Fat Tuesday and a Contest!

Tuesday (tomorrow) is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday for those of you who don’t know the lingo. Not having been raised Catholic and having grown up in a north Louisiana city that did not publicly celebrate this mardis.gras.beadsreligious holiday, I didn’t know much about it when I moved to Thibodaux in the heart of Cajun Country back in 1978. The first Mardi Gras parade I attended was on Canal St. in New Orleans – one of the BIG ones. I recall it being crowded and noisy, but the excitement in the air was palpable as the music blared, bright lights making the floats sparkle to life, and the whole joie de vivre quickly becoming contagious. That is, until I reached down to pick up a doubloon and some buffoon slammed his foot down on my knuckles. After that, I pretty much left the doubloons on the sidewalk for a braver soul than I.

As I married and had children, it seemed Mardi Gras parades in the big city grew more and more dangerous, with folks being accidentally run over by the tractors pulling floats, or the random child that somehow ended up under a float, or the drunken krewe member who failed to duck as the tall float went under a traffic light (ouch). Sorry to be such a downer at a time when so many revelers are lining the streets for tonight’s parades, but when the degenerates started shooting into the crowds of innocent onlookers, I lost all desire to attend another parade.  

Oh, go ahead, call me a killjoy, but honestly, I value my life and those of my children more than a few plastic trinkets and metal doubloons. My children will tell you they never attended a Mardi Gras parade until they moved out of my house and were on their own. Truth. I swear it. They joke with their friends about how deprived they were, but if you ask them now that they are adults how they feel about attending the parades, and they will tell you they couldn’t care less.

So, now that I’ve totally bummed you out about Mardi Gras, let me turn this around. There WAS one small parade in a safe, alcohol-free, drug-free zone. It happened last Thursday at Terrebonne ARC where Miah now works. The Captain and I went and watched as Miah and his co-workers were lavished with all the goodies of a true spirit of Mardi Gras parade. I’ll share a few photos with you so that you can see how much he enjoyed himself.  

The other good thing about this holiday is King Cake, which I’ve written about before. Wouldn’t you know it? Just as these tempting pastries hit the bakery shelves, my thyroid doctor tells me that I need to cut out ALL BAD CARBS. I mean, have you ever met a BAD CARB? I’m told that King Cakes are just chock full of them. Well, darn it all, anyway!

KingCakeKing Cakes are a big deal and very special because they are only offered once a year during this holiday season. January 6th on the Christian religious calendar is considered the Twelfth Day of Christmas and Epiphany – a Greek work meaning “to show” – referring to the Wise Men finding the infant Jesus. That is the day that King Cakes hit the shelves. Many south Louisiana Catholics look forward to Epiphany and the first King Cake of the season as much as they do Christmas.

The colorful frosting also has special meaning: purple for “Justice”, green for “Faith”, and gold for “Power”, which represent the colors of the jewels on the crowns of the Wise Men.

In old France, from whence the King Cake came, different items were baked inside the cakes, like a king-cake-babiesdried bean, a nut, a coin, or a tiny toy of some sort. Whomever ate the piece of cake with the item inside would become the “King” and would host the next party and provide the King Cake for that gathering. This continues on until the celebration of Mardi Gras, (Fat Tuesday), which always occurs 46 days before Easter Sunday. Today, that tiny item is a plastic baby, representative of the baby Jesus. However, because the baby is a choking hazard,  it is no longer baked inside but is included separately to be slipped inside the cake if you so choose – at your own risk, of course!

Earlier this year I discovered a very old French tradition of a certain kind of cake that they baked for Epiphany. I was going to bake one and blog about it, but I lost all inspiration when my doctor told me I couldn’t have any. Tell y’all what, though, once I get these carb cravings under control, and hopefully before next January 6th, I will bake that sweet surprise and share the recipe with you!

The wind is blowing a true gale here, but judging from the trucks, cars, chairs, wagons, etc. lined up and down Park and Main streets, attendance at tonight and tomorrow’s parades will not be negatively impacted. I just pray that down here in bayou country, everyone enjoys themselves, drinks responsibly, and gets home safe and sound.

Wednesday, the streets will be cleared of all the tons of litter left behind during the parades, somber, hungover Catholics will go to mass and get their ashes. Then the sacrifice of Lent begins. That doesn’t really impact the rest of the religious world, unless like me, your doctor said you have to give up carbs, which for me is strictly for my health and not for Lent at all.

Giving up carbs and not having King Cake. Who ever heard of such a thing!

