Life Inside Rarely Seen Rural Corner of America

Mar 23, 2024 1.1M Views 3.3K Comments

Near the Gulf of Mexico and the Bayou is a part of the country where the locals move to a different tune. This is Southern Louisiana, an America steeped in a culture that started before the founding of the country. Here they have their unique food and traditions, and for many of the elders, their own language. Join me as we meet the Cajuns who call this place home.

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

MUSIC USED IN THE VIDEO 🎵
► Headlund – Small Mirage
► Headlund – To Wonderland
► Headlund – Red Moon Rising

(acoustic guitar music)
(acoustic guitar music continues)
(truck rumbles)
– [Peter] Beautiful home you guys have.
– [Allen] Thank you.
– [Erin] It’s the peace and quiet.
You know, you don’t have to go anywhere
to have peace and quiet.
– [Peter] Oh, this is nice.
And then it just goes open doors
right through the other side.
– Yep.
– [Peter] Day like today is
great with the cool breeze.
(laughs)
– Days like today, you
just want to sit and rock
and just hear the birds chirp and relax.
Clear your head.
– [Peter] But that’s not
what you do, Allen, right?
You’re out there in the
fields, you’re working?
– We’re in the fields
working, crawfishing, rice.
And it’s getting to be time
where we start planting all the rice.
And right now we should be
in critical blowing and going crawfish.
But with the shortage
that we’re having in
crawfish, it’s very slow.
It’s almost a curse and a blessing.
You’re not having money coming in,
but it’s giving you time to
be able to clear your head
and try to think of your next move.
(truck rumbles)
– [Peter] I’ve never seen
that, a trailer on stilts.
– You see plenty of them.
Pick ’em up with a crane and put ’em on,
set ’em on the base.
– [Peter] Got some old farms out here.
– Yep. All this pretty
much left is the cattle.
All of this used to be shrimpers
and this all used to be heliports
and docks for the oil companies
where they put the boats
to load all the stuff going offshore.
And now there’s pretty much
nothing left down here.
Very few.
– [Peter] Because of the hurricane?
– [Allen] The hurricanes, deep
sea, not letting ’em drill.
– [Peter] So who’s living down here now?
That looks abandoned.
– [Allen] Not many people.
It’s mainly all camps.
I know of about four that live down here.
– [Peter] So this guy didn’t go up
on stilts?
– Nope.
– [Peter] He’s just a wild man or what?
– Yep.
Didn’t want to afford it.
They’ll open the windows and cement floor
and take their chances.
– [Peter] So that home, that’s abandoned.
– [Allen] That’s all abandoned.
– [Peter] Flooded from the hurricane.
– Yep.
I know people see us
constantly on the news.
Oh, storms and how we lived
through the hurricanes,
but we don’t rely on the
government or any other help.
I mean, we see somebody
on the side of the road,
we, “Hey, y’all need some help?”
I can’t tell you how many
times checking fields
I passed somebody
and it’s somebody trying
to change a spare tire.
And then next thing you know
it’s, “Oh, we’ll help you.”
’cause they’re struggling and that,
pull out the tools,
and 10 minutes they’re back on the road,
and they can’t thank you enough.
It’s just, “Oh, what do we owe y’all?”
Nothing.
It might be me next time.
I mean, sort of thing.
If there’s a storm coming through
and somebody loses their house,
“Look y’all come stay with us.
“Don’t worry about it.”
Or they wanted ’em to evacuate
and they were too busy
or they had nowhere to
go and they were scared.
I mean, we’ve put people
up in our house, right,
just to be able to, ’cause
– [Erin] It’s the right thing to do.
– it’s the right thing to do.
If you don’t help each other
out, you’re left alone,
and we don’t live that way.
This was one of the first
companies in the area
and it looks like one of
the last ones thriving now.
– [Peter] I saw Halliburton sign.
– [Allen] Halliburton, Chevron.
They all used to be out here.
– [Peter] Okay. But Louisiana
is still big for oil.
– [Allen] They are.
– [Peter] Correct?
– [Allen] Yep.
But this area right here was
shallow water in the bays
and look closer, gulf.
It’s all pushed out deep sea.
And we aren’t capable of
having deep sea ships,
oceangoing ships come in and outta here
’cause of the depth.
That’s the marsh fires.
They’re burning the marshes to
kill off the dead vegetation
and allow the new growth
to come back healthier.
– [Peter] Would you consider this
Cajun country down here still?
– [Allen] All of this is
considered Cajun country.
– [Peter] It’s all Cajun?
– [Allen] People live
off the land down here.
– What does it mean?
I guess it depends on who you talk to.
I was with an old school
Cajun guy yesterday.
– Okay.
– Him and his buddies,
they’re greeting each other in French.
– Yep.
– They’re dropping French in conversation.
– Yep.
– Is it like that for the younger people?
Like you’re in your 40s, right?
– Yeah. I mean, we’ll do things.
We’ll still do boucheries
and cochon de laits
where we’re roasting
the whole hog
– Okay.
– And making sausage
– [Erin] Making sausage.
and Boodang and as a bunch
of people together, cooking crackling.
We’ll still do that.
– Yeah.
– We were lost in just
like the Cajun language.
It wasn’t passed down to us.
– Okay. Yeah.
– We’re not gonna greet each other in it,
but I find that we’ll be greeting
and doing things of the Cajun side aspect.
More of
– [Erin] Traditions.
– Traditions and foods and events.
– [Peter] Okay.
– I guess you can say.
– Like Mardi Gras
and I still do the Cajun
Mardi Gras down here.
– Where they chase the chickens
and go to people’s houses
and ask for foods for the gumbo
that they’re all gonna cook that night.
We’ll do things of that nature
to keep the Cajun culture alive.
