Solo Road Trip Through the Forgotten South (Stuck in Time)

Mar 30, 2024 2M Views 5.2K Comments

Southern Louisiana is like traveling to another country. Join me today as we road trip across this remote part of the American South. We’ll meet the friendly locals, and see everything from mansions to despair, the Chitimacha Indian Tribe, and delicious food.

► Get the best bread and ginger cakes at LeJeune’s
► Stay at Albania Mansion
► Get the best seafood in Cut Off at Cher Amie’s
or Mommie Jo’s (owned by the guy’s I met mother-in-law)

► 🎞️ Video Edited By: Natalia Santenello

► Headlund – Small Mirage
► Headlund – Red Moon Rising
► Headlund – To Wonderland

(gentle music)
Good morning guys.
Here in Erath, Louisiana,
down near the Gulf of Mexico.
Deep in the heart of Cajun country.
And today we’re going on a road trip
across the southern part of the state
all the way to a town called Cut Off.
And from the locals I
spoke to the last few days,
they said, you’re going on a
very interesting adventure.
You’ll most likely see things
you’ve never seen before
and meet some very interesting
characters along the way.
Let’s do this.
(gentle music)
(gravel crunching)
So I’ve been told in Louisiana
they put the gravestones
above ground because of the flooding.
At least in this part.
And you can see some of
these homes are up on stilts.
And that’s because,
yeah, the water comes in
I guess that high.
And look at these homes,
they’re really far up.
It’s a good five feet off the ground.
From what I’m guessing
if you have the money,
you lift the home or if you’ve
dealt with the water issues.
But you can see they’ve put the trellising
around the bottom there.
Now this is hurricane country.
Some people have left.
Seems like the type of town
everyone knows everyone.
Bank of Erath, look at that
beautiful old structure.
It’s just got a stuck in time feel.
First impressions, very peaceful feeling.
– Sir, what was jr’s
before? It was a restaurant?
– Like a gas station
and fast food, you know?
People pick, come to get gas,
you go in there and get
a sandwich or whatever.
– [Peter] Did you guys really
come together as a community
when the hurricanes come through?
– Oh yeah.
You get help from all over.
– You get help from all over?
– Like in New Orleans,
in the night ward,
they still cleaning up
from Hurricane Audrey.
– [Peter] How long ago was that?
– That’s been years ago. Years.
– They’re still cleaning up.
– Still cleaning up.
– [Peter] And you guys
are cleaned up here, huh?
– Oh yeah, here, over
here it’s mostly flood.
But where I’m at in New
Iberia, I’m 20 miles from here.
– Oh, New Iberia!
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Do most of the people
speak French around here?
– Yeah.
– Yeah?
– Yeah.
– You speak French?
– No. No.
– But most do?
– Most. Oh yeah.
Around here, that’s all-
– [Peter] How far is the Gulf of Mexico?
– Maybe 20 miles.
– [Peter] Oh, it’s 20 miles.
– Maybe.
– [Peter] But you smell the salt air here.
– Oh yeah,
Well you see, you go over
here Intracoastal City,
when you get near Intracoastal City,
you can’t go no further.
Nothin’ but water.
If you want to go any further,
you get in a plane or boat or whatever.
But not by land.
– [Peter] You got some potatoes here?
– [Peddler] I got $10 sacks and $8 sacks.
– [Peter] I’ll get a $10 sack.
– Down in Tabasco town,
you heard about that, huh?
– [Peter] What?
– Tabasco, pepper, hot sauce.
– [Peter] You got a lot here?
– No. That’s in New Iberia
where I’m at, where I live.
I mean, if you want to go
there, I’m just saying-
– [Peter] Yeah, I think I gotta go.
I’m doing it, sir.
– Oh yeah, oh yeah.
– All the best. Love the people here.
– Oh yeah.
– You guys are awesome.
My cooking’s not as good though.
I don’t know what I’m gonna do with those.
– You bake ’em.
– Bake ’em up.
– You got good food down here.
– Some of the best.
– Oh yeah.
– Sir, you take care.
– Okay. Alright, you too.
Thank you.
– Thank you!
– [Peddler] Alright.
– That’s how it is down here.
Everyone is, so far, my five days
in Southern Louisiana is like that.
