Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Favourite Places in the World Pt. 3

Prejean’s Restaurant: Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette is the unofficial capital of Cajun Country, USA. At first glance, however, there is not much that distinguishes it from any other smaller American city. Once you dig a little deeper, you discover that things are just a little different in this neck of the woods. It’s a good place for doing a little bayou exploration and to absorb the local history and culture.

Due to its ‘outside-of-town-off-the-highway’ setting, Prejean’s does not look like a legendary restaurant, worthy of mention in most travel guides. Instead, it just looks like an ordinary roadside diner, and you may question why you drove all the way out here. Once you step inside and hear the music, and get a good look at the huge stuffed alligator gars adorning the wall, you’ll suddenly realize that this ain’t Chili’s.

Prejean’s is a huge place: tons of table, tons of people eating as if it were their last meal on Earth. From a décor/ambience point of view, it’s nothing special – but it’s way off the charts on the kitsch scale. You grab a table, have a look at the menu and check your pocket for your Lipidor. I can’t remember precisely what I ate there – but it was a mixed platter with just about every Cajun delicacy on it. Every night at Prejean’s the Louisiana crawdaddy population takes a severe beating.

Due to the buzz of activity around you, you may feel inclined to speed through your meal. That would be a mistake. Take you time, sip your beer and enjoy the music. You won’t get to experience this kind of place very often in life so slow down. As Kat and I ate our meal, every now and then we’d just push back from the table and listen to the band and let the music soak in. They have awesome live music here – and I was thrilled to have a conversation in French with some of the band members during one of their breaks.

Yup, Prejean’s is a Louisiana institution and will certain attract its share of tourists (try as I might, I can’t pretend I’m not one) who will spend as much in the gift shop as they do on their meal – but that shouldn’t scare you off. It’s a great place, and well worth a visit should you every find yourself in Cajun Country.


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