(truck rumbles)
(upbeat music)
– [Peter] Yeah. Oh, you
got crocodile in the bar.
– Yeah, like the whole store,
you need to go around.
Look at all the good foods we got.
Look Best of boudin.
What?
– [Peter] You got the gumbo.
– It’s homemade.
She makes all this
herself the ground meat,
that’s from their cows.
The crawfish is from their ponds.
– [Peter] Oh great.
– It’s a alligator meat at times.
Best of boudin the best.
The rib eye’s is just coming off his cows.
– [Peter] All local?
– Everything is local.
Everything is right here in
the field across the street.
Look at all this though.
– [Peter] Okay. What do you got?
– Look at all this.
Hey, this was the Noels.
The Noels own the store.
This is the Broussards.
The Broussards used to own the store.
This is the owner.
He would use the crop dust.
Look, his crop duster.
– [Peter] Oh, there we go.
– [Salesperson] Look his man
sitting in the (indistinct).
(laughing)
– [Peter] That’s Cajun style, right?
– It is. He had a helicopter crash.
That was his crash.
– [Peter] He survived?
– He did.
Look at all his cool stuff he got hanging.
Look how canoe hanging.
Ain’t that cool?
– [Peter] That is cool.
– That is huh?
– [Peter] And everything I saw
in the fridge is grown over here.
– [Employee] Yep. That’s all his cows,
all them crawfish ponds.
Look his house.
See that big two story house?
That’s his house.
– [Peter] So you’re just
a fired up employee.
– Yes, yes.
– [Peter] That’s what I’m feeling.
You love it here.
– I love it.
– [Peter] You’re Cajun?
– Yes sir. I am.
– [Peter] Everyone around here, huh?
– Yes, yeah.
And he likes all his antiques.
You know, everything’s, it’s
just so homey, you know?
– [Peter] Yeah.
– Everybody loves it here.
You got these little tables
over there where they go in.
– [Peter] You can come get
your sausages and eat out here.
– [Employee] They cook over there.
They do all the cooking over there
and they bring it all in here.
– [Peter] Oh, inside the house.
– It used to be a diner.
– Okay.
– Yep.
– [Peter] Are you the happiest
general store worker ever?
– I am.
I believe I am.
In this crew, I am.
And there’s only three
of us, but I’m the best.
– [Peter] I think you
deserve states at least.
Ma’am. You’re the owner?
– Yes. I am.
(laughs)
– You wouldn’t been around
the whole store (indistinct).
– [Peter] So what, what do
you think of Cajun country?
Do you do love it?
– I love it.
I’ve been here for more than 30 years.
– [Peter] Okay. What do
you love about it the most?
– Just the Cajun people, very friendly.
I just love them all.
I haven’t married me,
can I say it, Coonas.
(laughing)
– Yes.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– Yep.
– [Peter] What’s good about those guys?
They know how to cook.
– He opens the door for me,
but I kinda spoiled him, so
I shouldn’t have done that.
(laughing)
– [Peter] Okay. But they
got old school values?
– Oh yes. Yes.
– [Peter] I’m doing great.
What are you cooking up here?
– We’re doing a.
– Well, like lettuce, tomato.
– [Peter] Yeah. What is that?
Hot link po’boy.
Oh, that’s what you want.
– Sausage.
– [Peter] Yep.
So you just, a little mayo and a bun.
– Well, we ask them what they want
and she wants lettuce and tomatoes.
– [Peter] Okay.
– You know what I mean?
– [Peter] Have you guys eaten here before?
– [Customer 1] I have.
– [Customer 2] She has.
– [Customer 1] They’re good.
– [Peter] It’s good.
You can’t, yeah.
You gotta come here for it.
Take care. Thank you.
– Thank you.
(door creaks)
(soft music)
– [Peter] That’s awesome.
– You like that?
– [Peter] Oh, I love it.
– What she didn’t tell you
is her husband was an ag pilot.
Okay. He would fly the
crops for the farmers
and everything and he crashed
and he’s lucky to be alive right now.
And that was the prop,
one of the props from.
We got some boudin balls.
I think one of them is a pepper jack,
and the other one plane.
– Okay.
– [Allen] Break it in half.
– [Peter] Oh yeah. I’ll let
you do it ’cause I got this.
– [Allen] All right.
We’re gonna see what it is.
It’s a regular boudin ball.
Boudin is pork and rice.
– [Peter] Okay.
– Normally it’s in a casing.
We don’t put it in a casing.
We’ll put it in a flour and
we’ll roll it and fry it.
– That’s great.
– Breakfast of champions.
– Yeah. So this is a
staple here, eating this?
– Morning, noon, night, whenever.
– Mm.
– Guys that crawfish, they’ll
come in, grab a Boodang,
grab a hamburger or whatever,
and they’ll go back to work.
You like that?
– Yeah.
– That’s good.
– It’s sort of like in Italy
you get like these risotto
balls, sorta like this.
It’s really good.
– This is a shrimp pistole.
It’s stuffed bread.
It’s fried.
And then whenever you open it,
almost the same consistency,
but there’s no rice.
It’s just shrimp and cream.
– So I gotta say for a gas
station, this is pretty rare.
– No, this is normal down here.
– Normal down here.
– Yep.
– Yeah. That tastes like the sea.
– That’s good.
– Normal down here, you go in,
you can get good quality food
in a gas station?
– Pretty much wherever you go,
you go to some hole in the walls
and you’ll think, oh, “What
is there to eat down here?”
“Let’s see what you got.”
– [Peter] Yeah. You guys
don’t mess around with food.
I’ve had some amazing food here.
– No, food around here is unbelievable.
– [Peter] So this is huge for
the community having this.
– Oh, I mean, they used
to have the old men
that would come and sit here all the time.