Swamp-Terrarium2I would like to welcome our February sponsor:  Haunted Cypress Studios. Nell Bentz is a very talented jewelry maker who paddles the Manchac Swamp gathering up beautiful things from nature to include in her swamp terrarium necklaces. She has generously agreed to donate one for you to win. Please leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win this gorgeous, one-of-a-kind piece and please share this post with your friends.

Stay safe, my friends, and please don’t hate me for my views on wild and crazy parades!!!

BW

 

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Comments

Fat Tuesday and a Contest! — 70 Comments

  1. Love it that Miah had such a good time. I too went to a family friendly Mardi Gras. Tho there was some drinking it was a civilized sort. Vermillionville did a courier. The Basil Mardi Gras came and did their thing. It has been a long time since I went to a big town mardi Gras. Tomorrow I will go to Crowley and take pics since I can shoot from the back of my truck. I will be gone before the celebration gets drunk out. I usually seek out small towns for M. G. I don’t like the insanity.
    I do like King Cake and have already enjoyed my part of 2. I mjust have to exersize more to pay for that indulgence!!! Happy Mardi Gras my friend!

    • Miah sure looked like he enjoyed himself. He had quite a haul. Did The Captain have a good time?
      I haven’t been to a Mardi Gras parade since I was 15. MANY years ago. At this point in my life, unless one of my grandchildren was going to be on a float… I’ll continue to stay home.
      I have enjoyed a few slices of King Cake this year. I’m wearing a M.G. T-shirt today and will wear my other one tomorrow. That will be the extent of my celebrating.
      The necklace looks amazing. Is this the first time you’ve featured this artisan? The name rings a bell.

      • Miah did have a great time, but he got a windburn! The Captain enjoyed himself for the most part, but he was obsessed with gathering up all the stray beads from the ground!! I think this might be the first time I’ve mentioned her here, although I have shared her work and her Facebook page.

  2. Well our Mardi Gras much the same as yours. My boys have never been to big City and only a few small ones. This break they are where else? Fishing. Catching bass, bream and sacolait. Not a thing missed. We shared king cake are are enjoying our time on water!

    • Ah, fishing on Mardi Gras! Now that’s the bayou life! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Polly. So glad to have you here!

  3. How is Miah enjoying his job? He looked like he was having a grand ‘ol time at the parade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of him where he doesn’t look happy.
    Sorry you are being banned from the good stuff. Our insurance has me on a diet called Naturally Slim that has helped me gain 5 lbs in 5 weeks. 🙁 I get so frustrated with it. They end many of their required videos with a grilled t-bone, baked, loaded potato and green beans. Now who can lose weight looking at that?
    I think part of it is also stress related. Food is such a comfort sometimes. 🙂

    • He seems to have finally settled into working in the garden. He knows how to check the weather now and is always ready to tell me when a rainy day is coming in hopes that I won’t make him get on the bus! I imagine that IS frustrating . . . trying to lose and gaining instead. Yeah, a grilled t-bone with baked potato with the works sounds really good right about now! I do know that I’m a stress eater . . . and carbs are the best comfort food around . . . .

  4. It is awesome that Miah had a great time at the parade, he looks very happy in the photos. Never been to a parade in NOLA, too many people. We usually go to one in Houma but didn’t this year. Bad carbs, I know that one, still having trouble staying away from them too, my odcotrs are constantly on me about them too. Love your blogs & look forward to reading them when I see them in my email. And love the jewerly pic you included for the contest. I would love to win this. Til next time…

    • Thanks for the comment, Ann, and you will be entered for the drawing! The Houma parades used to be smaller and more family oriented, but alas, they have grown to be so huge now. Thanks so much for subscribing and for reading!!

      • ANN!!! You have won!! Please use one of the contact boxes from anywhere on this blog and give me your mailing address so that Nell Bentz can mail you your beautiful necklace!!!

  5. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Your thoughts on Mardi Gras parades are well-taken. Shreveport has a wonderful parade through a neighborhood, the Highland Parade, and is attended by many families because it is focused on children.

    • Hi Bonita. So great to hear from my old semi-stomping grounds. Ah yes, but for many years, there was NO Mardi Gras parades up there—just Holiday in Dixie, which we thoroughly enjoyed. One year, my three little children and I marched in the “Doo Dah Parade” up Texas Avenue. They dressed up like Clovis Crawfish and his friends. The youngest was dressed like a crawfish and sat in a wagon that looked like a boiling pot! We didn’t win a prize, but they had a great time!

