Bayou Night Before Christmas!

Where else in the United States of America, or the world for that matter, does Santa arrive on a shrimp boat?  Well, for sure he does on some of the bayous in south Louisiana.  As I watched the Christmas boat parade back in 2009, I was once again reminded how unique the culture and way of life is down the bayou. 

Below is something my twisted brain conjured up while I was photographing the boat parade one year.  I think it’s worth resurrecting this Christmas.  The poem is written in local bayou speak!  Lest anyone think I am making fun of the local people, be they French, Cajun, or Native American, think again.  The reason all the words that ordinarily begin with the “th” blend (like this, that, and the) in this poem start with a “d” is because there is NO “th” blend in the French language.  Pause and think about dat for a minute!!!

I hope it will bring a smile to your face.  For all you new readers, I hope you know who Boudreaux and Thibodeaux are.  If not, just Google them and you will see a plethora of jokes involving the two.

Bayou Night Before Christmas

© WWBilliot 2009

‘Twas da night befo’ Christmas, and down de bayou

Not a creature was stirrin’, not even da rou garou.

Dem ol’ socks was hung on de porch wit a nail

In hopes dat St. Nick don’t mind da smell.

Da kids dey was sleeping all over de flo’

Like sardines in a can, dey can’t fit no mo’.

Mah old man in his easy chair and me on da sofa

Had jest settled down with a big cuppa coco.

When out on da water dey got such a noise,

Me, I was afraid it would wake up dem boys.

Away to da bayou we run like two dogs,

Jumped out on da dock and stared tru da fog.

Dat fog was so tick, mais, we can’t see a ting;

And right after dat, we hear jingle bells ring.

We look and we look up da bayou and listen

And hear a big swoosh in da water and den

Wit our ears we could hear da hum o’ da motor;

“It’s just an ol’ a shrimp boat,” we say to each udder.

We turn from the water, head back to da do’

When all uh da sudden hear “Hey! Don’t y’all go!”

We turn back around, and look hard tru da mist

My ol’ man he say, “Mais, would you look at dis!”

On da back o’ dat boat a fat man in red suit

Wit big ol’ white whiskers and ol’ white shrimp boots;

He wave and he holler, “Hey y’all seen Boudreaux?

I got him a message from Ol’ Thibodeaux!”

Togedder we shout, “No, he ain’t been around,

And before you got here, we don’t hear a sound.”

He say, “I been callin’ and callin’ his house for a week

To come fix my boat; she gotta bad leak.”

Before we could answer, dere came a loud sound

Dat made every one of our heads turn around.

A boat came so fast, Bayou Santa he fell,

And da wake make his boat sink wit dat swell.

Da man in dat boat had a red suit, too, ya know,

And look mos’ familiar, kinda like ol’ Boudreaux.

He yell as he pass to the first Santa man,

“Be back aftuh while to give you a han’.

You sho’ should take better care uh ya boat,

So maybe next Christmas ya might stay afloat.”

His eyes how dey twinkle when he pass wit a shout

“Thibodeaux need a bucket to bail his boat out!”

While Thibodeaux Santa bailed his boat wit a boot,

Boudreaux went down da bayou to pass out da loot;

“Joyeaux Noel” he shouted, “My name is Boudreaux!

I’m a much better Santa dan ol’ Thibodeaux!

My boat is way faster, she don’t run aground.

She glows in da dark, Christmas lights all around!”

Thibodeaux had to hitch him a ride on a gator,

Yelled, “It ain’t over yet!  I’ll sho’ be back later!”

Up da bayou he went as he fussed and he swore,

“I just can’t trust ol” Boudreaux any mo’.”

Each Christmas we tink dat dis might be da year

Dose two crazies make peace and share dem some cheer.

“Maybe next year”, my ol’ man say wit a smile,

“Dey bury dat hatchet and get along fo’ a while.”

We laugh at each udder and both shake our head,

Go back to da house and crawl into bed.

Way off in da distance, we hear a voice so light

“Mais, Joyeaux Noel to all, and to all a goodnight!”

Merry Christmas, everyone!,


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  1. Love that poem! And I do love the parade of boats. Even Hallmark got in on the Bayou tradition in one of their movies. I wondered where they filmed the scene of all the boats lit up as they headed out.

  2. Love it!
    Merry Christmas to you and your growing family.
    I hope 2020 will be be a very prosperous year for you.

  3. I just loved this. I still remember my Christmas on the Bayou with great affection. I need to do that again. Seeing the fires on the levee was splendid — and the lights in Lafayette were wonderful. That was the time a friend and I stayed in Breaux Bridge the first Christmas after Mom died, and the woman who ran the B&B there took us over to Whiskey River in Henderson. I danced the night away, and I swear I can’t remember how we got home! It’s all a blur, even though I wasn’t drinking!

    I still listen every year to Tee Jules’s “Twelve Days of Christmas”, too. Did you know it’s on YouTube? Here you go! Between that and your wonderful poem, all I want right now is some good gumbo! Merry Christmas to you and yours — maybe this will be the year I finally get over there again. I’m ready.

    (PS — I guess there will be neaux sneaux for you this year!)

      1. Ha! The link worked fine, and I really enjoyed the video so much! I’m going to share it as my Christmas greeting on Facebook, I think!

    1. I recall how you “hopped to” once you found out about the bonfires on the levee. Have you seen the coverage of the HUGE alligator someone designed to burn tonight? It’s fantastic!!! One of these Christmas Eve’s, I’m going to make it to the levee. Haven’t done so yet, so you are one ahead of me AND I LIVE here! Sad, but true! Merry Christmas, Linda!

  4. Lots of clubs play games to trade gifts. Each time left or right is said the gift is passed that direction. You could add some of “doze. ” words to your poem And we could use it!!! Ex. ‘‘Twas de night right before Christmas and all tru de right house etc.

    1. Wow! Sounds like a crazy fun game, Sandra!!! Sorry the poem doesn’t help you out this holiday season, though! BW