– [Peter] Oh yeah.
– [Allen] They’re not here anymore.
How y’all doing?
– [Peter] So the old
guys come in, hang out,
This is the hangout, huh?
– Come in in the morning.
They drink their coffee.
They talk and greet everybody
coming through the door.
(truck rumbles)
– [Peter] So everyone’s
tied into crawfishing
in some way, shape, or form out here.
– Pretty much between crawfish and rice.
I mean, this is what
drives this community.
A lot of the land over here,
it’s all tenant farming.
So. What that means is
– [Peter] Okay.
– we don’t own the land.
We farm the land.
– So who owns all this land?
– Different landowners.
Families that just grew up in the area
and I mean, you got somebody
who will own this little piece of land
and right here’s a different landowner,
right here’s a different landowner,
and here’s a different landowner.
– [Peter] Okay. So you guys as farmers
are just leasing this land.
– We’re leasing.
We’re leasing land.
– So that’s your story, right?
You’re leasing land.
– [Allen] Yeah, we lease the land.
We own some of it.
The way that we do the
rice here, it’s the safest,
the cleanest commodity,
and the healthiest,
which will feed a world.
If a third world country is
starving, they send them rice.
– When you buy rice, it’s so cheap.
How are the farmers making
any money with rice?
– We’re surviving.
The crawfish. Diversified.
– The crawfish.
– The crawfish,
boiling of the crawfish.
We’re doing what we have to do to survive.
– [Peter] Is it a hard go, farming?
– Farming is a huge,
nobody realizes the
stress that we deal with.
With rice in general, we
don’t set our own price.
We pay wholesale prices for everything.
And then we don’t know what
we’re selling our crop for.
So we’re going in, planting a crop,
hoping we can get this for it,
hoping we can make the yield,
and then hoping we can
break even and survive.
It’s one of those things where
you’re putting everything
you have into faith and God
and you’re trying to do
what you can do for your family.
(truck door rings)
– [Jose] Hey, morning.
– [Erin] Hey, Jose.
– [Jose] How are you?
– [Erin] Good.
– [Jose] 21 is good?
– [Allen] 21.
– [Peter] How you doing? Peter.
– [Allen] It’s Peter.
– Jose.
– Yeah. Nice to meet you.
– [Peter] Alex, right?
– Yes.
– He doesn’t speak English.
– [Peter] Alex, you’re the
only Arizona Coyotes fan.
(laughing)
– What?
(Peter speaks Spanish)
(Alex speaks Spanish)
(laughing)
– Maybe.
(laughing)
– [Peter] I like it though.
– No, they’re all H-2A workers.
They’re here for 10 months out the year.
– Yeah. And so that’s an
interesting thing to explain,
a lot of, are from Mexico.
– Yeah.
– Okay. H-2A means what,
like a 10 month farming visa or something?
– It’s a six to 10 month farming visa.
– [Peter] Okay.
– Where we get the labor
to come down here and work,
because what it is is, I don’t want
to say the laziness of people
these days, but it’s hard.
We can’t find people
that want to do the work
because with the prices of everything,
we have to be able to
catch 200-300 plus sacks.
The farmer has to catch volume.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– To be able to, to make
money with crawfish.
– [Peter] Yep.
– We just can’t catch a sack
or two and call it good.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– We have to move volume every day.
Where other people,
they can up their price
and do different things
and they can do less work for more money.
– [Peter] Yeah.
Jose.
– Yep.
– [Peter] How long you
been doing H-2As for?
– Oh, maybe 10 years, 11 years.
– [Peter] Are those
hard to get these days?
Are many people getting
’em from Mexico or no?
– Yeah, it’s hard.
– [Peter] It’s hard to get.
– It’s not like before.
It’s weird ’cause it
never took time to get it.
I saw so many people waiting
for that, waiting, waiting.
Too many people.
– [Peter] In Mexico, they’re waiting?
– In Mexico. They’re waiting for the visa.
I never saw that.
– So they’re trying to do it legally
and it’s becoming more difficult.
– Yeah.
– Where if you go illegally, it’s easier.
– I know that people do that thing
because they need work,
but I think it’s not good.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– Because it’s not my country, you know.
So I come and just for work
and the best thing I can do is
do the things like the right
way so I can help everybody.
And that thing when somebody
do the things like that
so we can help each other.
We can just grow up together
and make this country great.
But if everybody just
coming like that, never,
nobody pays taxes.
Just ours, just me
and people like me who come
in with that kind of visa,
and I think that that’s the problem here.
– [Peter] You pay taxes, right?
– Yeah, I pay taxes.
– [Peter] You pay, even
though you’re not American,
you’ll go back to Mexico
– And coming back.
– [Peter] but you’re
paying outta your paycheck
every two weeks or whatever, taxes, right?
– Yeah. But the ones who wants
to do the things the right way,
sometimes just the boss
don’t let them do that.
‘Cause they wanna be like,
how you say that? Cheap.
– [Peter] Cheap.
– Because it, it cost us so much money.
– [Peter] Because they
don’t have to pay taxes.
– Well even if not pay taxes,
but it’s even, you have
to supply ’em a house.
It has to be fully stocked.
It has to hold so many people.
You have to have a vehicle for ’em.
You have to pay ’em so much an hour.
So that all adds up to
what, it all comes from us
and what we have to pay to
where some people are like, oh,
we’re not gonna do, we’ll here,
they’ll make it work,
and then, but you’re only
getting paid this much.
Or you have to pay me back
’cause you’re using my
fuel or you’re using this.
And it’s things that
we know going into it,
what it cost for them to come.
But in the long run, it
helps us, because guess what,
they’re here to work
because they want to work.
They want to better themselves.
Where people in here look,
we put it in the papers.