  6. I brought my two little ones to exactly 3 parades this year and they weren’t too interested. My main issue is its excessiveness. One long pearl bead is just not special anymore like it was when I was little. Ah well…guess I’m a killjoy too. Enjoy your carbs responsibly today! Enjoyed this blog!

    • Ah, Jillian, I too remember when it was a special treat to be honored with a long strand of the pearl-like beads. Often, you had to give a kiss to get those, too, remember? *big smile* but that was back when we were young and carefree!! I’m trying NOT to give into the carbs, my friend, or I’ll be “one step forward and two steps back” LOL!!! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

  7. Awesome pictures! Glad you were able to find a family friendly area as those are getting harder to come by. I prefer to stick to the daytime parades as well!

    • That parade was actually on the Terrebonne ARC campus, so it was not a public parade. Safe place, nice people, no floats. Just most folks walking, riding small wagons, dance teams, and marching bands. Still full of music and excitement. He collected SO MUCH STUFF that we filled a backpack, a big shopping bag, and still left a huge pile on the ground to be recycled by TARC. You just can’t beat that . . . and there were no crowds pushing and shoving! I derived great joy from watching all the folks who took time out of their busy day to walk around, handing out joy to my son and his friends and co-workers.

  8. Thanks for letting us see it vicariously through you and your great photography. We’ll be blowing through north of you in a couple of weeks. We won’t have time to stop but I never give up hope of coming back.

    • Enjoy your trip, Susie! Sorry I won’t get to see you. Hopefully you will have pretty weather. Thanks for still being here!

  9. Your son looks like he had a blast at the parade. I know it was a special event. I gave up parades several years ago. I can not stand the noise. Seems like most of our local parades include police cars, fire trucks, and every ambulance in the bay, all with sirens and lights blasting. Add that to the usual motorcycles and bands and my head is toast. Instant migraine. I understand about the carbs. I have put on a few pounds and my jeans are snug. Probably from all the homemade goodies I ate in December followed by Russell Stover marshmallow, caramel and chocolate santas which I ate in January. I stocked up after Christmas. Big mistake. I thought I would ration them out over the year. That did not work. I am trying to eat healthier in February. I ate yogurt, fruit and some chicken salad for lunch. I think I could eat half a cake myself. Sugar is my downfall. Hope your week is good.

    • Well, yes, there was lots of noise, including the incessant motorcycles circling while everyone was lining up. All in all, it was very enjoyable (and tolerable) comparatively speaking! Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment. welcome to the blog, as I don’t think you’ve commented before!

    • Well, now, Brunella, you will be entered to win one!!! Thanks so much for following along, reading, and taking the time to leave a comment. Good luck in the drawing, which will happen hopefully by Sunday.

  10. I’m always learning something new here! This year is the first I’ve ever baked my very own King Cake from scratch, and I never stopped to think about the meaning of the colors, or the fact that it originates from an older tradition in France! So cool. I’m also very interested in that Epiphany cake you plan on making, can’t wait to see what that’s about! <3

    • Well, I love that you learn something new every time you visit here! I bet if you had the time to browse, you’d find lots of interesting posts, going back 8 years!! I love learning new things, too, and sharing those things with my blogging friends. Thank you again for being the February sponsor of the month!

  11. I love Mardi Gras as a Lil Baptist girl. Lol. The parades, the king cakes, did I mention the king cakes…?!? Lol. The joy & excitement this holiday brings is just awesome. I may not have to adhere the ashes to my forehead or give up something for lent but Mardi Gras is just inside you when you live in south Louisiana!! Now… As for the “sacrificial” eating of seafood on Fridays… I’m all over that tradition!!!

    • Josey, do I know you? With that local name and a Baptist church less than a half mile from my house, we must have met at some point! Welcome to the blog, regardless, as we have now met in cyberspace! Yes, I too love King Cake–too much! It’s been tough not indulging this season. I’m ready for some good boiled crawfish, but I’m waiting for the price to come down. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. You’ll be entered to win that beautiful necklace! BW

  12. We absolutely love Mardi Gras! I too moved from up north, (Ruston) and when hubby and I relocated to Houma, we just embraced it. Love the moral of the community as everyone prepares and gets excited. I love the idea they have the TARC parade, and the festivities for the senior citizens at the Civic Center. Everyone deserves to celebrate, even if they don’t want to attend the parades. I admit, I too didn’t have king cake either this year. I waited in line for 3 hours for Randazzo’s last year (I know..pitiful) and it was every bit worth the wait but alas, this year…I had real life to attend 😉

    • Hi Tracy. Randazzo’s? Are they really that outstanding? Have you ever tried any from the Pecan House down in Lockport? They are pretty darned good! (A hum, at least that’s what my kids tell me, LOL!) So, welcome to this bayou and so glad you’ve found things that make south Louisiana home for you. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment! Great having you here! BW

  13. I just stumbled across your blog and I can’t tell you how it warms my heart. I live in a north Louisiana town who has the area parade on a Saturday evening. More importantly though, is my 13 year old autistic nephew who has never been to that parade, or any other for that matter. I would love for him to be able to enjoy the revelry and fun of catching candy, beads, or whatever they are throwing! He just can’t tolerate the crowds of people and the pushing/shoving for the prizes. He does enjoy a good Kong cake though! Haha.

