Acadiana is kind of a hidden treasure. Most folks think of New Orleans when Louisiana comes up — but the nooks and crannies of the state are what make it special. Hop on a rural byway and you can wind through all kinds of magical places. It’s a state you can stay-cation in and find lots of oddities and specialties. Pockets of cultures and traditions that are unseen even by folks just a few miles away.
Take Highway 90 north from Lafayette and the roads will rise and fall on hills. You’ll pass through the Cajun prairies and catch a view of the land of Zydeco. Before long, you’ve left Francophone Louisiana behind altogether.
Did you know there’s a Transylvania, Louisiana? Have you ever been to the Watermark Tavern by the river in Columbia, just north of Alexandria?
Dixie Poche has, and she’s lived to write about it.
Dixie is a travel writer with an expertise in Louisiana’s hidden gems. For thirty years, she sharpened her pencil in technical writing and corporate communications in the oil and gas industry. Her childhood in a general store in Cecilia inspired her to seek out the histories of Louisiana’s small towns. She’s published three books on Louisiana culture and is currently working on her fourth — about small town Mardi Gras Courirs.
Herman Fuselier is a familiar voice on KRVS. He’s the host of Zydeco Stomp and has a storied history of his own — chronicling Louisiana’s cultural traditions. Herman grew up literally next door to the world stage of Zydeco in Opelousas and spent years as a columnist and music writer in the Acadiana area. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Oxford American and NPR, and he’s the go-to guy for liner notes on big Zydeco records. In 2016, Herman published Ghosts of Good Times, which packs an authoritative history of Louisiana’s dance halls dating back decades.
Oh, and by the way, during daylight hours, Herman is the executive director of the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission.
This episode of Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in Downtown Lafayette. Check out more lunch table conversation about words and music.