7 Ways to go Cajun in Port Arthur
Port Arthur’s Cajun roots are deep, and flavorful. Our Southeast Texas spot features coastline, marshes and alligators, just like nearby Louisiana. When you’re in the Lone Star State, get a taste of our Cajun hospitality and sites. Follow up with gumbo, boudain and crawfish at area restaurants with strains of Swamp Pop, Zydeco and Cajun ballads in the air. Dancing the two-step in a pair of cowboy boots is totally acceptable.
Come anytime for bon temps – that’s “good times.” We let the good times roll extra when it’s Cajun Heritage Festival time. Here’s your guide to how we do it in Port Arthur.
Museum of the Gulf Coast is awesome for so many reasons. This time, we’ll focus on one of the largest murals in the south. Our area’s story, from dinosaurs to the discovery of oil, spans the first floor wall. Check out a “fiery” oil tank and display of some of the ways the area’s refineries make products every household uses. An Acadian home replica is also inside this gem of a museum. Upstairs is a tribute to Harry Choates, the “Godfather of Cajun Music” who performed “Jolie Blon.” You’ve probably heard of Janis Joplin and The Big Bopper, who are also honored in the Music Hall of Fame.
House of Acadia
Imagine what’s for dinner as you visit La Maison Des Acadienne – the “house of Acadia.” The table is set and the pot is ready, because these Cajun dwellers had to catch their main course. This authentic Acadian dwelling reminds us putting a meal on the table involved some effort. Pioneer Cajuns usually had to catch their main course. Nestled in Nederland’s Tex Ritter Park, we see how hard-working Cajuns entertained themselves and rested at night. The park is also features the Windmill Museum, displaying memorabilia regarding Tex Ritter. Ritter, the movies’ favorite singing cowboy, lived in Nederland. Both sites are available for tours. History lovers completed La Maison Des Acadienne in 1976.
House of Beautiful Sunshine
La Maison Beausolei, house of “Beautiful Sunshine,” shares the Acadian story in Port Neches Park. The cypress home began its journey around 1810 in Louisiana’s St. Martin Parish. Decades later, a barge brought it down the Vermilion River, to the Intercoastal Canal. The Neches River was the last leg of the venture. Les Acadiens du Texas, a non-profit organization, works to preserve the Acadian culture and language and restored this cypress home. A French Mass is celebrated on occasion. The home is being repaired, but you can sure drive by and take a picture.
In the 1920s Louisiana Cajuns arrived in Port Arthur for refinery work. Since they brought their spices and recipes, we are ever-grateful for boudain, fried alligator, shrimp and gumbo. File, cayenne and blended Cajun and Creole spices flavor our spreads. We love boiling and eating crawfish by the pounds and sometimes race them. Here’s more on where to get crawfish in Port Arthur, so, you’re welcome. Chet Garner of The Daytripper enjoyed the specialty of the house at The Boudain Hut, and we figure you will, too. Here are a few more of our MANY favorites offering Cajun flavors: Rodair Bar & Grill, : Reel Cajun, Judice’s 1927, Touch of Cajun Cafe.
Cajun Heritage Festival 2023
In 2022, the Cajun Heritage Fest is set for April 1 of 2023. Come help us shake a leg. Southeast Texas Arts Council sponsors this event in Port Arthur to promote Cajun heritage and there’s plenty of fun planned. You’re sure to run into a Cajun cousin. While in town, enjoy some Cajun hospitality, Port Arthur style. Museum of the Gulf Coast has tickets to this festival. Stay overnight for the self-guided Cajun Caravan. Read about it, here.
Read more about it here.
Jim LaBove, Cajun Chronicler
Jim LaBove grew up in Sabine Pass helping his daddy fish and gather oysters for restaurants. We consider his memories, thoughts, recipes and drawings a bridge to the Cajun history of our area. Fortunately, he has written several books on the topic. Look for them in the Museum of the Gulf Coast gift shop.
Join in the Jams
Should you have the extraordinary luck of being in Port Arthur on the first or third Thursday of the month, you can be part of the area’s Cajun heritage. Join in a Cajun and Creole acoustic jam from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in nearby Nederland, 922 Nederland Avenue. Bring an instrument if you got one. Shake a leg or just listen. No charge. Help keep these cultures alive in Southeast Texas.
In Cajun conclusion, we want you to come to Port Arthur and “pass a good time,” as the Cajuns do say. Experience enough hospitality and flavors to make you want to come back and see us again.