Crawfish Capital of the World
by Abby Meaux Conques
The roots of this city can be traced back to 1771 when Acadian trailblazer, Firmin Breaux, bought land where Breaux Bridge would emerge. In 1799 he constructed a footbridge for easier travel for family and friends across Bayou Teche. This initial bridge was a suspension footbridge. Firmin’s son, Agricole, built the first vehicular bridge in 1817, allowing wagons to cross and expanded commerce to the area. The bridge marked Breaux Bridge as the only spot along the Bayou Teche to expand from both sides simultaneously. The town was officially founded in 1829 when Agricole’s young widow, Scholastique Picou Breaux, drew up plans for the city and began developing the property she owned by selling lots to other Acadian settlers. Today, the city is a famous little hot spot day getaway for easy Saturday morning strolls, swamp tours, dancing, and amazing food. Breaux Bridge experiences are like no other, with the friendly people being one of the most enjoyable parts.
There’s no lack of places to experience amazing food in Breaux Bridge. I’m talking places that Anthony Bourdain visited when he came to Louisiana. I’m talking best bites you’ve ever had. I’m talking atmoshpere. I’m talking about eating in buildings on the historical registry and Mom and Pop shops that fry the best catfish…there’s something for everyone and reasons to return to Cajun country over and over again.
Let’s talk Creole and Cajun cooking…let’s talk Glenda’s Creole Kitchen Restaurant. For fabulous food and friendly service, you definitely want to put this spot on your list; in fact, it was on Anthony Bourdain’s – he deemed her gravy “the Gravy of the Gods.” Think about that for a second…Bourdain…held her gravy in such high regard. The restaurant was established in 2000 after Glenda’s vision came to fruition when co-workers paid her to bring them her home-cooked meals for their lunches. Eventually, she found her spot and opened a drive-thru restaurant, expanding to a dine-in kitchen a few years later. She’s appeared on the Travel Channel and the Cooking Channel, along with winning a host of awards including holding the first place spot in the Okra Cookoff for three years in a row. She offers lunch specials, soul-feeding plates, and catering. You’ll probably want to try her place on a day when they have the stuffed turkey wings on the menu. Check the Glenda’s Creole Kitchen Facebook page for weekly menu schedules and head over to 3232 Main Highway in Breaux Bridge for a genuine taste of Southern Creole cooking.
Thinking burgers? Here are two spots to tantalize your burger buds: Jeaux Biff’s Burgers and Beer and Angelle’s Old Fashioned Burgers. Jeaux Biffs boasts about “the Blaise” burger which is a bacon cheeseburger with Swiss and American cheeses, grilled onions and jalapenos; a tasty burger that brings you heat. They also have an array of po-boys and sandwiches. It’s located at 625 Grand Point Hwy and always has cold beer in the bar.
Angelle’s Old Fashioned Burgers is a must-stop spot when you’re out and about perusing antiques downtown on a Saturday. Serving burgers, sandwiches and onion rings that are enough to make your mouth water, they also periodically offer an impromptu pop up Cajun jam. Be sure to like their Facebook page for specials and jam info.
Thinking steak dinner? Sunday brunch? Think Cafe’, Sydnie Mae. The historical spot advertises their penchant for steaks, seafood, and spirits; let me tell you, myself and many others can vouch for all three. The service and soul put into the experience and dishes are like none other. The award-winning executive chef of the restaurant, Bonnie Breaux, is actually a direct descendant of Fermin Breaux; the unofficial founder of the city. It seems only fitting that she conjures up delectable dishes on a historical street downtown that her ancestors had such a crucial part in constructing. The restaurant space has been completely revamped since its new ownership. It even offers live jazz music on many Wednesday evenings and actively participates in charitable guest chef nights for various causes that benefit area non-profits. Even if you’re not hungry, drop by the bar where experienced bartenders serve up your favorite cocktail while you watch downtown goers traverse the St. Martin Parish streets.
Let me tell you something; if you’ve never experienced a Zydeco Breakfast or a Cajun Music Jam session, run, don’t walk, to downtown Breaux Bridge. These days, Buck and Johnny’s hosts a myriad of up-and-coming and veteran musicians that play Cajun, Zydeco and Creole music until you need some ibuprofen for your little legs from dancing.
