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Leonard Earl Johnson (photo credit Frank Parsley) covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), and the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for ConsumerAffairs.com. He is a contributor to Gambit Weekly, New Orleans Magazine, SCAT, Baton Rouge Advocate, Advocate Magazine, The Times-Picayune, Country Roads Magazine, Palm Springs Newswire and the books FRENCH QUARTER FICTION (Light of New Orleans Publishing), LOUISIANA IN WORDS (Pelican Publishing), LIFE IN THE WAKE (NOLAfuges.com), and more. Johnson is a former Merchant Seaman, and columnist at Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans; and African-American Village. Attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at Piney Point, Maryland. Winner of the Press Club of New Orleans Award for Excellence, 1991, and given the Key to The City and a Certificate of Appreciation from the New Orleans City Council for a Gambit Weekly story on murder in the French Quarter.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Roberts Cove Germanfest / October 2018


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Coming in Next Month's Column
November's Splash from The Swamp
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LEJ's Louisiana
Yours Truly in a Swamp
Monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org 

 by
Leonard Earl Johnson,
of Lafayette and New Orleans


German Flags on the first Unity Day ~ 3 October 1990 ~ Berlin   /   Wikipedia


Roberts Cove German Festival 
~ a fine sense of place ~
October 2018

by Leonard Earl Johnson

© 2018, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved
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Oktoberfest! 
In Roberts Cove, Louisiana. You Laugh? 

It might tickle the lederhosen off a real German, but this is the best ~ albeit somewhat zany ~ American German Festival that I have ever attended.  


My Mother's Family is German.  Please bear with me.  I have been to a lot of such festivals.

Roberts Cove's has good beer, joyful singing, echoing Alphorn(Alpine horns), thrilling yodeling, white marble graves of original settlers decorated with vibrant black-red-and-gold German flags, and hot spicy (normally mild veal with a hint of nutmeg), Bratwurst Sausages cooked into a gumbo-stew of white potatoes and cabbage flavored with Tabasco Sauce. 

Technically Roberts Cove's festival is a Germanfest, not an Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is the German harvest / Munich Bier (beer) festival starting in September and ending the first weekend of October or, of late, Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day), 3 October 1990, when East and West Germany reunited.

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German immigrants were few to French Louisiana, but those who came left their mark.  


Notably there were Germans lured over to Louisiana by the promoter, John Law, a Scotsman turned English and then French. 


Those industrious Germans were said to have been disappointed to find themselves transported to a subtropical Swamp, but being industrious Germans went on to feed the early indolent folk of New Orleans from productive farms along the Côte des Allemands (French for German Coast) around present day Bayou des Allemands (Bayou of the Germans). 


The Mississippi Bubble

Hurricanes, floods, and the collapse of John Law's Mississippi Company and his monetary schemes ~ he invented paper money ~ scattered the settlement, and New Orleanians took further to suffering sustenance from bountiful seafood, sugar, rice, and game.


Bayou  des  Allemands  /  Courtesy  of  Wikipedia

Some of John Law's Germans resettled near Lafayette, Louisiana at today's prosperous rice-growing settlement of Roberts Cove.

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On our way, crossing Bayou des Allemands, aboard Amtrak, westbound from New Orleans ~ where traces of  Faubourg Marigny's German origins are known simply and dismissively as 'the lost Germans.'  
Amtrak  overwater  /  Courtesy  of  Amtrak

On the banks of the Bayou we witnessed three des Allemand boys mooning ole Train #1, the Sunset Limited.


From the bayou banks two white and one black rear end shined up at us as we sipped morning coffee and zipped along an old rusty rouge iron bridge.

"Some things change," L. A. Norma said, raising her coffee to the window, "Some things don't!"  

"Boys still moon trains," I observed, "but now they are integrated boys." 

"Rosa Parks would be proud!" Norma said.

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"Do you speak German?" asked a friendly lady with a heavy Cajun accent. She was descended from original Roberts Cove Germans, she told us.  

Her Cajun accent came from the fact French-Canadian Cajuns had taught her late-arrival ancestors how to speak English.  


We were in the Songfest Zelt (Tent), yodeling and listening to Alphorns.

"Bisschen Deutsch,I said. She understood the "Deutsch," but not the "Bisschen."

"A Little," I explained.

We raised our bier and joined in the Rucksack Song.  Her husband wore well-stitched lederhosen and sang with great gusto. I would bet my last Deutsche Mark he sang those same songs when a boy.

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In the middle of a sugarcane field near Roberts Cove is Hawk's, a
 crayfish cafe' noted for purging
their "mud bugs." 

Hawk's prides itself on no signage.  Finding it is something of a local game. Outsiders searching are, of course, a double muddled source of local entertainment. 


One day, successfully washing up at Hawk's dining-room wash basins, I asked a man at the basin next to mine where he was from.


The man said, "Down the road."


"Is your name German?" I asked.

"No," he said, "further down the road."

"A sense of place is a fine and settling thing,"
L. A. Norma said, swilling a mudbug with her tall beer.


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Your comments and corrections are welcome:  Comments

Musik Audio: Alpine Horns  (Alphorns)

Lagniappe du Jour 
Copyright, 2018, 
Leonard Earl Johnson
All Rights
 Reserved



Your comments and corrections are welcome: Comments

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It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
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Read November's Splash from The Swamp



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