Class-action Cajun

I didn’t claim to be Cajun until I went to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I didn’t realize the fascinating tale of my heritage. I also didn’t gather there was a distinction between Cajun or Creole or that there was actually a vast difference between all parts of my state: New Orleans is completely different from Baton Rouge; Lafayette/Acadiana is distinguished from the current and former state capitals; there are actually Prairie Cajuns and Bayou Cajuns; and north Louisiana is almost a different state completely.

Once I had this cultural epiphany, I realized  the equation that perpetuates the problem: media + advertising + corrupt politics = misinformed perception.

Louisiana has always had a colorful history with a flare for fun. After all, we are the toe-tapping boot and the mouth of the Mississippi. We literally are the shit – the excess of the entire right half of the country flows from tributaries through us to the Gulf of Mexico.

With the surge of technology over the past 10 years, the Cajun image has been contorted to a nearly unrecognizable spin-off of a New Orleans step-brother. People from across the nation assume we are one in the same, but that could not be farther from the truth. But how would they know? They see commercials for multiple chain restaurants that say, “Try our Cajun style ________, straight from New Orleans.” Or they watch new popular shows like “Swamp People” and think that we all say, “Choot ’em.”

Should we embrace the fact that people know who we are even though they don’t understand that we do not cook like New Orleans or possess the same colloquial vernacular?

In the past two weeks I have joked that we should create a class action lawsuit as Cajuns against restaurants who misuse our name for their recipes. Shouldn’t it be Cajun approved before it goes national? Anyone who has eaten food in both New Orleans and Lafayette knows that the food is vastly different. Not even all Louisianians understand this concept, so how can anyone who has never visited our homestead?

I’m sure that many denizens from other states have similar issues with how their lives are portrayed on television. For example, the first time I flew to New York City to visit a friend, I was terribly nervous to hale a taxi cab and travel solo at night. My friend commented that life in NYC is not like NYPD Blue and he assured me that I would be fine – and he was right.

This morning I saw a status on Facebook that announced a casting call for a new show, “Party Down South.” The concept is similar to that of Jersey Shore. My qualm with the announcement was this line: “The search is on for the next big television personalities who are ragin’ Cajuns and appreciate all that the Southern Gulf cities have to offer.” This may not seem like a big deal, but a sentence later it listed that casting calls will be in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama (NOT JUST REAL CAJUNS).

I feel like yelling, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”. All Americans should be outraged. We are allowing pop-culture society to ruin our roots. It doesn’t matter if you are Cajun or not. We should not sit by and let D-listed entertainment further cripple the minds of today’s ignorance and tomorrow’s youth. How long will we let rich culture deteriorate – everywhere?

A lawsuit may seem extreme. But sometimes an extreme measure is the only thing that makes it into the sensational mainstream media.

Here’s the full Casting Call invitation. Think for yourself:

Media Alert: Party Down South Casting

Submitted by doron on June 27, 2011 – 3:09pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Doron Ofir Casting June 27, 2011


LOS ANGELES, CA (June 27, 2011) – Doron Ofir Casting in conjunction with 495 Productions is proud to announce the summer 2011 casting tour in search of the hottest, proudest Gulf Southerners, Bayou residents and Cajuns to star in PARTY DOWN SOUTH (working title) by the legendary Casting Company and Production Company of MTV’s smash hit series, JERSEY SHORE . . . the search is on for the next big television personalities who are ragin’ Cajuns and appreciate all that the Southern Gulf cities have to offer.

“American is the greatest melting pot of cultures, dialects, lifestyles and hometown pride! I am excited at the prospect of presenting a cast that’s rich with personalities, that capture the world’s attention by showcasing the unique flavor of this slice of the South” – Doron Ofir Executive Casting Director.

In an effort to find the most outrageous and best characters in the South, casting events and interviews will be held throughout the month of July in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Doron Ofir Casting is seeking Gulf-Coast Southerners who are at least 21 years old and looking to prove that the party down South will rise again. If you call ‘gators your neighbors, reckon Mardi Gras should be a national holiday, your daisy dukes fit just right and are ready to make your Maw Maw and Paw Paw proud, we are looking for you!

