We planned on a short stay in Lafayette before heading back to New Orleans for some Mardi Gras festivities! I expected we would enjoy more boudin from Billy’s because we would be staying in the same place we stayed the last time. What I didn’t expect was that I’d buy a Cajan Accordion! Yes, an accordion!
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up some. While we were in Natchez touring Antebellum homes, we were in a tour with this couple from the Lafayette area. After our tour we started chatting. One story always leads to another but the outcome is usually the same. We are given a handful of tips on where we should go next, what we should do or see, places to eat, etc. So following the pattern, we were given a tip to visit a long standing family owned well known accordion maker in Lafayette. Seemed like a cool thing to do. I have really been enjoying the Cajan, Blues, and Zydeco music we’ve been hearing in the South, so why not check it out. Apparently they give you a tour and play some music for you.
Upon arrival to Lafayette, first stop Billy’s and second stop, Martin Accordions. To our disappointment, no tour on Saturday but we were told there was one on Monday at 1:00pm. I work on Mondays but the timing was such that I could squeeze the tour in at lunch and between meetings. We were told it would be good for us to get there early before the tour bus so we could have front row seats for the music. I guess some musicians come in and play a little jam session for the tourists. Lucky us!
With the nice weekend in front of us we decided to visit Avery Island which has the Jungle Gardens and the Tabasco factory. Tabasco is another family owned and operated business since 1868. “Before the Civil War, Edmund McIlhenny joined the Avery family, by wedding Mary Eliza Avery, daughter of Daniel Dudley Avery and Sarah Marsh Avery. In 1868, McIlhenny founded McIlhenny Company, and began manufacturing Tabasco brand pepper sauce. In 1870, he received letters patent for his sauce processing formula. That same basic process is still used today.”(wikipedia)
Monday at noon we returned to Martin Accordions for our tour. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a tour after all. Just a misunderstanding. However, lucky for us we actually got a personal 1/1 tour minus the music. What a fascinating place. And the accordions were beautiful. I asked if i could play one and the daughter of Martin Jr. was very accommodating. She took a shiny new one out of the cabinet and let me have a go at it. Perfect size for me! I loved it.
The short story – I was back on Tuesday to pick out my very own custom Martin Cajan Accordion. Penny was going to have to rush to get it all assembled so I could come back on Friday to pick it up. Instead of heading to NOLA on Wednesday, we delayed our stay in Lafayette for two more days so I could pick up my finished accordion on Friday without a 5 hour drive back and forth.
Now, off to New Orleans for Mardi Gras!