We have to say, look, looking
for help, nobody responds.
Nobody. And that’s all.
– Or we get somebody
and then they don’t just show up.
– They don’t show up to work.
– And we can’t.
– And we’re losing money.
– We need it.
– [Peter] Right, right.
– You’re supposed to be at
work, you need to be at work.
There’s different other circumstances,
but we have to function.
We have to survive.
And just like a regular job.
– A regular business.
– I’m a nurse.
I gotta be at the hospital
when I’m supposed to.
I can’t just say, “Oh, I
don’t feel like coming today.”
– [Peter] Right.
So why do you think the
gringos aren’t working?
The young gringos?
– ‘Cause it’s a hard job.
It’s a hard job
and a few people around here,
like American people, they told me no,
you know what, I just
want to learn something
and do something bigger.
– [Peter] Okay.
– And bring my own workers.
So I think they don’t like to work
’cause they try to do something different,
like be a boss, be a farmer,
have care of his own places.
– Okay.
– Have a business.
And today it’s always I hear that,
but I don’t know.
I am not really know
’cause I never pass a long time talking
with American people.
But yeah, I think that.
– Why do you prefer the H-2A
instead of working in Mexico?
– ‘Cause first thing,
’cause I like the farming.
I like farm here.
I like all the places around here.
It’s like pretty peacefully is the name.
– [Peter] Peaceful, yeah.
– Peaceful.
And because in Mexico
it takes me more time,
make the same money
– [Peter] Yeah.
– that I can make here than over there.
To make the same money over there,
I have to work maybe seven days a week.
– Jose is one.
He wants to better himself.
He likes to try new things.
By the end of running these
fields day in and day out
at the end of the season,
see normally we’re starting,
some people start in November.
We’ll start January, early February,
and we’ll run through May or
June, five, six days a week.
Constantly all day, just
running these fields.
Can you imagine doing
that day in and day out?
It gets so repetitious.
You’re doing it in your sleep.
You’re not even paying attention.
And you know what trap is gonna be further
or closer to the boat.
You know every spot where
the wheel’s gonna move,
where you have to fix it.
And they do it so well
because they take pride in what they do.
Whenever, say something’s not right
or they see something,
they’re not just gonna say,
oh we’ll just leave it.
He’s one, he’s gonna get out
and fix it the best he can
and to keep moving to finish the job.
– [Peter] Well you guys are
lucky you got each other.
(laughing)
(motor whirs)
– Hold on right there.
(motor whirs)
– [Allen] Normally, this
time of the year like this,
he should have a half a pound to a pound
of crawfish per trap.
Some cases even more.
– [Peter] So you’re only getting how much?
– [Allen] Not even a quarter.
– [Peter] Are those good ones?
– [Allen] Yeah. That’s a good medium.
– [Peter] So what would
you profit from this?
How much for a pound?
– Right now, a pound, if
I sell it to wholesalers,
you’re looking at $5 a pound.
It’s not soft, but it’s not hard.
– [Peter] Yeah. Okay.
– [Allen] Then you look
at one of the darker ones.
Feel how hard that one is.
– [Peter] Okay.
– [Allen] So that weighs different
and they’re almost the same exact size.
– [Peter] Is the meat the same?
– Meat’s the same.
This one might’ve just
molted, lost its shell,
like a soft shell crab.
You’re gonna turn, be careful.
Didn’t want you to fall.
Like a soft shell crab.
They molt like a crab
or any other, they molt,
they lose their shell
and they get soft and
then it hardens up again.
But if you look, this is really
what makes the crawfish.
You can see the fat inside.
They’re full of fat.
So that means they’re gonna
have real good flavor.
There are certain times
in a year you’ll get ’em
where you’ll see the fat
whenever you cook it,
just bulging out of them.
Those are the best ones
’cause they’re the sweetest
and they’re the best.
We put a lot of money into the rice crop
to grow the healthiest rice crop.
But I found it also grows the
crawfish that much better.
We’ll start getting larger
and bigger crawfish from what they eat.
It’s just like a person.
You eat a lot of healthy,
rich, good foods,
you get bigger and stronger.
It’s the same thing for the crawfish.
The more you can give them to live on,
and the healthier it is, the better it is,
the better they’ll grow.
From this size to this size,
six to eight weeks, maybe a little longer.
The traps are designed to
where these little ones will fall out.
– [Peter] Oh.
– To where you’re only
keeping a certain size.
If you notice they shake the trap
as it’s coming up in the water
to help all the little ones get out.
– [Peter] Oh yeah. Makes sense.
(motor whirs)
(motor whirs)
(motor whirs more slowly)
That’s interesting.
– See, normally in a field like this
where we only have maybe
three, four pounds,
we should have two,
three sacks, if not more.
– [Peter] How many pounds in a sack?
– Normally these sacks run
between 32 and 35 pounds.
– [Peter] So now you’re only
doing with three, four pounds.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Which is
$15-20 to market for you.
– Yeah, but what did that cost me?
– [Peter] It just cost you more than that.
– Exactly.
It just cost me more than that.
I mean, you look at 50 pounds of bait,
you look at the time, the fuel,
the trucks to get it here and there.
The time it takes to cut
the bait, it adds up.
And that’s the biggest part of it.
It’s a fine game right now
where is it worth our
money to be able to do it?
– [Peter] You go out at
three in the morning?
– Oh yeah.
– [Peter] So these are your sons?
– These are my sons.
– [Peter] All right.
All right.
Dressing well, sharp, looking good.
– We’ll go out at three in the morning,
just stay out till three in the afternoon,
just catching crawfish.
– [Peter] Oh, that’s great.
– They all, Jose, they all
become parts of your family.
So they all act like kids together
and joke with each other all the time.
The boys will do something
and then Jose will do
something back to him.
