The Cajun TV Explosion: Hey, don’t forget the Texas Cajuns

Ga lee ! Dey be Cajun everywhere you see. Sho nuff!

Yes, it seems like cable TV found Cajun Man and Cajun Woman and Cajun Alligator and Cajun Cop and the whole shebang. It is astonishing the number of shows on TV now with “Cajun” in its name or is featuring those who live down in the bayou country.

You can find the Landrys clan, including Troy be say “Choot ’em.” He be talkin’ ’bout de alligator no? These are among the folks –including the Gator Queen Liz Cavalier — who work all day in the swamps chasing those alligator. Sometimes the plural get lost in the bayou, he. Dang, just found that pronoun we lost down in Bayou Loco. The “Swamp People” of which I speak can be found on the History Channel. What the show has to do with history, I haven’t a clue. If it was supposed to have a tie with history they could at least talk about the “stars’ ” ancestors and how they come to be where they are. It would probably be more interesting than chootin’ gator.

Also, the History Channel has “Cajun Pawn Stars.” I can see in some loose thread how this has something to do with history because some things pawned might or might not have a link to the past. Says the channel:

  “In Cajun Pawn Stars, which puts a southern spin on History’s hit series Pawn Stars, a cast of quirky characters continues this age-old tradition. At the famed Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, an eclectic array of historical merchandise is on display, with items ranging from vintage cars to firearms to livestock.”

Scenes of Beaumont, in Cajun Texas, are shown in Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Lifetime series “The Client List.” Jennifer might not be Cajun but with that rapidly vanishing cleavage, she can be Ukrainian if she wants.

While there may be more Cajun madness, don’t you know you have to include a cop show. Yes, “Cajun Justice.” This is on A & E and features the good folks of the Terrebone Parish Sheirff’s Department. The parish is located southwest of New Orleans and borders the Gulf of Mexico. Now this is Cajun Country. So far, the deputies have caught camp house burglars, a couple of guys drinking beer and releasing flares, and broke up a fight between shrimpers.

After BP flooded their land with oil, I am glad to see the Cajuns getting some recognition. But man, what about the rest of the Cajuns? I speak of those who reside in Cajun Texas, also known as Southeast Texas.

“Texas Almanac,” the Bible of all things Texas estimates that almost 375,000 Cajuns live in Texas. Census figures show that Houston has more Cajuns than New Orleans. That isn’t such an earth-shattering fact if you know a little about New Orleans. It is more a French Creole town than a Cajun one. With its melting pot including Italian, the city’s language seems more something coming from Brooklyn. Between 20-to-30 percent of Jefferson County, where I live, consists of Cajun residents. Being so close to Louisiana it is not too surprising Jefferson County has the second largest Cajun population in the state behind Houston’s Harris County.

One cable show, CMT’s Gator 911, is based here in Beaumont. The show — with new episodes airing beginning July 14 — follows the exploits of folks from the Gator Country adventure park who rescue gators that show up in local folks’ swimming pools or in the back of their pickup trucks. Don’t have a gator in the back of your pickup truck? Get one! I don’t know if the show’s principal, Gary Saurage, is a Cajun but if he isn’t he should be made an honorary one.

Scenes from the sexy Lifetime night soap “The Client List” are filmed here in Beaumont, but mostly fleeting glances. The show’s main character, played by buxom Jennifer Love Hewitt, supposedly lives in Beaumont and commutes to her job in Sugar Land. I don’t think the actress, who grew up in the Waco-Temple area, is Cajun but I bet she could play a good one. With the expanding cleavage Jennifer Love Hewitt so often reveals on her show, who will notice what she says anyway?

Who knows what’s next if the cable executives mine the Cajun connection here in Southeast Texas, maybe Cajun Refinery Worker, or Cajun TV Weatherman or Cajun Texan Bait Shop Owner?

*Learn more about Cajun Texas from this bilingual academic paper


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