The International Festival in Lafayette

By: Smith Schwartz |

We rolled up to Aaaah T’Frere’s in Lafayette, Louisiana just on the heels of Twilight Time. Just as soon as our hosts could say bienvenue and offer us a crab crustard, they asked, ”y’all here for the festival?”

Well, I suppose we are now! We were just looking for a fun place to stop for the evening on our drive from Austin to New Oreleans, and we just happened to settle on Lafayette during the International Festival. This festival is estimated to draw around 350,000 people to this quaint Cajun city with only 120,000 residents. We were told to park at the Cajun dome, where we’d be taken by a shuttle to downtown. Well, we waited 45 minutes to get on the shuttle that took us the distance of a 20 minute walk. Next time, we’ll hoof it for sure.

The International Festival features the best Francophone music from all over the world. We stumbled upon some great acts, but the real winner this evening was the food.

Local restaurants from all over Cajun country had booths at the festival, offering up tastings of the best of their menus. We sampled some amazing boudin, jambalaya and of course my favorite…

crawfish etouffee with fried catfish. Note: a Cajun etoufee is quite different than a Creole one. The Cajuns use a roux, while Creoles love their tomatoes. I’m not going to argue one is better than the other, but I’d more than happily serve on an official taste-testing panel should anyone ever need my assistance.