Crawfish Étouffée and Black Snake Moan

Several years ago I worked on a bayou that drained into the Gulf of Mexico. We were about ten miles from the nearest town so we were relegated to cafeteria food most of the time. So it was pretty exciting when a restaurant opened only a couple of miles away. It looked like the typical road side cafe along a lightly traveled country road. It had picnic tables out front and the inside was authentically rustic. I seem to remember that it had checkered table cloths. The place was run by a Cajun couple. The wife worked in the kitchen and the husband worked the tables. They were just another couple trying to make a buck in the restaurant business. It was at this humble restaurant that I ate the best crawfish Étouffée. It had the look, the smell, and the taste of the classic Gulf Coast dish. It was cheap, too!

The restaurant did not stay open for long. I heard that the local police were called in to settle a domestic dispute. The wife pulled out a shot gun on the husband during the dinner service. I do not know what triggered the dispute or whether she shot him but we never ate in the restaurant again.

Recently I watched the movie, Black Snake Moan. From the trailer I thought the movie was going to be another comedy set in the South. It is not a comedy but I was not disappointed. The plot is well written because of the ease it draw you into the story without resorting to stereotypes. The South does have its fair share of stereotypes so it took some discipline on the part of the writer to steer away the obvious plot hooks. The characters start out being fairly obvious stereotypes of the South. Early on in the movie I found myself wanting to really like or dislike certain characters but the plot did not cooperate with my plans. By the end of the movie I found these same characters to be complex individuals with serious personal problems they could not solve alone. Probably the most fascinating aspect about this movie is that it explores many of the same issues that Christianity and marriage find so important. We have greater freedom by being restrained by those we love. Like the movie it is not complete freedom but we are a lot better off than going it alone. I have a qualified recommendation for the movie since it has a lot of sex. However, the movie was entertaining and it made me think. It reminded me about the good and the bad in the people I have known from the South like the couple that served me the Étouffée I liked so much. It is our willingness to remain connected to each other that allows us to handle adversity.