And then it’s just a regular family event.
(truck rumbles)
See, it’s simple things
out here that people have
to watch on TV that we see all the time.
That’s just nature 101.
– [Peter] The bird caught a snake
oh and it dropped it .
– [Allen] And lost it lost it.
– [Erin] It lost its lunch.
(truck rumbles)
– I mean, how many kids can
say they’ve grew the hog,
skinned the hog, made the sausage,
and ate everything that they
put their hard work into.
They know where their food came from.
– [Peter] Your kids.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] That’s great.
So you’re passing it on.
– You showing them little
things of that nature.
You’re showing them that
it’s a cycle of life.
You’re helping them to
where they can help you.
During duck season,
you’ll go kill some
ducks, clean some ducks,
and okay, now you’re gonna cook ’em.
You’re not gonna waste them.
You don’t clean them,
you’re not going hunting.
It’s, you can’t just go drop ’em off
and pay for ’em to get cleaned.
You’re gonna figure it out yourself
because it’s something that
you need to know how to do.
If you don’t clean it good,
they’ll figure it out
because then they’ll be
eating more feathers.
– [Peter] So you’re teaching independence
basically is what you’re doing?
Resilience, self-sufficiency.
– How to survive.
People think, oh, you’re a
farmer, you just grow food.
No, you can know how to.
– [Erin] A mechanic.
Mechanic, you’re an electrician,
You’re a–
– [Erin] Plumber.
– You have to figure things out
because if we would have to pay for people
to come do everything, you
wouldn’t be able to survive.
(bluegrass music)
(bluegrass music continues)
(people talking)
– [Peter] Smells good out here.
– [Allen] It’s a crackling cook off
where they take the skin from the hogs
and they cook them into cracklings.
– [Peter] So you just
come in and pick it up?
– Yeah.
(cracklings crunch)
– [Peter] You guys all cook this
and give it out to whomever comes.
– This furnace is the fast, (indistinct).
– [Peter] Oh great.
– Just to bring people,
draw people to the park.
– [Peter] That’s great.
– All you do is grab, walk, and eat.
(cheerful music)
– They’ve been hunting
alligators since they’re five.
– They want a boat at a young age.
– Our grandfather is the first person
to take us to alligator hunting.
It was in his family for a
few generations before that.
And so every year I’m
the oldest granddaughter.
So my first time hunting, he
waited all season with it.
There was the big gator
and I was gonna get to kill
the big gator that year.
And so it was, I think it
was 10 foot, nine inches,
11 foot, nine inches.
But it had a foot missing off its tail.
It was a bobtail.
That’s kinda how my luck goes.
But I have the head.
It’s in our house
and then the next year
our cousin Maddie shot one
and then Emma got to
shoot hers the next year.
– [Peter] Okay.
– He mounted all of our heads for us.
The first big alligator we shot
and we got to keep the hide.
So it’s.
– [Peter] Cool. did your
grandfather speak French to you?
– Of course he did.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] That’s it. That’s it.
– Of course he did.
Comment ca va.
How are you?
– [Peter] Yeah.
Tres bien.
– Perfect. See, you got it.
(laughing)
– [Peter] So where is the
best place to be in the world?
– In south Louisiana?
– [Peter] Why is that?
– We all Frenchmen.
Most of us is German and French.
– [Peter] Okay.
– I was a German and my mother was French.
She got her people got
run out of Nova Scotia
and had to come here for freedom.
My grandfather was in the Civil War,
served in the Civil War.
And then after the Civil War,
he became a citizen of this country,
you know, vice versa.
The Cajuns come here for freedom.
The Germans come here for freedom.
– [Allen] How you doing sir?
You been all right.
– Good, good, good.
(upbeat music)
(truck rumbles)
– [Allen] This is the
entrance to Live Oak.
– [Peter] This is the
6,000 acres you lease.
– [Allen] And I also farm them.
– [Peter] Oh, this is nice.
These houses, everything you’re leasing?
– [Allen] The houses are
for the family right now,
the family, the owners of the property.
– [Peter] Okay.
– They each have their own house.
They all live across the world.
And I can lease out a select
few of the other homes
of the family members
that don’t mind their houses being used
because the houses aren’t used,
but a couple days out the year.
– [Peter] And this is beautiful.
What was it back in the day?
– [Erin] It was their family’s.
– [Allen] It was their family farm.
– [Erin] They all lived out here.
– So it’s a super wealthy
family, obviously.
So why do they want you here?
They want somebody to take care of it?
– They started off with just me farming
because they wanted to get
out of the farming side.
And what it did for me is
I looked at the farming side
and I realized that we couldn’t
make it just with the farm,
that we needed to have
another source of income.
(door rings)
– [Peter] There’s something
about those oak lined roads.
– I know. Just get ya.
– [Peter] How you doing?
– [Allen] Peter, this is Leah.
– [Peter] Nice to meet you, Leah.
– [Allen] Her two girls.
Anna Kate, Sydney.
– [Peter] Anna Kate, Sydney.
– [Allen] Her boyfriend. Robbie.
– How’s it going?
– [Peter] Hi Robbie. Peter.
– [Allen] This is Christopher.
– Hi Christopher.
– Leah works for us, Erin and I.
So she helps us with everything.
Look Anna Kate’s learning
how to build fence.
We like teaching values to the kids.
I mean, you probably didn’t see it,
but the boys are picking up
branches on the other end.
– [Peter] Your boys?
– [Allen] My boys
I didn’t even tell ’em to
and they started picking up
branches and helping Jose
and Alex do things.
– [Peter] Jose and Alex are out there.
– [Allen] Yep.
All of this is gonna be rice fields.
And in another couple weeks
everything will be green.
There’ll be food growing in the fields
and it’s just a way that
we can, look right here.