Everyone’s super open
and just very hospitable.
It’s a very warm culture down here.
(gentle music)
(gentle music continues)
(gentle music continues)
Check out this, called
Cigarettes adult store.
Mexican fish.
Some beautiful buildings in this town.
(gentle music continues)
Looks like it’s having a little comeback.
Nice town you got here.
You’re not feeling it?
– Glad you think so.
All these old buildings
needs to be run down, man.
– Well that’s cool.
You’re bringing it back.
– I mean, you can tell all
this been updated recently.
– [Peter] Yeah. And
the theater over there.
That is beautiful.
– They got a place that’s
called The Shadows.
Man, they have, I forget how
many people supposedly died.
They always have reenactments of wars.
I wanna say that was some kind of shelter
or something during one
of the wars or something.
I don’t know.
But I mean it’s a cool building.
– [Peter] Is this the
heart of Cajun country
would you say?
– Oh yeah.
– Now that the older people are dying off,
not so much.
– You gotta go in,
towards the swamps.
Get real deep.
– Then you can find the real-
– [Peter] Go into the swamps?
I’m going down to Cut Off today.
– Ho Ho. Okay.
– You know that?
– I’ve never been there,
but I know about where it’s at.
– [Peter] That’s deep Cajun swamp, right?
– Yeah.
– It’s way south.
– Yes.
(Peter laughs)
– [Peter] You don’t even go there, huh?
– No.
– [Peter] I’m pumped up for Cut Off.
– Good luck.
– Alright guys. Take care.
– Alright man. You have a good one, bro.
Be safe.
– You too.
(upbeat music)
(man singing in foreign language)
It’s really mixed here.
You have a mansion next to a trailer,
next to a mansion next
to an old Victorian.
What an interesting place.
(man continues singing
in foreign language)
Jeanerette has the cheapest prices.
Look at this cool old ’50’s style.
– Fourth generation of
the family took run it.
– Yep.
– This has been
in business for 100 years?
– Yes sir.
– Yeah, as of last Thursday.
– [Peter] And you’re
the fourth generation?
– Same family.
– Congratulations.
– Thank you.
– Thank you.
Enjoy yourself.
– We’re watering
our congratulatory flowers right now.
– [Peter] That’s so cool.
– Have fun.
– [Peter] Thank you.
They really kept it looking the same.
Which is such a great look.
And then you see this in Jeanerette,
you know, obviously the jobs
have picked up outta town
and gone away.
And with that goes the
people and businesses.
It just takes a business or
two businesses to come in
and really turn a place like this around.
That could be something
absolutely amazing.
Look at that! Since 1884.
Side entrance.
(fans humming)
(bell dings)
Hollywood? What’s the story here?
– Oh.
– Yeah. What’s going on?
– Ain’t got time for a talk.
– You don’t got time to talk?
You gotta bake, huh?
What should I get?
What do I need here?
– [Men] French bread.
– [Peter] Sign me up. I’m in.
You’re the sixth generation?
– Sixth generation
to run it by the same family.
– Wow.
– ‘Cause it’s been
handed down and handed down.
– Cajun family?
– Yeah. All the gens.
– [Peter] Wow.
Oh that’s what it is, Hollywood.
The French bread.
– Still hot.
Melt in your mouth.
– [Peter] Oh yeah, that’s what you want.
– That oven was put in in 1940.
– Oh wow! Master Baker.
– That’s like a Ferris wheel.
That’s the old brick old oven.
– [Peter] Oh great.
– One before that was
a fire burning stove.
It was right here.
– [Peter] How’s business?
– Business is a little slow right now.
– [Peter] It’s just all
locals, right, that are buying?
– Yeah.
– Okay.
Why do you, why do you think?
– Inflation.
– People are feeling it, huh?
– People feeling it.
– Yeah.
The ginger cake ingredients
are double of two years ago?
– But I can’t go up double on my price.
– So it’s really coming
down to dollars and cents
right now for the consumer,
for people coming in here?
– Yep.
– How much are these?
– $2.50.
– $2.50.
And people are having
a hard time doing that.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Is that one of your specialties?
– Yeah, that’s what we known
for, that and the French bread.
That’s what they would
feed the labor in the field
back in the 1800s and 1900s.