The official casting and digital application to be considered and invited to audition can be found


Are forwarded messages good information?

I was about to delete an email from someone yesterday and then I decided to give it a read. It was called, “One Month.” I don’t receive too much from this particular person, so I figured it wasn’t complete spam. It wasn’t. Instead it was a message about how Americans should buy American goods. Part of me really enjoyed the information. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but the concept is intriguing.

Let me know what YOU think:

Well over 50 yrs ago I knew a lady who would not buy Christmas gifts if they were made in China. Her daughter will recognize her in the following.

Did y’all see that Diane Sawyer has a special report coming up this week. They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family’s home that were
not made in the USA .

There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they are going to show truckloads of items – USA made – being brought in to replace everything and will be talking about how to find these items and the difference in price etc..

It was interesting that Diane said that if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like
200,000 new jobs!




Are we Americans as dumb as we appear — or — is it that we just do not think while the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American

70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.

Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF, AMERICA !!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese

products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.

THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…fast!!

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on implementing this on JULY 1st and continue it until AUGUST 1st. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they might have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

Remember, July 1 to August 1st !!!!!! START NOW.

Send this to everybody you know. Let’s show them that we are Americans and NOBODY can take us for granted.

If we can’t live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of our lives, WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET!

Pass it on, America .

Well instead of doing it for just 1 month why not try to do it all the time.

The lizard and the caterpillars

I do find inspiration in the oddest moments. Jon is still getting used to my creative methods, which helps me to grow in ways I did not imagine. A few years ago when I took the “Culture of Man” and “Environment and Spirit” courses at UL, I read a lot of articles and books written by authors who spent time outdoors or in nature. Part of my curriculum was to find a nature spot and visit it almost daily throughout a semester. This allowed me to really see what kind of creature life took place right beneath our noses. Usually I’m speeding by the Psychology department, rarely would I notice a new bloom or a bird basking in the sun.

Ever since I moved into my current dwelling, I felt the need to grow things. Growing my baby was the biggest surprise-I started with herbs. Every morning I let Jackson out to potty and I water my plants. I try to take notice of how they grow each day. Are they leaning a different direction? Do they feel more dry or moist than the day before? Are there new inhabitants in the pots?

It really makes me take notice of how each day truly is different. A few months ago I met a few lizards that live on our back porch. There were three, but now there only tends to be one lurking around my cala lillies. He and Jackson seem to have a playful relationship.

After the rain these past few days, I noticed a large group of caterpillars in my dill. Nearly all of my dill was eaten by these FAT caterpillars. The only thought that makes me less anxious is that, at least I’m helping to make butterflies – they’re my favorite. I guess the moral of this entry is to pay attention to your environment. Even infestations can lead to something beautiful:)

How should we spell Baby’s name??

How to write a name…

So we decided on naming Baby B, Charles. We know we will shorten it, but how do we want to spell it? Charlie or Charley?

I like both spellings. Jon likes Charley because he felt the “y” made it more masculine. I like it because it’s a little more different.

However, my family disagrees. They feel that Charley is how you would spell a girl’s name.

So I ask you, what do you think? Please let me know. Your thoughts are appreciated!!

A Kid’s LIVER philosophy

The kids knew she was a different kind of teacher when they walked in on the first day of school. There were funky tapestries hanging over the windows and pieces of artwork sitting on the windowsill next to potted herbs. There were words scattered across a bulletin board such as C.A.R.E., awareness, explore, and connect. The most peculiar piece in the room was a purple painting of an unfamiliar symbol with the word LIVER written underneath.

As introductions flowed, eventually the questions and stories followed. Miss B, as she called herself, spoke excitedly about her travels across the country and told of her favorite childhood memories. She had been to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, New York City, Washington D.C., and on and on. She had a small rock stuck in her left hand from a go-cart accident that happened when she was 10 years old. The tales were terrific, but she did not mention anything about the LIVER.

