Cajun Traditions...


Traditions run deep here in the south. They make up a big part of who we are and why we celebrate. Christmas is that time of year when friends....family...and traditions join hand in hand. To some this may look like just a pile of sticks.



But  for those of us who are blessed to live along the bayous and the awesome Mississippi....it's a way of life!


50 miles above New Orleans ,Cajun descendants once lined the Mississippi River Levee with bonfires. Today the tradition remains the same....


It was once believed that we needed to light the way for Papa Noel to find us down here in the swamps.  So every Christmas Eve a huge festival begins and at dark the bonfires light the night sky for Papa Noel.

This huge house is called Manresa House and dates back to 1842. My Grandfather attended school here now it is used to house retreats.



This is one of the side buildings to the Manresa.... beautiful!



Just across the street from Manresa is this life size Nativity. It's is just breathtaking resting under the oaks.


One of the historical homes along the river road.

Just something special about old wooden churches...I bet the Lord moved many a souls on those wooden pews...




Here are just a few of the acadian style homes that grace the river road. If you are ever down this far south, this road alone can take you on a journey in time. Does your community or family  have any special traditions?

24 comments:

  1. What a awesome tradition! If you attend the Christmas Eve event, you'll have to share pictures!
    Thank you so much for sharing some great American History!
    Merry Christmas!

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  2. oh, those pictures of the bonfires bring back memories of home! I do miss that now that I'm not in Louisiana anymore :(

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  3. I had no idea you all were so close to NOLA! The bonfires along the Mississippi are one of my favorite Louisiana traditions! Merry Christmas Susie to you and the family!

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  4. I love traditions like that! Hmmm...I'll have to research and see what my family did back in the 1800's. I can just imagine Two Rivers Mansion decked out for Christmas...

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  5. Great traditions, I would love to be there to see it.
    Have a Merry Christmas
    Pam

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  6. Oh you're making me miss Louisiana and the Cajun Christmas traditions. I lived in Lafayette for about 10 years when I was younger, and although I love Texas, there are some things from Louisiana that just can't be beat!

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  7. Learn something new everyday - love that they still keep the traditions alive! Beautiful photos! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  8. I'm so glad you shared this with us - I've never heard that before. I think it would be great to be a part of that special tradition every Christmas Eve & I just love that Nativity.
    Enjoy your Christmas, Susie.

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  9. Merry Christmas Susie....I truly hope you have a wonderful day - and an awesome year ahead...

    God bless you and yours.

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  10. So pretty-I hope you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

    Cheri

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  11. gorgeous.
    I love traditions...just don't ask me to go ice skating on winter break with a thousand tourists.
    xo

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  12. Would you believe that I am from Louisana (the northeast part) and I've never heard tradtion? I swear, southern Louisiana is like a state all on its own. I love all the history that is there. Thanks, so much for sharing. I loved all the beautiful photos too. What a sweet spirit you have about you. Merry Christmas!!

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  13. What a neat tradition and a fun tour you've taken us on. Nothing big in Houston that I'm aware of but we always spend Christmas Eve with extended family at my cousins annual open house.
    Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family Susie!!

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  14. Thanks for sharing! I love learning about new places and traditions. Merry Christmas!

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  15. Thank you for sharing that fascinating bit of history which I knew nothing about! I live in Northern California and would love to come visit and learn more about the history of our vast country!!
    Love all the photos...very beautiful!
    The life size nativity is awesome. We'd never see anything like that here!
    God Bless and Merry Christmas!

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  16. I love it! I am in north LA but much prefer the southern region of the state, there's so much more culture and charm. Merry Christmas!

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  17. What a neat post. I knew those were going to be bonfires, but didn't know the purpose. :)

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing this seasonal tidbit about your area. I have a love affair going with the South and hope to one day be able to visit LA & MS so I can soak up all the history and culture. Maybe someday my honey will take me there during the holidays...

    Heidi D.

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  19. Beautiful post, Susie. Makes me want to return to Louisiana for a little visit.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and all the best in 2010!

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  20. I have to say that I love the photo of the church. I have always had a thing for churches. All the pictures were great and being from the south I understand what you are saying about traditions:) Hope you have a great Christmas.

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  21. Love this post! My husband and I vacationed at Oak Alley a few years back and I learned of this awesome tradition. Would love to experience the bonfires...maybe one day!
    Merry Christmas!

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  22. Susie, love your photos and I do miss being there for Christmas, as Brenda lives one house from the bonfires along River Road. Infact the one with the flag on it, looks like the one they erect for Christmas Eve. I got to see them built from the ground on up. The pole and trees are identical to a picture I have. Was that taken at David Drive--the street that divides Gramercy and Lutcher?
    Manresa is a great retreat, so I have been told by my uncle. I have many male friends who attend. My uncle still goes once a year, then to a closer retreat in Grand Coteau north of Lafayette.
    Your dad looks too young to be your father. Nice pictures and Happy Belated Birthday and Anniversary. I love our Cajun Traditions. Many wishes for a bright and Happy New Year. Sounds like you have lots of plans. Hugs, Pat

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  23. Oh, thanks for the lovely tour! I feel like I was right there with you.

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  24. I'm new to your blog but I already LOVE IT! I'm reading backwards through your posts so I just thought I'd make my first comment here... My Dad goes to Manresa every year for retreat. When I was little I used to ask him why there wasn't a "Woman-resa" retreat house for girls : )

    Keep up the amazing work!
    <3 Liz @ BTB

    http://www.bontempsbeignet.blogspot.com/

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