    On another note (haha) the swamp terrariums are beautiful!

    • Hi Holley and welcome! At one time, my son was very sensitive to loud noises, especially sirens. And while there is a little of that at this parade, for the most part, they are aware of the sensitivities of their clients and so probably ask that the motorcycle cops keep it to a minimum! Funny, I never thought about it until I read your comment. I wish your nephew could attend and get to enjoy a parade like this one! Thanks for stopping by, and come back any time! BW

  14. I do so enjoy reading your blog. I’m living in Oregon but my home was Chalmette, just outside of New Orleans. I wasn’t much for parades either when I lived there, one of the big reasons being that I still had to work downtown and tourists didn’t realize that people had regular lives that carried on during Mardi Gras.
    This parade with the pictures was lovely and I know everyone enjoyed it.

    The jewelry is wonderful and one of a kind. Looking forward to your next blog and more exciting Louisiana fare. Did you see the recipe for the Boudin King Cake? That was fabulous.

    Jeri Petersen

    • Hi Jeri and welcome! Thanks for the kind words, and thanks also for reading here! Yes, regular life does go on, as opposed to what visitors might believe! I have good friends who had water up to the roof after Katrina. Those brave souls totally gutted and re-did their house. You can’t even tell it flooded. down here, we can’t do that without elevating . . . and I hope they never see flood water that high again, because they did not elevate, and I guess they weren’t required to. Have you seen the Great Wall of Chalmette? What an engineering feat! I’ll check out that recipe. Savory and sweet? BW

      • Let me know what you think when you do it! I was already moved but the rest of my family lost everything. One has rebuilt and stayed in The Parish. My sister moved to Houston where her husband died and she’s living with her daughter there, and my older brother moved across the lake. So many friends and family lost everything. I hope we never see that again.

        • I guess I’m going to have to make that boudin King Cake since it’s now been mentioned twice here. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

        • We experienced home flooding in 1985, 2005, and 2008 so I sympathize with your family. Most of us can pick up and find work elsewhere, but for those of us who depend on the wetlands for our livelihood, like shrimpers, crabbers, and oystermen, well, we can’t do out work anywhere else. So, we just muck out and get back to work as soon as we can. I will admit, though, that I’ve never lost everything and that might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak. My hope is that all those who were displaced are flourishing in their new lives.

  15. All of this reminds me my unforgettable stay in New Orleans. I went there 23 years ago but in my mind it’s just like yesterday.
    Thank’s very much and long life to your blog!

    • Hi Giny and welcome to this bayou blog. Glad to bring back some happy memories for you! Thanks so much for stopping in and leaving your comment. I will say ” here here” to that! BW

      • Hi! Thank’s for having me on your blog. I noticed you corrected my language mistakes and I thank you very much for that. I’m French and I’m afraid I lack of practice.
        You can’t imagine what it means for me to be here and read yours posts.
        I chose this one because Mardi gras is very special to me. I met my first love in Mardi Gras’parade. After several months we planned to get married but he died and I had to come back to France.
        Louisiana always remain in my heart and it’s very sweet to me reading your comments about your life in the Wetlands that I so loved.

        • Oh, I hope my edits didn’t offend you—-I like to do that in case folks are using their mobile devices and do not have any kind of edit option. Your words about being here on the blog are very encouraging, and your love story is both heart warming and heart breaking. On a side note, my mother and father were married in February 1954 and honeymooned in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, so you and I have a connection! They were married for 37 years until Mother passed away. Daddy passed away in 1996, and I miss them both every day, as I know you miss your true love. You are most welcome here, and I hope you are comfortable becoming part of our blogging family! BW

  16. Grew up in Houma as an Oilfield Child. Remember the family friendly parades, sad to hear they are not for the most part family oriented any longer. I now live in Hot Springs Arkansas but am a Louisiana Girl by choice not geography. I adore your photos and blog. Thank you. And I also would love to receive that necklace.