– [Peter] Oh wow.
(kissing)
They’re pretty shy, right?
– [Allen] The water’s still very cold,
where they’re not aggressive yet,
– [Peter] But they do get aggressive.
Like if I was standing here
when the water’s warm, where
– [Allen] When the water’s
warm, they’ll be more on point.
I mean, I’ve had ’em bite the bumper
of my truck checking
water in the rice fields.
– [Peter] And there’s
that one right over there.
– [Allen] Yeah.
Just how they’re tied in with their color
and just sunning themselves.
You see ’em.
– [Peter] Yeah.
Yeah. The swamp has
its own sort of beauty.
– It does. It’s almost, um.
– [Peter] I’ve never
experienced it like this.
– You see a good thing about
the way that we do things here.
I mean the ecosystems
work so well together
with the rice fields
right across the levee
and then the marshes right here.
That’s what we enjoy.
I mean, all farmers, they enjoy the land
and the way that the
whole ecosystems work.
(truck rumbles)
Even though you have petrified oaks
and through the years
storms really took its toll,
it’s beauty to us
because it’s the struggle
of how things survive.
So we’re gonna try to help
revive this whole area
and allow people to come out here
and try to reconnect with nature.
– [Peter] So you wanna
bring people out here?
– I’d love to bring people out here.
– Like tourists?
– Tourists, people that
just need to relax,
large corporate groups,
or people that just want
to do a business retreat.
– Get away from it.
– Just to get away from it.
– [Peter] Look at that beauty.
That is beautiful.
– [Erin] This is so great.
– Like see this coming up
right here is the deer pasture.
No matter what, later in the evening,
sometimes in the middle of the day,
it’ll be filled with deer.
No high fence, all natural, wild.
We can put people in a deer stand
or just sit to be able to
see animals in their element.
(motor rumbles softly)
We were just walking
around late one afternoon.
Erin likes to relax just
by, say, looking for sheds
from the deer and stuff because
– Okay.
– it just helps her relax.
It’s one way.
And we were just walking
around walking through
and we found something that
we both really enjoyed.
– [Peter] Oh cool.
– [Allen] Look at, just to think of it,
somebody was standing
here 50, 60 years ago
and might have just
ate lunch underneath it
or 100 years ago,
they might have camped right here.
And I mean that’s the history
that drives me sometimes.
– [Peter] So this relaxes you
from the hospital environment
you work in, huh?
– Yes.
– [Peter] Oh, that’s a
massive pricker bush.
Look at that thing. Wow.
– [Allen] You can actually eat those.
– [Peter] Oh, okay.
I’ll watch you do it first.
– [Allen] No, you take the little ones.
– [Peter] Oh, okay. At the bottom then.
– [Allen] And then you peel it off
and oh, there’s bugs and everything.
But you can actually watch a video
and clean them up and they eat them.
– [Peter] Okay.
– [Allen] You can eat
this, stem from the flower.
– [Peter] So is that
what you’re trying to do?
You’re gonna continue crawfishing,
but you wanna do some agro?
– Agrotourism.
Look, you want to see where
your food comes from firsthand?
We get a bad rep.
Oh, y’all are spraying
chemicals and pesticides
and y’all are contaminating our food.
No, we are growing some
of the safest food in the world down here.
And that’s why it costs money to do it.
We can’t do it,
’cause I mean, I was looking
at a statistic a couple days ago,
I think in the past seven years
we’ve lost over 2000 farms.
– [Peter] In the United States?
– In the United States.
– [Peter] Small farms?
– Small farms.
– [Peter] Okay. So you
wanna hold onto that?
– We need people to realize
where their food comes from
and how their food is grown.
– [Peter] So when these small
farms go outta business,
it’s just big farms coming in.
Is that the story?
– Could be big farms coming
in or it’s subdivisions
or it’s new growth and.
– [Erin] Or it’s more imports.
– More imports. Or it’s.
– [Erin] It’s from somewhere else.
It’s from Not here.
– [Peter] Right.
– [Allen] We’re being out-priced.
– [Peter] Okay. So if there
are like multiple bad seasons,
the government helps
with that a bit or not?
– We have crop insurances.
– [Peter] Okay.
– And things of that nature,
but sometimes that’ll just
be enough to pay our bills,
but we need to find, I mean
if we have multiple years,
how do you continue to
keep up your equipment
and your employees and allow ’em to.
It’s not just our family.
The way we look at it,
it’s not just our family
that we’re supporting.
We’re supporting other families.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– And it’s a heavier burden on us.
People look at farming as they see us
in nice trucks and tractors.
If I don’t have something that’s running,
it’s downtime and downtime is money.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– We have so short windows
to get things done.
It’s extremely hard
and it’s not beneficial to us
because it’s more money lost.
If a tractor breaks and we can’t fix it,
then what do I have these people do?
(bluegrass music)
(bluegrass music continues)
(truck rumbles)
(fans whir)
– [Allen] Peter, this is Natasha.
– [Peter] Hi Natasha.
– Nice to meet you.
– [Peter] Nice to meet you.
– And all of their people.
– Yeah. This is all family.
That’s my daughter at the register.
– Hi.
– [Natasha] That’s my aunt.
– [Aunt] Hello.
– Her son.
And the boiler is my dad.
So it’s all family.
– See like this morning
how we went to the fields
and crawfished, what
they do as well as us,
we catch ’em, we clean ’em, we boil ’em,
and we serve ’em to the public.
This is another source of
income that we all use to help
with the rice and everything
and make ends meet.
– [Peter] Right.
– So the whole process outside
and then they took it a step further
and did a drive through
where people line up.
If you look out the window,
and they’re all waiting to.
– [Peter] It’s a drive through.
– You can go out that way
if you want, out the door.
