Located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country, is the small town of Mamou. It is famous for its music, musicians & bills itself as “The Cajun Music Capital of the World.”
Now that all sounds nice & cute but why would anyone take the 3 hour drive from New Orleans, a city with tons of music, just to go to some small town in the middle of nowhere? Well throughout my project, I have experienced this unique feeling of accidental discovery, especially of simple & small hidden gems. I guess the best way to describe this happy feeling is when you find a $5 bill that had been forgotten and left in your pants or coat pocket. When you discover this simple lost treasure, you instantly smile. So, when I was writing out my list I decided to go in search of little secret gems in my home State of Louisiana, to find that proverbial hidden treasure in my own backyard. This is what brought me to Mamou, Louisiana to complete:
#200) Know my home State of Louisiana:
g) Boudin & Beer at Fred’s in Mamou (Completed on 04-30-2016 with Darcee Snider)
Fred’s Lounge (420 6th St., Mamou, LA) is a unique experience to say the least & getting there adds to the experience. There are many ways to get to Mamou, however we took I-10W to LA-13N. After taking the easy drive up the LA-13N, you finally get to the town of Mamou. Look for the Hospital sign or just take a right on South Street at the beginning of town and a left on 6th and you are essentially on their “Main Street”. We drove up on a stormy Saturday Morning so we were able to park across the street, but on a beautiful day it would be easy to imagine tons of trucks and motorcycles lining the streets. As you walk up to the old door you immediately notice the historic sign outside describing the history of Alfred “Fred” Tate, how he bought the bar in November of 1946, and all he and the Lounge did for Cajun Music. After checking out the sign, just open the door and dive right in to the heart of Cajun Country!
NOW GET READY!
Fred’s is high energy! Being that it is only open on Saturday mornings beginning at 8:00am and ending around 2:00pm, it gets rowdy fast. But as soon as you walk in the door, you realize you are going to have fun and can’t help but smile. (Like finding that $5 in your pocket). It isn’t a very big venue but includes a big horseshoe bar to the left and directly across from it is a Cajun band of some 4-5 musicians set up right smack dab in the center of the bar where they are broadcasting their Saturday-morning Cajun-music radio show that has been airing on 1050AM since 1962.
Now despite all those people taking up space on the dance floor, this isn’t a free sit-down concert! Be prepared to Dance! Despite the small space, you just can’t help yourself because the music takes control. Old farmers, young cowboys, Harley riding bad asses, tourists and locals alike all can’t resist the music. Everyone grabs a girl and starts dancing. The music is truly unbelievable. It’s that old Cajun French that few understand anymore but everyone still feels inside them.
The Legend of Tante Sue
After the death of Fred on July 15, 1992, his wife Tante Sue remained at the bar. From the way the stories go, she is a pistol of personality with a bad addiction to cinnamon that only shots of Hot Damn can cure. She would have all kinds of random fun according to the many visitors of the day. It is said that first she would take the microphone for the weekly tradition wherein she read the guest book to see which visitors traveled the farthest and would give away Cajun prizes such as a seasoning and sauce gift set. Then, she would walk around to all the dancers and drinkers with a white cake box handing out slices of Boudin and shots of Hot Damn to go with their Beer!
Sadly, Tante Sue doesn’t work there anymore. But as of April 2016, she is still around. So you may catch her walking down Maine Street with her gun holster filled with a flask of hot damn, when you visit Mamou.
THE BOUDIN & THE BEER
So without Tante Sue did we still have BOUDIN & THE BEER? Definitely…well sort of…kind of….
Day drinking isn’t a big deal coming from a city like New Orleans, but several beers midmorning while Cajun dancing is a unique practice of those skills. Fred’s is a beer hall, with Coors’ Light flowing like water. However, if you really want the experience we recommend their specialty beer:
The $2 Schlitz
Now if you aren’t a beer drinker, they have great Bloody Mary’s or you can get a Double Crown & Seven. You may even decide you need the liquid courage of several shots of Hot Damn in honor of Tante Sue!
Now unfortunately, with Tante Sue’s departure, they don’t seem to be handing out slices of Boudin anymore. What the hell is Boudin? Basically, boudin is a combination of cooked rice, pork, onions, green peppers and spices injected into a natural casing and served everywhere from the fanciest restaurants to gas stations. In my personal opinion, it is even better rolled into meat balls and then deep fried! Now I know that all sounds unbelievable, but as they say in New Orleans, “it ain’t dere no more,” at least at Fred’s. So, when you decide you can’t dance anymore or savor another sip of Schlitz, walk across the street to the Krazy Cajun Café (411 6th St, Mamou). Krazy Cajun Café has some of the best breakfast food around. The pancakes and omelets are awesome and they have daily specials for brunch and lunch foods. If you stick with breakfast definitely get a biscuit as your side cause it was awesome. Also, I personally recommend sitting at the old diner counter and talking with the staff. They ladies working there were unbelievably friendly and told us the stories of Mamou, their own children and all the news & gossip of the town. It was a perfect end to this great adventure.
Have You Ever Been To Fred’s Lounge, the Krazy Cajun Café, or anywhere cool in Mamou? Tell me about Your Experience in the Comments Below?