Small Town We Love: Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
The crawfish capital of the world.
Why We'd Move There
In the heart of the French culture-rich Acadiana region of southern Louisiana, Breaux Bridge claims a bevy of Cajun and Creole eateries, a lovingly preserved downtown district filled with a variety of antiques boutiques, and (only steps away) a pristine example of nature's paradise that's brimming with bayous and teeming with wildlife.
The symbol of Breaux Bridge is the crawfish, that lowly crustacean that locals love to boil, smother, and fry. A giant vermilion-hued painting of a crawfish welcomes you into town, and each May, the mudbug is celebrated at the Crawfish Festival (bbcrawfest.com), where a Crawfish Queen is crowned and paraded through the town's streets.
The Perfect Day
This is South Louisiana, and you're here to eat. Start with the Saturday morning zydeco breakfast at Café Des Amis (cafedesamis.com). Get there early, and sip a Bloody Mary while you wait. Once inside, grab a partner and follow the accordion's lead to the dance floor. Next, head to Poche's (poches.com), just off I-10, for boudin, a bag of pork cracklings, and the daily special—anything from fried fish to pork stew. For supper, sample the wares of various meat markets, such as Charlie T's (337/332-2426) and Babineaux Slaughter House (337/332-1961), or head to French bistro Chez Jacqueline (337/277-4938).
Local To Know
Clifton Leon, the hardest-working zydeco high stepper around, can be found at Café Des Amis, where he dutifully takes each and every woman for a turn around the dance floor. He's the one—bandanna always tucked into his jeans—gamboling among the crowd, encouraging everyone to never stop dancing.
Take the short drive 3 miles southwest to Lake Martin, a freshwater slice of the swamplands and forests that make up the Cypress Island Preserve. You can paddle around via canoe or kayak, fish for sac-a-lait and bass, and catch a swamp tour. Or take an early-evening stroll along the boardwalk that runs serpentine over the lake's waters, through cypress-filled swamps, and watch the sun set over Acadiana.