Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Where I come from....

I spent some time during my long weekend to take the 100 mile ride to my parents house in the heart of Cajun country.  
The center of Louisiana was hit hard by flooding during this recent rash of storms, so I headed home to hug on my mom and dad who are knee deep in repairs. 

The ride made me nostalgic.
Even though I LOVE living in the city and I spent my childhood wanting to break out of this place, 
I'm so glad I grew up in a small town. 

And not just any old small town.  I'm blessed to have grown up in a little town rich in culture and tradition and with parents who showed me that preserving and celebrating my culture is important. 

If you've ever had crawfish, it very well may have come from my hometown of Mamou.  Here is a rice field flooded for crawfish season- that trap and its bait are what lure the scrumptious crustaceans in! 

I can even say I've had the pleasure of "crawfishing," shaking the soon-to-be-dinner crawfish from their traps and rebaiting. 

Where I come from, we eat boudin for breakfast and everybody learns to cook real cajun food.   And we eat a lot of it.  If you come to my momma's house, she WILL feed you. 

This is where we buy that boudin- at the slaughterhouse- along with stuffed roasts and chops, marinated meats, rabbits, and hot cracklins.

There's nothing like hot cracklins.

You can even grab a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle. 

There's no Walmart.  No McDonald's.  You buy your groceries in places like this.  In fact, this tiny store has the best smoked sausage you've ever eaten- a necessity for a good gumbo.  

But what we're most known for is our Mardi Gras custom,  
Le Courir de Mardi Gras 
or what most people call "chasing chickens"  

....a tradition that started with rural Catholics who wanted to indulge before the start of Lent but couldn't afford the extravagant feasting found in New Orleans.  The goal was to gather enough ingredients to make a community meal; 
the costumes and dancing meant to show thanks. 
The tradition lives on.  

My parents work to preserve the little town of Mamou (ironically nicknamed Big Mamou)
and it's unique culture.  

My husband and I work to preserve our culture at home.   
When he's not in his labcoat you will probably find him in his LSU cap...playing one of his prized, handmade accordions, 
and even though I complain about the constant stream of Cajun music coming from our home....
I'm secretly proud. 

At work, I go around to the third grade classes each year to teach about the Cajun Mardi Gras traditions {because they are learning Louisiana history}  
No matter what your culture may be,  it's important to pass it along.  

This year all of my own students will get a healthy helping of Mardi Gras traditions 101- 
the New Orleans AND Cajun versions of Mardi Gras.  

All the facts {with some fun rolled in} are all part of my upcoming Mardi Gras lesson.    
Have you heard that our new statewide curriculum has a focus on NON-fiction text?  
I'm not too thrilled about that, but activities like this are all part of me getting on board. 


22 non-fiction passsages (and questions) about our unique Mardi Gras celebrations!

I even learned something doing the research for this activity....
The FIRST Mardi Gras took place in Mobile, Alabama!!  (gasp!)

Mardi Gras is all about the fun, and so am I!  
When learning is fun, kids wanna do MORE OF IT! 
 That's where the board game comes in.....
And here's some lagniappe 
(that means a little extra, y'all)

Who doesn't love a little dot art?  
And a good VENN diagram always comes in handy. 

If you want to add a little culture in your classroom, your language lessons, your social studies lessons, I'd love if you would share our Mardi Gras traditions. 
And if you get the chance, come on down to the Mardi Gras, cher. 

All you need for your Mardi Gras lesson can be found HERE, y'all. 



  1. Mia, thank you for sharing all of this! It is so awesome to hear about where you come from and how you are able to share your experiences with students :) Great job on the download too!

  2. Thanks so much, Jenn, that means a lot to me! And thanks for following :)

  3. Love, love, love these activities! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks Mary, that means so much coming from you!!


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