Weeks went by and finally one of the students asked about the painting. It was the first moment of the year where the teacher had everyone’s attention.

“What does it mean?”

“Is it like the thing in your body?”

Miss B smiled and listened to their eager questions. But all she said was, “It’s not time yet.”

Months went by and it was never the time to talk about the LIVER. One student took it upon himself to Google, “liver” to see if he could find anything important. What he found was information about an organ in the body. The liver was the only organ that could regenerate itself if only one fourth of it existed.

“Could this have any meaning?” he asked one afternoon.

Miss B smiled and said, “You’re close. When you believe in yourself you can always bounce back from anything.” But she left it at that and went on with class.

After Spring Break the school year was closing in. There were only a few weeks left and still she would not reveal the secret LIVER. It seemed as though it would never be time.

Finally on the last day of tests she took out a book and said, “It’s time.” The entire class looked up in anticipation. They knew exactly what was about to happen.

It was a small black book and on the cover was the symbol that was drawn on the painting. She opened the mysterious vessel. As she revealed the interior, there was a small mirror on the left side and a quotation on the right.

“What does it say?!” someone blurted loudly.

“Now class listen closely because when you hear it, it could change you forever,” she paused. “Or it could not.”

The class could barely keep still. They had waited for this explanation for nine months.

It states, “When you listen to your heart and do what is right for you, even when no one else understands, you truly live. And when you really LIVE, you become a LIVER.”

A few students seemed mesmerized. A few students seemed confused.

“That’s it? Why couldn’t you have told us that the first time we asked?”

“Well,” she replied, “You only really learn something that you WANT to know. The more you think about the meaning of something, the more possible answers you find. Then you learn the most important LIVER lesson of all: how you THINK about life. Life is not about WHAT you do, but about HOW you do it. You have to learn what you truly enjoy doing most. You have to learn what makes you feel most connected to the world; what makes you feel ALIVE. Then everything else falls into place.

“If I would have told you all of this on the first day you would never have learned the importance of patience. The best lessons take the longest to learn and they often end in the simplest answers.”

“Now what?” a curious 5th grader asked.

Miss B answered, “Now you have to consider the question,

“Are you a LIVER?”


Nine times. These relentless sales people called my phone NINE times within THREE hours. I had answered around the fourth call and said, “I am not interested, please remove my number from your list.” With that I hung up. I thought I had sounded firm, but evidently it was not enough.

Here’s the story, or the warning–however you want to view the situation. My ultimate goal is to publish a children’s book within the next few years. I had found an illustrator, but I’m a little short on the funds to make it happen as soon as I’d like. Through conversations about my options, someone threw out the word “grant”. This is like a magic spell for a poor person with big dreams. I searched for Web sites on the Internet and found one that seemed legit.

The site,, had a secure address so I felt confident entering my email, phone number and address. I submitted the information and was brought to a page that asked for the sign up fee for $29.99. Due to my fiscal budget, I figured I should discuss any purchase with the hubby before I made some sort of commitment. With that, I closed my computer and headed to my sister’s house to wash a load of clothes. (Our washer quit on us over a month ago, but that’s another story all together).

Within 30 minutes I received a phone call from an unknown local number. It was a representative from the site and they were running a $19.99 phone special. I said that I would have to talk to my husband and asked if they could call later. He said his name was Clint Hicks and that he would call me the next day. I did receive a call the next day and he left a message with his extension number. I had an important meeting and did not return the call.

Four days later I receive another call from Mr. Hicks. I told him that we decided to postpone plans due to unexpected circumstances. I told him if I changed my mind that I had his number saved and would call back. This was not a lie. He sounded genuine and thanked me for my time. I hung up and felt pretty positive about the whole experience.

Then the torture started.

Forty-five minutes later my phone rang and had a very unfamiliar number. The area code was 548. I ignored the call and waited to see if the caller left a message. They did not. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. Same number. Again, I ignored. Again, no message. After the third call I googled the 548 area code. The only information said it was not an actual area code, but one used for spam calls.

