Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Accidental Abbevillion

I live in Abbeville, Louisiana.  Abbeville (pronounced Abbey-ville) is a small town of just over 12,000 people, it covers only 5.7 square miles, and is the seat of Vermilion Parish, southwest of Baton Rouge in the very heart of Cajun country.  Abbeville is famous for its Omelette Festival and as the birthplace of songwriter and musician, Bobby Charles (See You Later Alligator and Walking To New Orleans), among other things.

I landed in Abbeville purely by accident.  I moved here to care for a sick friend and when she moved to a nursing home I took a small, 300 sq.ft. garage apartment in the center of town and here I am.  My little place sits between St. Mary Magdelen Church and a rice mill.  In the morning I awaken to church bells calling my Catholic neighbors to worship and in the evening I hear the rice mill churning away.  Next to the church is Magdelen Square, a sweet little park and gazebo, under a canopy of ancient oak trees, where folks gather for festivals, farmers markets, evening concerts and the like. Music and musicians abound in this part of the country and there is always a band playing somewhere so the music floats on the air, coming in and out of earshot.  I am also close to some wonderful restaurants where the smell of cooking, like the music, is always wafting through my airspace...fresh baked french bread, spicy crawfish, and gumbo...Steen's Syrup mill, on the other side of the church, completes the meal with the sweet smell of cane syrup cooked in open kettles as it has been done since 1910.

My Abbeville adventures began the first time I stepped off my porch, and in coming posts I will share some of them with you.  But suffice it to say, for this Texas, protestant, liberal, feminist, life in small town, Catholic, French Cajun world is interesting...for both me and my new neighbors.  So come sit on my stoop some summer evening and I will tell you about my encounters with priests in the flooring store, chickens in the post office and the world's largest omelette.