By Maggie -- May 23, 2014
Day Two in Lafayette. We drove out to Breaux Bridge for what's known as "Zydeco Breakfast", which is basically four hours of live music, dancing and drinking bloody mary's. Gerd, above next to the Charlie-T sign, is an incredible dancer (of course), and when him and his girlfriend Kyndra stepped on the dance floor, people cleared a path and many started filming on their iphones. He lives and breathes the culture around Lafayette, so much so that you'd think he gets paid to show people around and give them the most authentic experience possible. Ryan took video of Gerd and I dancing, I had a good laugh watching myself as he tried to dip and spin me around. I'm like a potted plant compared to him! We also visited Charlie-T's for some boudin and cracklins. Talk about an MSG overload!
Southern hospitality is a real thing, y'all.
We are so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people we have met in the last 24 hours. While in Austin, Miranda hooked us up with a friend that she had recently met, Gerd, who now lives in Lafayette (in that quaint little house you see in the last photo). Without hesitation he invited us to stay with him while we were in town. The only information we were told was that there would be a crawfish boil at noon and that we were going to see the legendary East Los Angeles band Los Lobos perform while we were here. So we packed out of Sam Houston as quickly as we could and made the 5-hour drive to his house so we wouldn't miss it.
Gerd is something close to the German version of the Most Interesting Man in the World. He is a well-renowned classical musician and he is the executive director of the AcA. Everyone seems to know him and love him. He has lived and performed everywhere and has connections all over the world. So when he said we could stay in one of his guest bedrooms for a couple of nights, we didn't hesitate for a minute.
I was nervous about the crawfish boil because of my "allergy" to shellfish, but how could I refuse the chance to eat something so distinctly local and cultural? Crawfish and boudin are the next closest things to God down here. I figured if I got sick, at least we could hang out for a bit until it passed. I took the chance and we had a great time embarrassing ourselves trying to pick the crawfish apart and eat them. Gerd gave us a few shelling lessons and then we helped him clean up after the other guests had left. We quickly changed and got ready to hit downtown Lafayette. No sickness... maybe I've outgrown the allergy??!
Did you know in Louisiana you can drink alcohol on the street, as long as it's in a "to-go" cup? Cops have been known to pull people over on the street and give them a gentle warning to pour the beer in the glass bottle they are holding into a cup. There are also drive-through daiquiri shops. This was a frightening revelation but we had to partake for the hell of it. We ordered two tall Margaritas to-go and walked around downtown before the show started. We could not stop smiling.
Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-stars was the opening band and clearly a local favorite. For our first taste of zydeco music I would say we lucked out big. Los Lobos came on after and rocked the house. Gerd had spent the last four days and nights with Los Lobos, making sure they had a perfect authentic experience while they were in town and catering to all of their needs. It was clear that both bands appreciate everything Gerd did and consider him a friend. The experience of having those two bands play for 3 nights in a row was huge for such a small town, and we were fortunate enough to tag along for the ride. We enjoyed meeting so many local people and spending time after the show meeting the band. The middle photo is of Ryan standing with Louie Perez, the songwriter for the band. We ate with him and talked about life in LA for about an hour. It was amazing to hear his take on the changes happening in the music industry and stories about his life on the road. The band just celebrated 40 years of making music - quite the accomplishment!
Yesterday was our first experience in the South. We know not to expect every day from here on out to be as magical, but we can only hope that we continue to meet people that are as kind and interesting as Gerd and his friends are.