Introducing Cajun Country
One of the truly unique parts of the US, Acadiana is named for French settlers exiled from L’Acadie (now Nova Scotia, Canada) by the British in 1755. As they lived alongside Native Americans and Creoles, ‘Acadian’ eventually morphed into ‘Cajun.’ The harrowing journey to Louisiana and the fight for survival in its swamplands are points of cultural pride for modern-day Cajuns, and do a lot to explain their combination of toughness and absolute ease in their own skins.
Cajuns are the largest French-speaking minority in the US – prepare to hear it on radios and in the sing-song lilt of their English. While Lafayette is the nexus of Acadiana, getting out and around the waterways, villages and ramshackle roadside taverns really drops you straight into Cajun living. It’s hard to find a bad meal here; jambalaya and crawfish étoufée (a thick Cajun stew) are prepared slowly with pride (and cayenne!), and if folks aren’t fishing, then they are probably dancing. Don’t expect to sit on the sidelines…allons danson (let’s dance).