During the past century, Houma and neighboring parts of Southeast Louisiana have endured hurricanes, oil spills and the mistakes of man trying to control the path of the Mississippi River. The inhabitants of this part of the country have managed to hang on to their culture, history and vocations that make this part of Louisiana unique.
Because French is still taught in the schools and most of the older people speak it, the Acadian French are given most of the credit for the Cajun culture, but in reality, the culture has been shaped by the intermingling of a number of nationalities. The French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Caribbean, Irish, German, Italian and African influences have been blending in Houma for more than two centuries. This amazing evolution can be seen in the diversity of the people’s faces and exhibits a lifestyle that is both distinct and marvelously indefinable. Each nationality has retained some of its native heritage, yet inspired a shared way of life that is a perfect blend of all the others.
The perception of most tourists is that jazz, Mardi Gras, the Saints football team and the 9th Ward in New Orleans are the most important interests in Louisiana. That’s because few have ever seen or experienced the overpowering ecological treasure of Houma and its unique cuisine at local eateries!
One has to begin their introduction to Cajun cooking at A-Bear’s Cafe on Bayou Black Drive in Houma (985-872-6306). This is an authentic family owned Cajun cafe that operates out of an 83 year old building. The gumbo is beyond description, and other plates come piled high with local stews, catfish, and white beans. A-Bear’s is also famous for their great selection of homemade desserts...including their decadent chocolate peanut butter pie!
The Bayou Delight Restaurant is also on Bayou Black Drive (985-876-4879), but offers many different Cajun delights and live Cajun music on Friday and Saturday nights. This restaurant is known for their fried chicken dinner with a side of dirty rice.
Another tasty and interesting place to dine is Boudreau and Thibodeau’s Cajun Cookin’ Seafood Restaurant http://www.bntcajuncookin.com. The chicken and sausage gumbo is fantastic and the poboy sandwiches are probably the best in the area. This place also has an unforgettable atmosphere with its decor of Cajun jokes and a giant stuffed alligator named Gaston.
For the freshest seafood in the area, take a 30 minute ride out to Sportsman’s Paradise in Chauvin, Louisiana (985-594-2414). Connie Townsend always has the latest catch on the menu...plus great gumbo, poboys, and salads. Connie is also the daughter of one of the Dolittle Raiders who bombed Tokyo in B-25s only a year after Pearl Harbor in 1942. You can see lots of memorabilia on the walls of the restaurant.
All the bad press about the oil spill hurt this area, but none of it was true! Houma was not even touched by that disaster which only affected areas farther to the east. This section still has the best Cajun cooking and retains the raw beauty of coastal Louisiana with its unique culture, which is one of the most valuable assets in our country!