This is a big sugar cane industry.
– Oh, okay.
– Eat that
and they’ll keep a man full all day.
So wherever there’s, sugar industry,
like if you go to Jamaica with
it, they make ginger cakes.
– [Peter] Oh, okay.
Hollywood, what time are
you up in the mornings?
– 1:30.
– 1:30!
What time are you going to bed
– (laughs) When he leave me alone.
– (laughs) When do you
start leaving him alone?
– (laughs) He don’t bother me.
But I’m just playing.
– Holly-
– He goes to bed
about 6:00, 7:00 o’clock.
– About around 7:00?
– How long you been here?
– Oh, around 26 years.
– Oh wow.
– [Rickey] How you found us?
– I’m just on this road to Cut Off
and I didn’t want to go on the main road.
When I had on my Google a bakery came up.
– Okay.
– It’s way cooler
than I could have imagined.
– We’ve had people buy this
french bread from London,
like tourists and two weeks
later we’ll get a postcard
that’s sayin’ y’all bread is better
than our bread over here.
– See.
– Historical place.
– That’s great.
– That’s not a horse and buggy.
That’s the first motorized
vehicle of the town.
– So how does it-
– 1901,
the first motorized vehicle.
– [Peter] 1901.
Do you remember as a kid
what these streets were like?
– This is a awesome little town.
A lot of industry here.
Saw mills and the sugar industry was big,
industry had built farm
equipment and all that.
All that’s dwindling down.
– [Peter] When did that go away?
– Probably in the last
20 years I would say.
– Okay, so people left town or?
– Yeah.
Me growing up you couldn’t
ask for a better little town.
They had a Catholic school
here which shut down.
– [Peter] So all of these
businesses were filled up and-
– This little bitty town
used to have five banks.
– Wow.
– Five banks.
– Oh it’s so cool. He just
said, “Do you have time?”
And I said,
“Not really ’cause I’m
trying to get to Cut Off.”
And I said, “How much?”
He’s like, “Not too long.”
I’m like, “What do you have in mind?”
And he said, “I can show
you a sugar farm access
that you would normally not get.”
So let’s go check that out.
– I thought you had seen me. I’m sorry.
I was waiting right here.
When I seen you turn around the corner,
I thought you knew my truck.
I thought you were gonna follow.
I took off and then I
seen you turn in the bank.
This is it, probably-
– Oh wow.
– You getting to see
probably one of the nicest places around.
(gravel crunching)
– You got these massive live oaks.
– I think it was built in the 1700s.
You’re very fortunate
to be able to see this.
– [Peter] Oh, thank you.
Yeah, I appreciate it.
Oh wow.
What a place.
– Could you imagine living
in here in the 1700s?
– Shew! Everything’s so
grand and ornate and…
It was all about showing your wealth, huh?
– Yep.
This was probably put in in the 1900s.
The kitchen was always
separate from the mansion
in case they would catch a fire,
they could put it out before
it’d burn the big place down.
You have a door right here
and a door right here.
You open them two doors
and they always face the
houses north and south.
You’ll get a breeze coming through here
and it pulls it through
all over the rooms.
– [Peter] So without
AC back in the day it,
it would cool off enough in here?
– Yeah.
That’s why the ceilings are
so tall, the heat would rise.
And this was like a wind
tunnel, like a breezeway.
– [Peter] Yeah.
So the people that bought
this want people to see it?
– They want people to see it. Yeah.
– [Peter] The community to see it.
– They want the community to see it.
They having a creole festival,
and they doing that to raise money
to try and bring back down downtown.
– Oh that’s cool.
– They bought a bunch of buildings
and they refurbishing the building.
– [Peter] That’s awesome.
So they’re really trying
to bring the place back.
– They want to bring the place back.
– [Peter] Try to help with that.
– Yep.
This was the front in the 1700s.
‘Cause the main travel was the bayou.
The sugar mill was right here.
– Oh, right up there?
– Yep.
And then the sugar would
be shipped on barge.
But the main was horse and
buggy, but the boats traveling.
– So in Louisiana, sugar was the big crop?
– Big crop.
– Still to this day?
– Still is to this day.
(water trickling)
And you see the moss?
– Yep.