At the top of the hour my phone rang again. I was hesitant to answer, but the situation was absurd. I answered and there was a two second delay. “May I speak to Elise?” a foreign man asked. “Who is this?” I replied. “Blah Blah with some kind of government grant,” is all I could understand. “I am not interested. Please remove my number from this list,” I said in a stern manner. Well, stern for me.

I was proud of myself. I am usually too timid to tell someone, “No.” But I am very weary of the gimmicks of today.  You can never tell when something is sincere or a scam. I am usually quite cautious to give information through the Internet. I am still a people-person. When I conduct business I like to look someone in the eye and shake their hand.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rang again and it was the 548-number. I nearly exploded. How did he have the audacity to call again? At this point I felt very harassed. Seriously. Five calls in a little over an hour, isn’t that against the law or something? Especially after I said, “No.” I know it’s not a rape case, but it was starting to feel just as violating. I thought I was going to have to go to my phone provider and ask to have the number blocked. Talk about inconvenient.

I went to my sister’s shop for a haircut. When I looked at my phone I had another three missed calls from the number. I lost my composure as my sister washed my hair. I told them about the calls and asked if there was anything I can do. My sis and her co-worker laughed at how frazzled I was, until the phone rang again. Sis picked up the phone and saw it was the 548 number. She answered and what happened next still makes me laugh because it still makes me uncomfortable.


I think the cars passing on the street heard her. My unborn started to kick my belly. I almost crapped my pants. She then politely hung up the phone, smiled and said, “There. I don’t think they will call you back again.”

And they haven’t.

Evidently the only way to rationalize with unwanted solicitation is to go completely ape shit. Salesmen are trained to drive you crazy. It is instructed that it normally takes seven, “no’s” before you get a “yes”. So if you are a nice person who can empathize with the fact that someone is just trying to make some kind of living during a recession and respect their position, you end up getting harassed. Because if you say, “No, Thank you,” to a sales person that means you still have six more tries before you break.

Morally I’m conflicted. If they don’t respect my, “No, Thank you,” why should I respect them at all? I have more than enough on my mind to worry about than unwanted sales calls. I guess the real moral of this story is to avoid looking for the “easy” ways. It always ends with more headache than it’s worth. Nothing is free. And this kind of catch ends up with you on the hook.

It’s a…

I now wonder if it is better to wait. I hit the half way point of 20 weeks. We found out the gender and are very excited. But now,  we have to wait 20 more weeks to have Baby Boo.

The old wives tales are great. I’ve heard them all: if the heartbeat is low, it’s a boy; if you carry high it’s a girl; if you hold a needle on a string over your belly and it goes in a circle, it’s a boy – if it goes in a line, it’s a girl; in the ultrasound if hand is between legs boy, and if mouth is open its a girl.

I paid attention to all of them for scientific purposes. Our first heartbeat at 8 weeks was 172. Four weeks later it was in the 140s, then stayed there almost every other visit. As my belly grew, I felt it was low, but people kept telling me I was carrying it high, so the Peltier girls were probably going to add another girl to the growing volleyball team.

Just a reminder: I am the oldest of four girls. So far, we have three granddaughters in the family. I absolutely adore my nieces. They are all very different and absolutely beautiful. But since my birth, this town of Rayne has wanted my Dad, or the Man as his granddaughters call him, to have a boy. He was the oldest of 10 and was kind of a local legend during his high school years. He had the “golden toe” and held the school record for longest field goal from 1974-2002.

For years people have made quite a debacle over the fact that my father has no male offspring. I know he loves all of us girls very, very much. For some reason, people assume he would love a boy even more. I say they forget that we are still Peltier girls, which means that we are tougher than most boys (This fact did not fare too well for me during my dating years).

The day prior to my appointment, we tried the needle trick. I did not tell either of the holders what  the outcome meant, so they would not have any influence. When my godchild Malorie held it over my belly, it went in a circle. When Jon held it over my belly it either remained relatively still or went in a line. Needless to say, that didn’t work too well.