Cajun jams are a tradition…a birthright. Do you have the last name Huval? Cajun jam. You’re from any parish in a 15-mile radius from St. Martin? Cajun jam. If your grandparents listened to KBON or KRVS, you need a Cajun jam for your bloodline to continue. Even men with two left feet should drag their wives and kids to a Zydeco breakfast or a cajun jam to make everyone’s hearts happy.
Buck and Johnny’s is a self-proclaimed eclectic Italian restaurant that now serves as the go-to Zydeco breakfast spot for downtown Breaux Bridge. Sure, you can get some dancing in, but where else can you get “Troubled Water” (i.e. grits topped with crawfish etouffee) or biscuits topped with crab portabella brie? All this food fare serves as the perfect fuel for crazy dancing legs on a beautiful weekend morning.
Looking for a nighttime spot where you can shake a little leg? Look no further than La Poussiere. The notorious place has hosted many important figure to Cajun and Zydeco music throughout the years since its inception in 1955 by the Patin family. It’s reported that the original signage for the dancehall read “PATIN’S BAR.” The dance every Saturday night was referred to as “LA POUSSIERE’” (the French word for “The Dust”.) The patrons who frequented the dancehall reportedly named it so after nights of foot-stomping fun, which extended well into the early morning hours. The constant vibration of the hardwood resting on a dirt floor caused a noticeable accumulation of dust (POUSSIERE). In 1975, a major road construction project forced the demolition of the original dancehall and facilitated its move to the location where it still operates today at 1215 Grand Pointe Ave. They have a bang-up schedule on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons that can be checked out on their site www.lapoussiere.com. Bring your people; this is an experience to be had.
What’s known as Bayou Teche Scenic Byway Country is a scenic route that traipses alongside the Bayou Teche, a body of water that meanders for 125 miles through the land and vegetation of Southern Louisiana, and is a journey into the ancestral markings of the surroundings.
The body of water was the center of a booming cypress industry in the early 1900s. Visitors can get a firsthand glimpse of magnificent oaks with 100+ foot reaches, and glorious, trailing moss.
The trail was designated by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. Amongst the byway’s banks are numerous significant places, notably French towns along the upper Teche, such as Breaux Bridge. You can obtain cycling, walking or driving maps from www.go-louisiana.com/Bayou-Teche-Scenic-Byway.
Head into Downtown Breaux Bridge and stop into a variety of antique shops, flea markets, jewelry shops, clothing stores, and galleries. Peruse downtown Breaux Bridge and pop into any one of these amazing spaces while walking.
Notable stops are The Breaux Bridge Antique Mall at 124 W. Bridge St. It boasts 17,000+ square feet of marketplace packed with ever-changing selections of antiques, collectibles, and art. Another notable flea market spot is Something Old, Something New at 801 Berard St.
Walk on further downtown and run into Janell’s Gifts at 200 E Bridge St. and find unique pieces curated for antique enthusiasts and amateur flea market finders alike.
Shops and Galleries
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind finds, check out Breaux Bridge’s own Rustic Relic and Pink Alligator Gallery. The Rustic Relic is run by “two sisters and a sweet momma.” They describe themselves as “boho chic and filigree antique styles.” From custom orders for heirloom baptismal gowns, recycled Victorian brooches and one-of-a-kind worn buttery leather cuffs. Rustic Relic showcases their custom wares on Facebook, so be sure to follow them and stop in when you’re downtown at 113 N. Main Street.
The Pink Alligator Gallery at 112 E Bridge St. recently opened in downtown Breaux Bridge and is the brainchild of artists Robin & Kelly Guidry. Robin envisioned a gallery that would become a destination for impeccably curated art and handcrafted jewelry by emerging as well as established artists. Robin also showcases her jewelry pieces that use antique coins and military metals, mixed with modern elements, to become distinctive statement pieces perfect for everyday wear or as a beautiful individual creation for that final touch for formal wear needed for holiday parties, Mardi Gras balls, and the like.