– They used to have moss
factories around here
that they would make
pillows and mattresses.
They would shove that in the mattresses
and they would shove it in
the walls for insulation.
– I could have used that.
The last five days I had
the worst mattress ever.
Didn’t let me sleep none.
You grew up here all your
life, you never saw this?
– [Rickey] I never saw this place
until Jared started taking it over.
– [Peter] Your friend that
takes care of this place?
– Yeah. Just couldn’t see it.
That’s why I said that’s a treat
for you to be able to see this place.
– Thank you.
– I lived here for 50 years
and never could see it.
– You’d drive by and always
wonder what it was like.
– Yep.
The old lady lived here
for years and years
and she was an old widow just-
– By herself.
– Her husband I think got killed from,
after her husband passed.
– [Peter] This would be
a creepy place to live
by yourself I would think.
Don’t you think?
– Yeah.
(engine humming)
The ingredients is still
the same from 1800s.
We use hog lard, which that’s
all they had in the 1800s.
They didn’t have shortening
and they used hog lard.
And we still put hog lard.
– [Peter] What’s hog lard?
– That’s when they kill a pig
and they make a butchering
and they make the cracklings.
That’s the grease.
– [Peter] You put that grease in there?
– In there.
– Oh wow.
So that gives it the flavor?
– Instead of modern day shortening.
We still use the same recipe from 1884.
How many businesses in the United States
six generations still going?
Normally the third generation loses it.
– [Peter] Yeah.
– This is six generations
of the same family.
– [Peter] If your son didn’t
take it over, then it’s done?
– Oh, unless somebody would buy it.
– [Peter] But in the family-
– I want somebody in the family to take.
– Alright, finally gonna
do this bread here.
Been looking forward to this moment.
Mm. That is delicious bread.
That is amazing.
And that’s what does it,
the old recipe with lard.
Let’s try the ginger cakes.
Alright, these are very dense, heavy.
So good.
Rickey’s doing it right.
Well his family’s done it
right for six generations.
Hopefully it continues.
(tractor rumbles)
I believe that’s sugar.
So there’s still a lot going
on down here in Louisiana.
The history of this is pretty dark.
I’m sure most of you know of it.
But thank God we’re in 2024
and now it’s tractors and times
have progressed quite a bit.
So the Acadians, the Cajuns,
they came from France,
ended up in Nova Scotia,
modern day Canada.
Then the British came in,
the sovereignty of their
land was jeopardized,
1755 to 1763, I believe.
There were roughly 10,000
of them in Nova Scotia.
It went to different parts of the US
and also back to France.
But Louisiana was one of
the big zones they came to.
And they came down here
because well, beyond
these landscapes or swamps
and a lot of heat in the summer
and difficult place to crack
outta life back in those days.
So they came down here and
brought their culture with them.
And to this day a lot of the
old timers still speak French.
They really hold onto their food culture.
There is a distinct feeling here,
a Cajun feeling I’d say
that can only be felt.
Try my best to show it through the camera.
But they really do take
pride in their culture,
in their food and their connections
with their family and their friends.
There are a lot of events here
and it’s one of those places
where you stop to say hi
and you definitely get a hi back.
(thoughtful music)
(thoughtful music continues)
– [Rickey] He said for me to tell you,
if you ever come back in this area,
he’ll let you stay in that house for free.
– Oh, that’s so cool.
– And he would turn you on,
like entertain you or whatever,
show you some of the culture around here.
– [Peter] Oh, that’s so cool.
I really appreciate it Rickey.
I’m almost through all your ginger cake.
I got one left. They’re really good.
– [Rickey] What you
thought about the bread?
What you thought about the bread?
– Oh I love the bread.
The bread is so good.
I just got to the border
of the Chitimacha reservation.
– [Rickey] Hopefully
you can find somebody.
Don’t they have like a little
museum there or something?
– [Peter] Yeah, they got something.
I’ll find something.
I’ll run into the Chitimacha
Rickey guy out here.
– [Rickey] Alright. (laughs)
Take care, man.
– Alright, appreciate it,
everything you did, thank you.
– [Rickey] Uh huh.
– Bye bye.
– You’re welcome. Bye bye.
(truck hums)
– We’re now entering the sovereign nation
of the Chitimacha.