All we had to do now was wait 12 hours.

My mother picked me up at 8:56am to bring me to the appointment. Jon was going to meet us there. Mim, as her granddaughters call her, had been there for my sisters’ ultrasounds. I remember when my parents, sisters and brother-in-law packed into the small room to find out what Ellah was going to be. Everyone was pretty happy that day when we found out she was going to be a girl – no disappointment.

I reminisced on the way to the appointment. I remembered how I had said years ago to my younger sisters, “Meggan, I let you graduate college first. Jordan, I let you get married first. Caitlyn, I’ll let you play a collegiate sport first. But I am going to have the first grandson.” Each time one of my sisters got pregnant, I wondered if my declaration really was going to come true. So far it was.

One of Caitlyn’s roommates told me that the trend in our family was girls and I would just follow that trend. I told her that she must not know me that well because I tend to be the one who naturally goes against the apparent rhythm.

We didn’t have to wait long in the waiting room. My dad ended up showing up and right as he did they called my name. Jon stood up the entire time with his arms crossed (he would tell me later that it was because he had his fingers crossed). The technician went through images of the head and stomach. The heart was beating perfectly and the baby wouldn’t stop wiggling. It must have been the cup of Community that I had. Everything seemed to look healthy and my nerves were just fine. I almost didn’t want to know the gender, but Jon was pacing and I knew we couldn’t wait much longer. Finally she made it to the genitalia and the shot was unquestionable. It’s…a…boy.

A lesson from Henry

For one week I had a glimpse. We found a yellow lab puppy and decided to care for it until we found a loving home. He was so adorable, but the cuteness rubbed off after he peed on my floor three times. He was very reluctant to go outside and I was having a hard time bending over to clean the mess.

By the second evening my hormones, combined with severe agitation, was getting the best of me. For five hours all I did was take the puppy outside to make sure he would use the grass instead of our linoleum as a toilet. By the fifth hour, I had brought him inside and not a minute later I found him squatting in the kitchen. I shoved his face in the urine, smacked his nose twice yelling “Bad puppy!!!,” and carried him outside only to start crying as I dropped him onto the grass.

I felt like a monster. I was yelling at this precious puppy over something he could not control. He was messing with my schedule and my emotions. I grabbed my belly and then started to sob. I felt guilty that my baby had to be exposed to these emotions. Baby Boo already had to hear me yell daily at my class. That thought made me cry even more because I hated that I had to resort to fussing at children in order for them to listen. One piss on the floor made me unravel. That’s when Jon walked into the house.

He had left to get a crate from my father. He walked in to find his pregnant wife hysterical. He immediately dropped the crate and consoled me. I calmed down enough to realize it was probably just the hormones and that once my emotions were rational I can rethink the possibility that I am, in fact, a monster.

The crate helped tremendously. The puppy adjusted and the accidents were far less frequent. I had been calling the puppy Henry, because that’s what street we had found him wandering. My favorite moment with Henry was when Jon and I sat down for dinner and said grace. As we were saying things we were grateful for, Jon said he was thankful that God had sent us puppy. At that precise moment Henry started to pee on the floor next to the table. I began to laugh until I had good tears.

The next afternoon when I returned from work, I let Henry out in the back yard to do his business. He immediately pottied and then came sit next to me–he knew I would feed him. In a matter of days he was getting used to the idea of being domesticated. He understood that yes, I would leave him in the morning, but when I returned I would let him out, feed him, and then play with him. He didn’t have the freedom to run around and roam the streets, but he was guaranteed food and affection.

It’s funny how in that moment with Henry, several things became quite apparent to me. I myself was quite afraid of domestication. I was the social butterfly who enjoyed exploration. I didn’t want anything to keep me in one place. How would I ever discover new things?!?!

Well I have uncovered the fact that I like to know that I eat dinner around the same time every night. I enjoy coming home to unconditional love. And just because you do return to the same place every evening doesn’t mean you don’t learn anything new or that you will lack experiences.

