Durel and da chief o' po-lice have kindly and exclusively invited BRU registrants to park their cars all around Jimmie Vaughan's stage at Parc Sans Souci as well as up and down the 500 block of Jefferson Street and the 200 block of East Vermilion Street. Bagged meter parking will be reserved for our BRU cars. Having all the cars parked downtown is going to look exquisite. Especially as our quaint little cypress-tree-lined downtown has often been referred to as "the Cajun Back To The Future set!" It's all relatively safe and easy vibes downtown. Lafayette still has that small town feel and courtesy about it. There will be folks of all ages, complextions and creeds walking the streets, checking out the cars and going into the bars and restaurants downtown. But folks here are generally respectful and there is a healthy police presence downtown on the weekends to keep everyone safe and things flowing smoothly. In short, your cars are fine left parked downtown, while you venture around and check out what the evening has to offer.

Once parked downtown there is so much to sip, eat and hear close by! Friday, Oct. 16 is shaping up to be one for the ages, a real Lafayette dream night! Chances are that the weather will be perfect and there'll be a touch of cool in the night air. And after the Jimmie Vaughan show is done, there will be an official BRU cruise around downtown. But you may also want to stick and stay and enjoy some (or ALL!) of the great music and food that is just a few yards from Parc Sans Souci, where you'll likely be parked.

A favorite haunt on the Jefferson Street Strip is Antlers (555 Jefferson Street). Antlers has been around since the 1920s and used to be a notorious gambling hall and gin joint during prohibition. Now it serves the best poke chops, smothered chicken and jambalaya (amongst all sorts of other deliciousness) and tall pours done by lil' Cajun cuties. Antlers is also a legendary Lafayette music spot. Back in the day, it regularly hosted The Meters, Gatemouth Brown and all the hometown swamp pop and zydeco stars. On Friday, Oct. 16, Antlers will have Michael Juan Nunez and his band on stage. Michael Juan is a great swamp blues and rock'n'roll shouter-songwriter, frontman and slide guitar wizard. I highly recommend popping in to catch his rockin' combo. They sound like if the Stones and Zep were from coastal Vermillion Parish and had spent just a bit more time boning up on their Son House! And there's a smooth wooden dance floor and NO COVER at Antlers on Friday after Downtown Alive!

About eighty paces up Jefferson Street you'll find Jefferson Street Pub housed in the gorgeous old Guaranty Bank building (500 Jefferson). JSP also does tasty grub and craft cocktails and beers. The band booked for Friday, Oct. 16 is called Zydeco Radio. These kids are one of my favorite new bands around, anywhere! Billy Boy is up front squeezing his zydeco accordion and mixing up the old traditional sound with '70s blues-rock guitars, funky bass and some nice new originals. The dancefloor will be packed with a younger generation and the old guard alike, writhing and swaying to the next chapter in the fertile Lafayette music scene. Only a $5 cover.

Besides what I've already mentioned, up and down Jefferson Street and around downtown there are some terrific places to eat. There will also be wonderful street vendors and local fare festival caterers that will be on site at the Jimmie Vaughan show. We'll get deeper into Lafayette Eats! in another post, but while you're downtown, and before you hit the dance floor all night and belly up to too many bars, we want you to get some local delicacies into your tummy ....

Pamplona (631 Jefferson St.) does really fine Spanish tapas with a Louisiana twist (quail egg and boudin morcilla sausage) and has a premium wine selection. Don's Seafood (301 East Vermilion St.) is the old-school family home to Cajun seafood and stiff Old Fashioneds! Start with seafood gumbo or crawfish bisque at Louisiana's First Seafood Restaurant. Tsunami (412 Jefferson St.) offers really fresh, Grade-A sushi, Japanese cuisine and a nice bar scene. All done in a sleek-and-trendy-but-still-casual atmosphere. The French Press, just off Parc Sans Souci (214 E. Vermilion St.) features inventive and très savory seafood and meat fusions, but Chef Justin Girouard's creations are all still rooted in the Cajun grandmothers' cookbooks. Go towards the neon at the end of Jefferson where it meets Lee Avenue and there's a former Conoco, now dubbed The Filling Station. Outdoor dining for tasty Mexican, steaks and extremely sneaky margaritas. Try the off-menu lobster burger. All you gerhead cars guys should feel right at home amongst the retro decor and gas pumps.

I know it's already starting to get hard to figure out how to pack it all in ... But after catching Jimmie Vaughan in the Parc and a few other great acts down on Jefferson, having gotten a bite to eat and cruised downtown a while, WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED! This dream night and the buzz from it all is just starting to kick in! Uh, CHOMP-CHOMP.... What?! Gator got your granny??!! Mr. "Poke Salad Annie" hissef, "The Swamp Fox" Tony Joe White is playing a barn dance just a few minutes drive away at Vermilionville (300 Fisher Road). There's plenty of paved parking onsite. His gig is 8-11 p.m., and Tony Joe always puts on an epic and lowdown show. And he'll put you right in the mood for rolling back into the thick of it downtown afterwards .... The smell of that cane burning in the fresh night air, overtaking your own exhaust .... Mama and the motel can wait, 'cause a period perfect, down home, Cajun and Zydeco fais-do-do is on at the palatial new roadhouse/honkytonk Warehouse 535 (535 Garfield St. - also plenty of onsite paved parking). The gig will be Tee Chaoui Social Club featuring Michael Doucet (of Beausoleil fame) AND Corey Lil' Pop Ledet and his Hot Pepper Zydeco band. Funky accordions and haunting bayou fiddles will fill the room, while the dancers spin. This is the perfect musical introduction to Lafayette ... Or maybe you should head just up the street to see the zydeblues guitar king and legendary Clifton Chenier sideman at The Blue Moon Saloon (215 E. Convent). The Blue Moon is an intimate, funky little back porch joint. But Lil' Buck Sinegal and his tight band will be rockin' da shack! "Buckaroo," as we call him around town, is a national treasure. On par with any of the great blues slingers ever known.

Really, if you know what's good for you and how to properly pass a good time, you'll try and drop in on every bit of this that I've recommended. It can be done! If you find yourself flaggin', then just jump in with me! I mean, it's not like we really have anything much to do the next day .... 'Cept sit around all Saturday in the glorious sunshine, lookin' at fabulous old cars, talkin' shop, listenin' to killer live Gulf Coast music and chowin' down on some more of the best eats and sips Acadiana has to offer .... And when the sun goes down at the show at Blackham Coliseum on Saturday .... We gonna do it aaaaaallllllllll over again, cher! 

Stay tuned! Now everybody c'est "yeah!"

CCxx

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