Pavement changes.
The Chitimacha have been in
Louisiana for up to 6,000 years,
roughly around 6,000 years.
There’s supposedly 285
left to this day here.
But back in the day, their
villages were impenetrable
because they were deep in the swamps.
So they didn’t need fortifications
and they could get quite large.
The villages were up to 500 people.
And reservations are always interesting.
Everyone is different.
Some are doing very well,
others are doing very poorly.
This one has a casino that I think
funds a lot of what’s going on here.
I could imagine.
It’s very small.
I mean we’re talking, I don’t know,
a couple miles to get through.
It’s not like Navajo Nation,
which is bigger than New Jersey.
Just talked to a local
out in front of his house.
Unfortunately he didn’t
wanna be on camera,
but what he said was they are more like
a 1000 Chitimachas these days.
And it’s growing.
And they’re also expanding businesses.
So they have the casino,
they have a market here
and I guess they’re getting another market
and they’re buying more land.
So, from the sounds of it,
things are going good out here.
Let’s see if we can talk to someone here.
I’m pointing the camera this way.
(ladies laugh)
Camera’s going over here.
Just talked to two wonderful ladies.
– [Ladies] Bye bye.
– You gave great information.
You guys are so cool.
– Alright, come back (indistinct).
– All the best.
– (indistinct) Take care.
– Take care.
– Bye.
– But they don’t wanna be on camera.
And that’s just how it goes sometimes.
On these reservations,
quite often you need the administration
to approve of any videoing with people.
For someone like that, that
runs this cultural center.
So unfortunately that’s the story.
But they have their
health clinic over here.
They have dental, health,
this is their cultural center.
This is very cool inside.
Really beautiful, strongly,
you can’t really tell
from the outside, but
what’s inside is brand new.
It’s done really well. Super interesting.
The tribe’s growing. They’re proud.
Crime extremely low.
The good and the bad is
everybody knows everyone.
That’s what they just told me.
So when everyone knows everyone,
well people know if someone’s
kid’s off to no good
and that kid gets called out
really quickly by the community.
But then also everyone knows
your business at all times.
Let’s cruise around a little more.
I’m trying guys, I’m
trying to get that person
to talk on camera.
And I get it.
Often people are skeptical like,
what are you gonna do with this?
Are you gonna make us look bad?
What kind of content is this in?
And yeah, that’s just
how it goes sometimes.
Look at the streets here.
Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole, Mohawks,
Seneca, Martin Luther King Jr.
Lot of respect towards the Seminoles.
They just brought them up in conversation.
I said, “How is the tribe doing?”
And they said, “Well
it’s not the Seminoles.”
So in the tribal world,
the Seminoles are often looked up to,
because they didn’t sign a
peace treaty with the calvary.
And they’ve done extremely
well financially.
For those that don’t know,
they’re in south Florida.
Basically the cavalry gave up
and said, we’re not gonna go
through all these Everglades
and alligators to control you.
And now the Seminoles own
Hard Rock Casino, the brand,
they own the big casino outside
of Fort Lauderdale, Florida,
they own a lotta stuff and they
do really well financially.
So they said here, they
get $5,000 for college
if someone’s going full-time.
So 5,000 per semester.
Dental, health,
I don’t know if there’s any stipend here,
but it’s very small.
We’ve almost seen it all.
It’s great to see reservations like this
that are taken care of and
seem to be doing pretty well.
(footsteps crunching)
You guys were big in
basket weaving, right?
Is that the story?
– Yes sir.
– [Peter] And you’re Chitimachan?
– Yes sir.
– Okay.
– 1/4.
– 1/4.
– Yes sir.
– [Peter] And you live
here out on the res?
– Yes sir.
– How is it-
– Born and raised.
– [Peter] How is it?
– It’s pretty fun.
It’s a very tight knit community.
I really enjoyed it.
You had some people who
just didn’t really seem like
they enjoyed it or appreciated it.
I never let that get to me.
But it’s a nice community.
– [Peter] Everyone helps
everyone type place?
– Yeah. We try to.
We try to do as much as we can
to try to keep the community together.
– [Peter] They’re like
a thousand of you guys?
– Right Around.