The parts of Henry’s arrival that were so disturbing, i.e. interrupting my schedule, was a loving gesture from God to make me realize I have grown too attached to my schedule. In less than five months I will embark upon a thrilling roller-coaster of unfamiliar twists and turns. It will be a ride that does not leave or return at a particular time. Henry helped me to realize that I have to be open and that just because something is hard at first, doesn’t mean it will not be worth it in the end.

Henry left my house yesterday. He found a fantastic family to join. We will be able to see him often and watch him grow. I can only imagine what they will learn from him. I guess Jon was right. I do thank God for sending us Henry, even if he was only meant to stay with us for a week.






The Test

It started with a wave of fatigue that has not gone away. It felt like I had mono with a side of crazy and the munchies. There was this feeling of rage in the pit of my stomach. I would get irritated so easily. I thought it was the stress of a new marriage after a wedding; the reality of a new adventure. Well it was the sign of an original path and it came in the form of two pink lines.

The room started to get black as the tunnel focused in on the pregnancy tests. There were two side by side on my bathroom counter. The first was a standard single or double line test, while the second was a digital confirmation test. As soon as the urine hit the stick, two pink lines appeared. Right next to the window said that one line meant not pregnant, while two lines meant you’re prego. I glanced at the digital test and the clock was blinking, which indicated I was a minute away from the answer to a new direction. Then “YES +,” popped up and the room became instantly hot.

I needed fresh air. Jon had gone to the Piggly Wiggly to get a few necessary breakfast items. He had left right when I took them and figured we would know by the time he returned. He got his answer as I was standing in the driveway frantically shaking my head yes. He was surprisingly way more excited than I was.

It’s strange. I always figured I would be jumping up and down the moment I found out I would be a mother. I didn’t realize there would be a surge of fear. The timing wasn’t right. We just married and needed time to adjust.

But since when do I think the world revolves around my timing?

The situation happened just as I needed it to. I woke up on the morning I was scheduled to start my period, but there was no monthly gift. I knew. I went to a Walgreen’s and purchased a First Response double pack. I went home and Jon followed me to the bathroom. You know the rest. The point is, he was there. More importantly, he was happy. Our first challenge as a couple and we did it together. It’ll be very interesting to see how the upcoming months go–with all of the other positives.


A toast

As a writer, I’ve come to understand the reality of cliches. As a writer, you try to stay away from them. However, there’s a reason situations become a cliche–there’s some truth to them. That’s how I felt the week before my wedding. One. Big. Cliche. I was a stressed-out-bridezilla.

There are so many meticulous details that require your attention. I am grateful that by the time I made it to the rehearsal dinner everything seemed to slow back to a normal pace. The night before the rehearsal, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about how much my life had changed over the past year. I guess falling in love will do that to you. I realized as I was tossing and turning that I would have one moment to commemorate my feelings about Jon to our families. So after a tear-jerking speech from my maid of honor, this is what I came up with.

“There are different ways I have tried to describe Jon and I’s relationship. What I love about our dynamic is that I wasn’t a damsel in distress and he didn’t have to be a knight in shining armor. It’s more like a Wizard of Oz scenario. I’m Dorothy and he’s my Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion all rolled into one. We only needed to find one another to find our way home. But please don’t look at it from the other way. Then I’d be lost and he would have no brain, no heart, and no courage. That’s absolutely not true because we are here today.

On a serious note, I’d like to point out how incredible this moment is. Some people never get to experience this–being surrounded by family and friends. Life is short and these are the moments that matter. We try to define life: understand it and label it the best we can. I’ve tried to label myself as a few things: a writer, a teacher, a liver…But there is always one thing I have strived to be and that is, faithful. As of tomorrow I will be putting my faith into Jon and I and to this family. Because I think there is one thing we can all agree on and that is, ‘There is no place like home.'”

Now the toast was in the moment, so it probably came out a tad differently. Regardless, I wanted to remember a fraction of what I said because as I learned during the reception, the months of planning become a complete blur of six hours. All I know is that the next phase is sure to keep me guessing. It really will be domesticated training wheels…Cheers!!!