And then you could look at all the cars.
– [Peter] You’re closed right now.
Is that why the curtain’s closed?
– The curtain is closed right now.
– [Peter] Oh. And they just line up.
– And they’re ready.
– [Peter] It’s like a
rock concert in the ’80s.
– [Natasha] So right here,
she’s gonna go ahead and scoop.
We have some curbside that came in.
So she’s scooping their
crawfish to go right out to ’em.
– [Peter] How much a pound?
– So we sell it by the orders.
It’s a three, four, and five pounds.
Your three pound is 25.95.
The four pound is 34.50.
And the five pound is 42.95.
– [Peter] She definitely
is the fastest in town.
– [Natasha] She’s been here,
yeah, from the beginning.
That’s my aunt.
And she’s the best at what
she does, I promise you.
– [Allen] Yeah, our
prices fluctuate, Peter.
– [Aunt] That’s right.
– If we catch a whole lot
and there’s a lot on the
market, the prices will fall.
So it’s that price today,
tomorrow the price could drop
and we’ll have a price drop
and it fluctuates like that.
– Yeah. So we are about to open up at four
and we’ll probably be
sold out in two hours
because there’s not enough
crawfish for the demand.
We’re probably at about a
5% of what we normally are.
– Okay. So like Allen was telling me,
you gotta diversify as a farmer here.
– Yes.
– And they’re doing
something different right out
at the ranch.
I don’t know if you saw that.
– Yes.
– Do you call it a ranch?
– [Allen] It’s a farm.
– Farm. Okay.
You know, trying to bring tourism
out there down the road
and still do the crawfish.
– Yes.
– And like you gotta diversify that.
– You have to on nowadays with
the amount of the expenses
as compared to the income.
If you don’t diversify, you just,
it’s very hard to make it, you know?
– Right.
– In a normal year, how many
sacks would you go through
on a Friday in Lent?
– On a normal year, I would
say we probably about 50
to 60 sacks in a normal Friday.
– [Peter] One of those
sacks I saw earlier today.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Okay.
– It’s about 30 pounds a sack. Yeah.
– So tonight you’re thinking anywhere.
– Oh, we couldn’t even get but 18 sack.
So that’s what I said.
Not even two hours and we’ll be out.
– [Peter] Four o’clock.
Hello ma’am.
Is this the best in town?
Yeah.
– I came early so I
could be first in line.
– [Peter] What time you get here?
– 3:20.
– [Peter] 3:20. Nice.
– [Natasha] Corn and potatoes.
– [Aunt] Yes ma’am.
(bags rustle)
Spicy.
(bags rustle)
– [Allen] The crawfish
come out of the cooler
as they get delivered from the fields.
And then they’ll wash ’em, clean
them up, get all the grass,
and make sure everything’s good.
And they’re ready to go.
– [Peter] This is before seasoning, right?
– [Allen] These are seasoned in the water.
– [Speaker] They’re seasoned.
– [Peter] Okay.
(fans whir)
(metal clanks)
(fans whir)
– [Aunt] Alright, next.
– [Natasha] Yes ma’am.
– [Aunt] Three spicy, five local.
– [Natasha] Yes ma’am.
(bags rustle)
(door squeaks)
(feet thud softly)
– Extra corn too.
– [Natasha] Yes, ma’am, I put
all of that in an extra bag.
So you have four pounds of (indistinct).
(Natasha and customer converse)
– [Speaker] Take care.
– [Peter] How is it? Do you love it?
– Oh, we love it here. Excellent.
Best way to do it.
– Stelly’s has got it going on
and it’s just this little structure.
Two rooms basically,
all the production here,
assembly there, in a parking lot.
(indistinct shouting)
Really impressive.
I gotta say today
in the couple days I’ve
spent here in Cajun country
is the community is very strong.
It’s a feeling.
I’m trying to convey it with a video.
Not gonna capture it fully,
but the food is amazing,
people seem to really come together
as we saw earlier during that event,
and I don’t know, it’s
almost like traveling
to another country in a way.
It feels like a different
America out here.
Not to say those things
don’t exist in other parts
of the country, but there’s
just all these, the bayou,
the swamps, the alligators, crawfish.
It’s very unique.
And look at the line.
Keeps on going around the building.
How’s the crawfish?
– [Customer] Oh I love it.
– [Peter] Tell me about it, ma’am.
– [Customer] Oh, I love them.
– [Peter] Is this the best in town?
– Yeah.
I’m on my way to work.
So I say I’m gonna pick me up
some and I’m goin’ to work.
– [Peter] You know what it
smells like in that building?
It’s one of the best smells in the world.
– I know.
– [Peter] They’re boiling that crawfish.
They got the seasoning going.
– It’s crawfish, they’re juicy.
They’re not dry when you suck them heads.
It’s on point.
– [Allen] I love them.
Be off.
– [Peter] Just like that.
– You like that, huh?
– [Peter] You just get
it in a bag, you go home.
– And you enjoy it.
– [Peter] Yeah. It’s just the culture.
– [Allen] Let’s do that.
– [Peter] I mean, it’s a tiny shack.
– That’s what a lot of them are,
just they don’t need anything.
They’re open during crawfish
season and that’s it.
It’s like us, we travel
and do the catering of crawfish.
I don’t have the staff
or the employees where I
don’t want the headache
of a brick building.
– [Peter] They got the employees.
’cause they keep it
all in the family, huh?
– [Allen] It’s all in the family.
As the line gets longer,
it’ll be down the road.
There’s times they have to
get the sheriff’s department
or the police department to come
and make the lines for the traffic
because they’re all waiting
to get the crawfish.
– [Peter] It’s good to see
that the crawfish has got
a longer drive through
than the pharmacy, you know?