There are some Chitimachans who don’t live
strictly here on the reservation.
We’re spread out all across the country.
‘Cause I got family who live
in like New York, Wisconsin,
all over who are all Native American.
– [Peter] Okay. 6,000 years.
Proud of that?
– Oh yeah.
I’m surprised we lasted.
‘Cause you know we are like
one of these smallest tribes
left in the United States.
And we’re pretty close
to I guess, extinction.
– [Peter] Does anyone speak
the language anymore or no?
– Not fluently.
They do teach it at the tribal school
on the reservation though.
– [Peter] Okay. Cool.
– I know a little bit,
I’m not fluent in it,
but I know a little bit.
I try to remember it.
– [Peter] But you’re
proud to be Chitimachan?
– Oh of course.
– [Peter] Many different looks.
‘Cause I wouldn’t guess you’re
native with the red beard.
– Oh yeah. We come in
all shapes and sizes.
– [Peter] You have a red beard.
I’ve seen some real dark skin.
I’ve seen light skin and
they’re all Chitimachan.
– Yep.
– That’s amazing.
– Because when I was growing up,
I was one of like the only
kinda light pale skinned people
that went to the Native
American reservation.
But over time, like I
said, it kinda got diluted
because we didn’t really have many people
who could keep the bloodline going
because there were so many tight families,
which would be pretty
much just inbreeding.
So we didn’t, we didn’t do that.
– [Peter] So when it gets that small,
you have to seek out others
because you’ll just be all inbred.
– Pretty much.
– That makes sense.
– We try to
keep the bloodline, but
sometimes we weren’t able to.
If you went to the tribal school now
everyone there is probably my complexion.
You don’t have a lotta people
who still have the skin color.
– [Peter] So as long as you
have 1/4% you can live out here?
– Is that what it is?
– I forgot what it is.
I think it’s not a quarter.
I think it might be bigger than that.
– Okay.
– I think it’s like 1/16 or-
– Oh wow. 1/16.
– How you doing?
– The bus?
– Oh, the bus.
– Are you Chitimachan, ma’am?
– Uh-uh?
– No? Okay.
– I’m not a Chitimachan.
I wish I could have been.
(both laugh)
– [Peter] You drive the school bus here.
– I drive the school bus.
– [Peter] How is that going?
Because I’ve seen signs
everywhere in Louisiana
we’re hiring school bus drivers.
– They need bus drivers like bad.
That’s Texas, that’s Louisiana,
that’s everywhere you go.
– [Peter] Nobody wants to do it or what?
– It’s just that it takes special people
to do this job.
– [Peter] To deal with all the kids?
You gotta have patience.
– You have to have
a lot of patience.
– [Peter] Do you lay
down the law with them?
– I lay down the law.
– [Peter] You don’t put
up with the BS, huh?
– I don’t put up with nothing.
– [Peter] You stop the bus?
– And I let the kids know I love ’em,
but at the same time, I’m not
gonna let them mistreat me
and I’m not gonna mistreat them.
If I see one acting up,
I wait ’til all the kids,
you know, getting off and I
say, you, stay right here.
Boom. That one kid.
I close my door and I
have my conversation.
That way he don’t,
that kid don’t feel
like I’m targeting them
and they feel they could understand that.
You know, it’s a rapport,
you know you gotta gain
that rapport with them.
– [Peter] And then they like you for that.
– And then they like me
because I didn’t blast them out
like most bus drivers
who “Hey you, sit down!”
I don’t do ’em like that.
– You’re not doing that.
Okay. So are you driving
bus for the tribe here?
– I drive for Rain Tree.
– Is that Chitimacha?
– That is, I think that’s
the Chitimachan School.
– That’s the Chitimachan school. Okay.
– Well then I drive for the,
I drive for the Chitimachans.
– Cool. But you like it out here?
– I love it out here.
I love it. I love what I do.
I love it.
– [Peter] I bet if you go to New Orleans
or even out of the state,
very few people know of the tribe here.
– Yeah, even my girlfriend
lives down in New Orleans
by Metairie and when I go down
there I talk to her parents.
They had no idea.
– [Peter] That you guys exist?
And they don’t, they don’t understand
there’s its own jurisdiction,
your own police force, your own schools.
– Oh yeah.
