I’m not going to lie, last week was rough. I was having a bummer of a week continuing to adjust to a new line of work where I am still finding my passion and seriously missing my old coworkers and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike my new job or coworkers but the transition has made me realize what a truly amazing and unique thing I had at Spawn. On top of it all, Clayton was working and staying in Baton Rouge during the week so I was left to my own devices to stay entertained in the evenings.
Alas, my Spawn pals sent photos and videos (you rule, Ro) during the annual company party making me feel as if I were there. Naturally, I opened a bottle of wine and put on my crawfish hat to celebrate from afar.
On Saturday, we tried a local lunch spot called Shane’s Seafood & BBQ. It was highly recommended by some Shreveport natives and after eating there we could see why. We tried the seafood gumbo and po boys (grilled shrimp for me and blackened alligator for Clayton – yes, alligator) and the food was to die for – Clayton actually paused and sighed after taking his first bite of gumbo. The story of the po boy, short for poor boy, as told by French Quarter:
The sandwich was invented by Clovis and Benjamin Martin, brothers and former streetcar drivers who opened a restaurant on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans in the 1920s. When streetcar drivers went on strike in 1929, the brothers took up their cause and created an inexpensive sandwich of gravy and spare bits of roast beef on French bread they would serve the unemployed workers out of the rear of their restaurant. When a worker came to get one, the cry would go up in the kitchen that “here comes another poor boy!,” and the name was transferred to the sandwich, eventually becoming “po-boy” in common usage.
Later that evening we went to Great Raft, the only local brewery with a tap house in town. It was there that we met the most interesting man in Louisiana, Barry Guillet. He was born and raised in Natchitoches (where we went to the Christmas Festival) which was made famous by Steel Magnolias but happens to be the oldest permanent settlement as part of the Louisiana Purchase – the town, founded in 1714, is older than the state of Louisiana which didn’t receive statehood until 1812. Mind blown.
Barry kept us entertained for hours with stories of Gangle Jean – his pet gorilla. Apparently, him and a few card playing friends went in together on the purchase of the gorilla when he was released from the circus. Gangle Jean is 42 years young (he has a good vet), thoroughly enjoys the taste of beer and on a warm summer eve, you can find his 300 lbs self in the back of Barry’s convertible, feeling the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. More to come on this after our next trip to Natchitoches…
After the brewery we stopped in at a local hipster bar, Bear’s on Fairfield for the Big Deal Burlesque show. Ever since I saw the movie Burlesque with Christina Aguilera and Cher, I’ve been dying to see a show in real life. To my disappointment, there was a lot less singing and dancing and a lot more boob tassels. Like Gangle Jean – the MC, Kitty Kaos, has a circus background. She has an extremely high pain tolerance and encouraged people in the crowd to come on stage if they dare… and staple dollar bills to her, using a staple gun. As two men braved the challenge, we finished our beers and called it a night at intermission.
Weekends like this remind me how lucky I am to be on this adventure. While I miss my friends and family dearly, people like Barry Guillet make life just interesting enough to keep me coming back for more. Living in Louisiana is turning out to be an unforgettable way to see (and taste) the country – while meeting some pretty hilarious people along the way.