In the early seventies, front lawns in the New Orleans suburbs fascinated me with their ornate displays of yard. In a predominantly Catholic community, it’s no surprise that much of the statuary was religious. One motif of idolatry appeared at many homes in various designs, but all were handcrafted. Someone had figured out that cutting an old-fashioned bathtub in half (and throwing away the drain end) formed a perfect arch to protect a statue of Mary. Many yard-artists took it one step farther and decorated the top with blue electrical insulators and outlined it with plastic flowers. For the holidays, they added large multi-colored Christmas lights and “lit her up.” Locals, always clever with their humor, called their shrines “Mary in a Bathtub.” Ever since then, Louisiana yard art has held a special place in my heart. It never surprises me.
But I was almost caught off guard when zooming along I-10, a few miles west of Lafayette, near Scott, Louisiana. And it was lucky for me that the giant jester statue in a shopping center caught my eye. We made a u-turn when we saw a sausage sign near the jester (my husband can’t resist a good sausage market). A woman shopping in the market recommended the Cajun restaurant next door when we asked if we knew anything about the food there. Coincidentally, she worked there, and gave us a free bread pudding coupon. So, we couldn’t pass up dinner at Fezzo’s.
It took me about thirty seconds to choose from the menu. They offered a Cajun Trio – a sampler of three different gumbos. I feasted on chicken and sausage, shrimp and okra, and seafood – all three cups served together on a large plate. They were so delicious I couldn’t choose a favorite. I just savored each on its own merit. Next time I’m going to try a specialty of theirs – Seafood Maque Choux, something I’d never heard of before but sounds divine. The menu describes it as “Crawfish & Shrimp smothered in onions, bell peppers, and fresh corn, served with rice.” The bread pudding is scumptious, but after three cups of gumbo I couldn’t eat it all — so I shared.
And, if you stop at Fezzo’s in Cajun country, enjoy the food and don’t let the yard-art scare you — especially the concrete gator at the front door.