– Your own hospitals.
– Yeah. But not really a hospital.
I mean we have a clinic.
– Clinic, okay.
– Yeah, pretty much on the reservation
it’s our own federal government.
So we still kind of abide by state
and on certain situations.
But other than that it’s us.
We have our own rules and everything.
– [Peter] Ah, that’s cool man.
– Growing up, we always,
every morning before we started school,
we had to start and we had to
say the pledge in Chitimacha
and then we said your normal pledge.
So every morning we stood
up and we had to say
(speaking in Chitimacha language)
(man continues speaking in Chitimacha language)
(pensive music)
(pensive music continues)
(pensive music continues)
– So we’re nine minutes from Cut Off.
And this is definitely
not what I was expecting.
I thought Cut Off was
gonna be deep in the swamps
and really primitive.
But that’s not the Cut Off
story we’re seeing so far.
(pensive music continues)
(pensive music continues)
– [Man] This is probably pretty good.
– This place is good?
– Yeah.
And then my mother-in-law owns this place.
– [Peter] I was gonna go there.
– They closed today, on Mondays.
– Ah.
– Closed on Mondays.
– [Peter] Okay.
– I’ve never had the crawfish here.
And look, I live right here.
Never had the crawfish there.
Now my wife and mother-in-law
and my a sister-in-law eat the crawfish
at Binny B’s and they love it.
– Are you from Cut Off, sir?
– Yes sir.
– How’s it going here?
– Good.
– It’s cool.
– Yeah?
– It’s all fishing? Is
that what the industry is?
– Fishing? Yeah, pretty much.
But sportsman’s, you know?
Anything hunting, fishing.
– Sportsman, fishing.
What are you doing here?
– I’m a mechanic for the South
Lafourche Levee District.
– Oh cool!
So you just keep these levees going?
– Levees and the engines
and pump stations up,
in between here there’s two flood gates.
So we stop the water from
coming into the system
with flood gates and
all surrounding levees.
– [Peter] So a big hurricane comes,
does that help with that?
– Yes sir.
– [Peter] Okay. Okay.
You know I was in Lafayette this morning.
I told people I was going to Cut Off.
They said be careful down there.
– Oh, come on. Why?
– I don’t know.
And they’ve never been.
They don’t know what
they’re talking about.
– Good place man.
– No, it’s cool, man.
– If you would’ve came here two years ago.
– What?
– You would’ve seen a mess
from the storm, Ida.
– [Peter] Ida. It just wrecked this place?
– Oh yeah.
– Bad?
– Terrible.
– [Peter] Like the homes did okay?
Or those look like new homes.
– [Mechanic] Yeah, so this home is mine
and this is my mother-in-law’s.
– This is yours?
– Yes sir.
– [Peter] Okay. And your mother-in-law’s.
– My mother-in-law’s.
I have minimal damage.
I couldn’t complain.
There’s a lot of people
that lost their everything,
you know?
– [Peter] And then you
lift ’em up on the bricks
just to keep ’em up.
Yeah, she lifted hers
up and then I did mine
about a year and a half
ago, I lifted mine.
– [Peter] You just get a big crane
or a machine to lift ’em up?
– So what it is,
they come in here with
some hydraulic jacks.
And they’ll run some H
beams or I beams underneath.
I think it’s my house, and this house,
I think it was three
and four that they used.
And what they do is,
it’s all on a big hydraulic machine.
So they lift the whole
house up at the same time
and then they’ll put the pads
or pour the slab or whatever.
– [Peter] Ah, that’s cool man.
Alright. I’m digging it.
You guys are the coolest people.
– Appreciate it man.
– By far.
– Yeah.
– Thank you sir.
– Yeah.
– Take care.
– [Mechanic] You too.
– They got some shrimp gumbo here
at Cher Amie’s Seafood
Restaurant, Cut Off.
(patrons murmuring)
Oh yeah.
What a cool town.
Shrimp, potatoes, Cajun smell, seasoning.
Look at these big guys.
Your parents didn’t
want you to marry Wayne?
– Correct.
– Last name like Tyler.
That’s Texan. Uh-uh.
You needed Cajun.
– They thought I was from Texas,
but I was born in Golden Meadow.