    • Hi Linda and welcome back to the bayou! There may still be some good spots to watch a Houma parade that are family oriented. Our parades are still safe than the big city, I believe, so I’m not saying that they’re not at all for families. I was really talking more about the ones in the big city and it’s my personal opinion that they’re not as safe as they once were. But that’s just me getting old, I guess! Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. You’ll be entered in the random drawing, too. BW

  17. Mmmmm king cake!!:) Glad your little man enjoyed himself at the parades- it is indeed harder every year to find the patience to go (perhaps it’s the older I get…) I truly enjoyed your blog, and not just for the necklace entry (I already have 2 amazing Haunted Cypress necklaces and am a starry eyed fan of Nell;) I recently sent my cousin in California a boudin king cake and she sent me pictures of a cleaned-out box, not a crumb left! Although I have enjoyed the sugary delight every year for the past 30+, my favorite is Poupart’s traditional French king cake. You should definitely add it to your future list of carbs, when you doctor clears you of course;) Keep up the good work, can’t wait to read your next entry!

    • Hi Carmen and welcome. Since you’re the second person to mention this boudin King Cake, I believe I have truly missed a culinary experience! Until this year, I had not even heard of such a thing. I’m going to have to try the recipe that Jeri shared in a previous comment. Did you purchase one? If so, where? I’m so happy that you enjoyed the blog. What’s the point of writing and sharing if no one cares to read? Knowing someone is reading and enjoying is a writer’s true reward! Have not had Poupart’s King Cake, but when they are “traditional”, I find they are all quite similar and equally as tasty. Oh, the problem with King Cake and me is that I could eat the entire thing (over a period of days, of course) with coffee in the morning and be happy to do so! Thanks again for stopping by, and I too am a great fan of Nell Bentz’s work. I’ve yet to meet her but hope to do so on the 27th when I travel to Pontchatoula to judge a gumbo cookoff. BW

  18. Well, shucks. I’m still not getting emails about new posts, and you didn’t show up in the RSS feed, so I barely made it here in time! No matter: as always, I’m already enlightened. I had no idea that Pillsbury had crescent roll “sheets” available. Now, I have to think what else I could do with them — except I’m trying to cut way back on carbs, too, so that might not be such a good idea.

    I have to say I’m with you on the Mardi Gras madness. My last big Mardi Gras was in Galveston, and we fled the scene. There just were too many people, too tightly packed. I wasn’t so much worried about getting shot or whatever, but it was clear that if anything went wrong, even a couple of drunks getting into it, a person could get trampled. I’m not into that.

    The photos are just wonderful. That’s the best kind of Mardi Gras parade — on that’s fun, for everyone. Now — a couple of questions. What is this VIP list? Is that how I subscribe now for post emails? And what about that little SumoMe dealie in the bottom corner? Have you added Sumo wrestling to your list of offered activities? Inquiring minds want to know!

        • I’m sorry that you’re not receiving the emails. I guess I need to do a post letting everyone who might have missed the email requesting everyone sign up again, because I switched email notification systems. Sumome supplies the social media buttons and the VIP slide out. You may use the VIP slide out in order to sign up again for email notifications, if you would be so kind. Webmaster says the RSS feed is working fine . . . maybe a glitch on your end? Or you can use this to sign up for feed again: bayouwoman.com/feed You know how this goes . . . things work along for a while and then something weird happens . . . and then the change to something new may or may not be ideal. Anyway, I’m at the mercy of webmaster since I left the old free WordPress, which I know works very well most of the time but doesn’t allow for advertising, etc. So, here we are. PLEASE sign up again and don’t leave me!!!

    • I love those crescent roll sheets. I use them for pizzas & hubbies favorite calzones. I also roll it out flatter, cut into squares and make little meat pies (empanadas) or line cupcake pans and fill them.

  19. Dear blogging family: My last paternal uncle has passed away and will be buried in Shreveport this weekend. So, I’m off to north La. and will postpone the drawing for this necklace until after I return on Sunday. BW

  20. It’s time for the drawing, everyone. Again, sorry for the delay. I returned from north La. yesterday evening, arriving home to a crawfish boil hosted by Termite (my youngest son), and we ate and drank and laughed really hard! What a great medicine!

    Using random.org and entering the total number of original comments, the number chosen is ANNE SINGLETON:

    True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 21 Generate Result: 5
    Powered by RANDOM.ORG

  21. Thanks to everyone who entered a comment, and for those who are new here. And many thanks to Nell Bentz, the artist/owner of Haunted Cypress Studios! Congratulations to Anne Singleton!

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