On January 25, we went to two of the Jean Lafitte National Park sites in Louisiana (there are a total of 6 sites). Jean Lafitte was a French pirate and privateer of the Gulf Coast in the early 19th century. However, on this day we mostly learned about Louisiana’s culture and the influence the French had in this area. We visited the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Euice, Louisiana and the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. Both sites taught us about the early French settlers and their rich culture which people in this area still celebrate.
One holiday celebrated in the area that we learned about was Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). It is celebrated for many days before Ash Wednesday, when some people fast. During this time of celebration, people dress up in colorful, silly costumes and have parades, eat food like king cakes, and are decorated with green, gold, and purple bead necklaces. People in a village would ride horses and travel from house to house. They also traditionally throw a chicken off the roof and people try to catch the chicken.
We got to listen to Cajun music at one of the visitor centers. There was French singing, accordions, a fiddle, a triangle, and a guitar. It was very interesting for me to hear this different style of music than what we normally listen to.
On another day, we went to the Tabasco factory (in Louisiana). We got to learn how the Tabasco was made, as well as see Tabasco brand things in a museum, but my favorite part of the whole tour was the tasting room. In the tasting room, I got to try many different Tabasco products, including, hot sauces, steak sauces, balsamic vinegar, mustard, soda, and ice cream.