– [Peter] They wanted you to
have a French name, last name.
– A French speaking French last name.
– [Peter] So how’s your French?
(Gary speaking in foreign language)
– I get by, whatever.
– Yeah.
– But you speak fluent French?
– We’ll talk to ’em in French.
– Oh yeah.
(Gary speaking in foreign language)
And friends that do speak French, but-
– [Peter] So okay.
– Cajun is a broken French.
It’s not real Parisian, but yet
there’s English words in it.
– Although I’m working on it.
That’s my goal this year is
to learn Parisian French,
to write it and read it.
– [Peter] So the big thing here was oil?
– Yes.
– Oil.
– Oil and shrimping, fishing.
– Prior to oil,
it was a shrimping industry.
– Okay.
– Trapping industry and oysters.
So it evolved when the oil field came in,
when people from Texas moved over.
And wanted to drill.
Late ’30s, early ’40s.
It really started booming.
My dad came down in ’39
to deliver something
to the oil field in this area.
So he stayed.
– So how are the-
– Gary was from Galliano.
– Okay.
– Next.
– Her family has and still has
the oldest operating
shipyard on Bayou Lafourche.
– How old?
– 100 plus years.
And they used to build dugouts
and small vessels out of cypress
that they would harvest
from the Mississippi River.
– So your family’s one
of the original Acadians
that came over?
– No.
– No.
– We came
directly from France.
– Okay. Interesting.
– But, speaking French,
I would always speak French
with my mother and my sisters.
Especially when I didn’t want him
to understand what I was saying.
And it just so happens
that one of my sisters
asked if I thought Wayne
would want another serving
of good, a second helping.
And he answered her and said yes I would.
I mean I wanted to kill him.
– Her sister actually had
a dish rag in her hand.
She was drying some dishes.
And she started hitting
me in the head with it.
– [Peter] Aw.
– Because she said,
“I can’t believe you understand
French all these years.
Two or three years.
And you understood what
we were saying about you.”
(Wayne laughs)
– [Peter] Well you’re
still married, right?
– Yeah.
– Okay.
– Only 51, 52 years.
– Oh wow.
– Yeah.
– I mean-
– Wait, wait.
– Start again.
– [Peter] Wayne what? What’d you say?
– When Wayne asked me
to marry him, I said,
“No, I don’t need a man.
I have the three Cs.
Cash, car and cable.
Three Cs.
But they’re different
cooking, cleaning and clothes.
I’m doing laundry all the time.
– [Peter] So you’re saying
Wayne is high maintenance basically?
– Very!
– Yeah. I can tell.
– I’m worth it.
She graduated college at 19 years old
with a four year degree.
– Oh wow.
– Awesome.
– In what?
– Education.
– Okay.
– Teaching.
She’s been trying to teach me ever since.
(Gary laughs)
– [Peter] You’ve been the
hardest student for sure.
– And she says there’s not enough time.
If you’re ever back down here.
– Peter, if ever you’re
back down the bayou,
bring your wife and you can stay with me.
– Aw.
– We have room.
– You guys are sweet.
You guys are amazing.
– You might not like it, but we have room.
– [Man on Right] Trust
me, you would like it.
– That was so cool.
Those locals saw me sitting alone,
inviting me over.
Great conversation.
What a journey today.
And if you look at a map,
I think we didn’t even get across
half of southern Louisiana.
There’s so much more to explore.
But just in that little
bit, so much variation.
The towns all had different identities.
People were uniformly awesome.
Moral of the story as the man said,
I believe in New Iberia, when
I said Cut Off and he laughed,
I forget what he said exactly,
but it was like, ah, don’t go there.
Or something’s up with that place.
You never know until you go.
And this is definitely
not what I thought it would be at all.
It’s actually quite nice
and I think that’s a lesson for all of us.
Whether that be a state,
a country, a place.
You know, we think we might
have an understanding,
but until you really go and see
it, it’s hard to fully know.
Alright guys, part of a greater
series here in Louisiana.
I did a couple great
videos in Cajun country
before this one,
and then tomorrow I’m
on a boat in the swamp
with a local Cajun swamp guy
who’s gonna show us what
that world is all about.
Thanks for coming along.
Until the next one.
(pensive music)
(pensive music continues)

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