(Allen laughs)
That makes me happy.
(truck rumbles)
– Oh, you can use the other side
of it if you want or whatever.
I’m just doing this ’cause I’m right here.
– Right.
(crawfish snaps)
Do this.
– Yep.
Put your finger underneath like this.
– Yeah.
– And then you pinch.
– Okay.
– Turn it to the side.
Pinch and pull.
(crawfish snaps)
– Okay.
From there you take off the top.
– Uh huh.
– The first one.
– How’d you do that?
You just go like this.
– You just pull, peel it from the side.
– Like that.
– Like that.
– Oh yeah.
– And then that’s easy.
So then you come
and then you push it out
from the bottom and pull.
– Okay.
– Some people peel it all
and everybody’s different in peeling.
Everybody has their own method.
– Do you take out the vein or no?
– Some people do, some people don’t.
– Okay, what do you do?
You keep it in?
– I keep it in.
A lot of us will eat the fat in the heads
where all the seasoning is.
(Allen sucks on crawfish)
– You just suck it out.
– Suck the heads.
If you like spice and seasoning,
that’s where all the seasoning is.
And there’s corn.
– Should I be eating with
all this in front of me?
Why don’t I take a small one?
– Take, take, no, eat, eat, eat, eat.
You eat.
– So it’s like shared plate.
I eat and then I pass it on to someone?
– No.
– I can’t eat all this.
– A normal person like he’ll sit down
and eat 10, 15 pounds.
That’s just a three pound order.
– Come on. 10, 15 pounds.
– There’s some people who sit down,
you’ll see ’em eat a
whole sack by themselves.
I mean for the boys and me and Erin,
that’s a sack of crawfish.
– Suck the head.
– Try it.
(Peter sucks the crawfish)
– Oh yeah.
That’s all the spice and the fat.
– That’s all the spice and
the fat and the good stuff.
– Oh yeah.
– Look, some people do it
like what you’re trying to do.
– Yeah.
– See some people can do this.
Push, pull.
– Yeah.
(crawfish thuds)
– Pull that off.
– Oh yeah.
– And there you go.
Everybody’s different.
Some people will take ’em
and they’ll peel the whole tail
where they’ll wrap the whole thing off.
– What do you got there, Erin?
More sauce?
– More sauce.
– Erin likes sauce with her crawfish.
– This is where it’s at.
– You like this.
– Being out on the porch.
Perfect weather.
– Relaxing afternoon after a hard day.
– Seeing how the crawfish are fished.
– Uh huh.
– Like it’s really field
to table experience
down in your home.
– And that’s what it is.
Everybody, we know where
the crawfish were caught.
We know how they were
raised and that was it.
– Guys, take some of this.
I don’t need the whole thing.
– See we can sort crawfish at Live Oak.
– People can come out and
catch their own crawfish.
– Oh, you’re gonna do
that out at the farm?
– Yep.
– Oh, that’s cool.
– And then.
– Be part of that process.
– Let ’em see.
– This is great.
My wife’s gonna hate me now.
She edits all this.
Whenever we’re eating really good food
– she’s bumming out.
– It’s hard for her.
She’s like I ate a ham sandwich tonight.
– Usually she gets to
go Mexican right after.
Like we have a good to go Mexican place,
but nothing’s touching this.
– You got so excited to suck the heads.
I mean, as a first timer,
they get scared sometimes to do that.
– Really?
– Yep.
– Why?
– They’re like, oh, what
are you doing? I mean.
– That is where it’s at that
– That is where it’s at.
– You hit me right in the nose.
– You have pictures of kids.
They’ll put ’em on their
fingers and play with ’em
and it’s just a fun thing to do.
– I love in Cajun
territory where we’re at,
you see the crawfish on
everything, on every sign.
– Yep.
– In front of people’s
houses, flags of crawfish.
– Flags of crawfish.
I mean it’s what drives our economy
(Peter sucks on crawfish)
along with all the other
shrimp and rice and corn.
– That is so good.
– Simple.
– This is simple.
It’s just potato, corn, crawfish.
and it’s amazingly good.
You know what I mean?
It’s not complicated.
– No, it’s not.
We don’t overthink it and it’s a meal.
But look how it is, how we were today.
Every time we turned around,
there was some other type of food.
There always food involved.
There was people leaving
that crackling event this
afternoon thinking, okay,
we just finished eating
all of this different food,
where are we eating for supper?
Let’s go to another event
where there’s plenty of other foods.
It’s different.
It’s unique and it’s our culture.
– [Peter] You guys, thank you for today.
– We appreciate it.
– That was cool.
– That was a long and interesting day.
– Yes.
– Yeah. Big education for me.
– And fun.
We enjoyed going to the crackling thing.
– That was different.
I’ve never been to that one over there,
but we’ve done.
– That crackling event.
So do you wanna leave
the website to the farm?
– Okay.
– Because you’re setting that up now
and people will be able
to stay there, right?
– Yep.
– Or see farm to table.
– See farm to table farm tours.
We also do on onsite catering
with the crawfish,
travel everybody around.
We do all of those.
But just reach out to us.
I mean this is what it is.
I enjoyed spending the day
with you and
– Yeah, that’s great.
– showing y’all our culture
and everything we do on the farm.
– I’m loving Cajun culture.
My limited time here so far, the food is.
– From what I understand,
I think you’re gonna
end up moving down here.
(laughing)
– I think so.
– And then he’s gonna get to the summer
and say, I’m moving back somewhere else.
– Yeah, I think so.
Yep.
Alright guys, well thanks
for coming along in that video.
You guys were awesome.
– Thank you.
– Thank you.
– Yeah.
– Come down again.
– Yes, I will.
– Anytime.
– Until the next one.
(bluegrass music)
(bluegrass music continues)

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