Maybe you’ve had the chance to catch an episode or two of the A & E reality series called “Cajun Justice” since its debut on June 5. Maybe you’ve had the chance to watch the show and just don’t want to admit that you actually sat through a whole thirty-minute episode. Or maybe you fall into the camp that says they have never and will never watch the show. But before you throw the Cajun out with the boiling pot, hear me out.
After sitting back and hearing what others had to say about the new and supposed reality show based on the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Department, both for and against, maybe it was past time for me to form my own opinion.
Last night, while lying on my bed searching for something on TV that might put me to sleep, a friend text me the following:
“Oh Lawd. Da rou garou is loose on da bayou!”
Somehow I instantly knew he was referring to the A & E show, so I immediately switched to the forty-somethings, looking for the right channel. Once there, I was determined to clear the visions of the most-viewed show in the history of The History Channel–Swamp People–from my brain and judge this show on its own merit.
In “Cajun Justice”, we meet all the players up front in the introduction to the show and then later each one says a little more about where they came from. That helped me judge who was a real Cajun and who wans’t–not that it matters—but some of us are very literal people. Let me just say that maybe half of them are of Cajun descent. Okay, so I gotta loosen up a bit and enjoy this for the entertainment value. Open mind, remember?
What struck me first was how it appeared that the show producers searched for a very particular type of local person to insert here and there as cameo shots. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be a problem, and no offense to anyone on the show, but they found a pocket of people who either don’t brush their teeth, have never seen a dentist, or had no teeth at all. Which begs the question, “why?”. Do the producers want the world to think this exemplifies bayou people?
All told, I watched four episodes and was, for the most part, very entertained. But not for the reasons you might think. I was entertained because of all the discrepancies in the information, in the names of the bayou communities and certain landmarks. Heck, they must have made at least four calls to Bayou Dularge in those four shows. But the real draw for me was to learn that the swamp where I take folks during my wetland tours is a haunted swamp. Now, that is GOOD information to have!
My favorite part was when they got a late-night call that there was a light and some weird noises coming from a shack behind a pumping station. The two deputies tip-toed in with flashlights and arrested three young men who were obviously doing some sort of voodoo-religious ceremony. When the deputy who hails from California shoved the fellow in the squad car, he yelled out a curse on the deputy. The other deputy, being from the area, decided to have some fun with the Cali transplant, convincing him that he just had a voodoo curse put on him. Long story short, bad things started happening to California, and he ended up going to see Priestess Miriam in New Orleans to get the curse removed. Back at the station, once relieved of his curse, he opened his squad car door only to find a voodoo doll with a pin in its back sitting on his steering wheel — with all his comrades watching and laughing their heads off. It was funny to me, anyway.
I could go on and on about the episodes, but I won’t, except to tell you to watch them for entertainment value only. There are lot of inaccurate things going on, and a good bit of the calls are staged, and some of them are just short of a blanket insult. But while you watch, please remember that bayou life is a very rough life. Some of the fights that occur really do happen between folks, and sometimes even family members. It’s a different world down here, and if the show does nothing else than depict that, then it has done it’s job.
The Cajun Injustice of it all comes July 1st when twenty-four of the current employees of the TPSO will lose their jobs, their insurance, and their pensions when the new sheriff takes office. The new sheriff has further stated (in every interview since he was elected) that he will NOT allow further filming of “Cajun Justice” and is definitely not concerned about breaking any contract they might have with the film company, MAK Pictures.
So, maybe Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois didn’t make the best deal he could have for the department with this reality TV project. Most reports say that the TPSO is receiving $1500 per episode for doing twenty-one episodes, but I somehow think it wasn’t about the money for the exiting Sheriff. Rather, I tend to think it was about his going out with a bang, since he didn’t even attempt to run for re-election last fall. Way to go, Sheriff!
Knowing there will only be twenty-one episodes might make me sit up and take notice every Thursday night through the rest of the summer while looking for something to watch. Part of me is just a little sad that the new sheriff isn’t going to give our deputies the chance to become as famous as homeboys R.J., J. Paul, Tommy, and Joe of Swamp People fame.
The other part of me is thinking that it’s time for the Outdoors with Bayou Woman Show, where adventures will be real, people will have (most of) their teeth, and women don’t call me out to fight using the “B” word!
Keeping it real,