I can’t explain exactly what makes one town charming, and another, not so much…. “Je ne sais quoi.” But when it is, charming, I can see it, almost immediately…I mean, I can feel it. And I feel it in Breaux Bridge, LA.
We crossed the bridge into the main part of the city. One or two streets really. But the life can be felt. People were dressed up. A young man, maybe six years old – pink collared shirt with bow tie. Girls in dresses. Something must be happening on this Saturday nearing mid day. We walked toward the small crowd. They were leaving the one church in the city center. Warming in February’s sun, they laughed and visited on the lawn. We just kept walking toward it, until we were in it. We asked the priest the occasion — confirmation he said. We asked, did he know of a good place to have lunch. Yes, he said without hesitation. One of my favorite things. I love it when people are sure of their city – their home. And that doesn’t always happen. We always ask, everywhere we go, because we want to eat what the locals eat. And there is such beauty when they are certain, when they say with confidence and pride — go here. Confirmation.
We went as directed. As we walked we could here Zydeco music coming from different buildings. They celebrate Saturday mornings here, with music and food and coffee and drink. And why not? We all should! We stepped into the restaurant. Seated at the table, she came over to greet us – the owner. She was proud of her place – with good reason. She was welcoming – asked us where we were from – so happy we were there. The food was sure to be good, we were already enchanted. And it was. Crawfish Etoufee. Shrimp. Delightful. We walked the shops. The woman at the antique store gave us her phone number. “You call if you need anything. I don’t know everyone, but I can help.” People being people.
With full bellies and hearts, we saw the haunting beauty of the swamps and the lakes and the trees. This is Breaux Bridge. It is not New Orleans. I have often written that France is not the Eiffel Tower — it is so much more. And so it is with Louisiana.
The world is a magical place. Filled with beautiful things to see. But I encourage you to look beyond the landmarks. Beyond the popular. Search for the humanity. When you find it, you will never be disappointed. The charm of humanity — beauty confirmed.