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Hidden Delights in Tiny Arnaudville, Louisiana

Arnaudville, Louisiana has a population of slightly over 1000, of which about 65% speak English and the other 35% speak French and Cajun. It is about a 30-minute drive northeast from Lafayette. I found myself there while on a press trip for travel writers called "An Adventure to Savor." Through this experience, we were to be introduced to the history, music, food, and overall culture of the region of Louisiana between Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. I had no preconceived notions about Arnaudville. The closer we came to Arnaudville, the more I realized we'd be getting a glimpse of real people living their daily lives in this very rural setting well off the beaten path.

Surprisingly, when you consider the size of the town with its small number of residents, Arnaudville plays host to three yearly festivals -- Etouffee Festival, Bayou Blues Festival and Le Feu et l'Eau—Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration. Have I mentioned that the state of Louisiana holds about 400 festivals each year and is often called the Festival Capital of America?

The group I was with enjoyed a delicious Cajun lunch and then strolled down the street to visit one of the popular local businesses.

What do you get when you pair Kevin Robin, a native of Arnaudville with years of food knowledge, and Sanjay Maharaj, native of Trinidad and then a resident of New York with a background in business and management? A restaurant that has broad appeal for the locals, as well as for visitors to the area.

Little Big Cup serves lunch Tuesday through Sunday, dinner Wednesday through Saturday, brunch on Saturday and Sunday and takes the day off on Monday. The Surf and Turf Dinner Buffet served on Friday and Saturday nights and the weekend Brunch Buffet draw crowds that gladly form a long line. Shrimp, crawfish, catfish, praline chicken and prime rib headline the dinner buffet, while gumbo, jambalaya, hog cracklins and boudin dot the brunch buffet. The Sauteed Seafood Tower and the Cajun Kevin Po Boy are favorites on the a la carte menu.

Now, have I enticed you to make your way to the Little Big Cup when you're in south Louisiana?

Tom's Fiddle and Bow is THE place to go for repairs on violins, violas, and cellos or to have a bow rehaired (yes, rehaired, it's not a typo). You can also find new and restored instruments or hard-to-find parts for stringed instruments. If you want to try-before-you-buy, owner Tom Pierce will happily rent one to you.

On the first Sunday of every month, Tom opens his doors at 12:45 p.m. for a music jam session called JAMbalaya that lasts until 4:00 p.m.

Tom is a retired submarine electronics technician who is loving his second career as a maker and repairer of violins. This tiny shop is a great place to soak up some local color, and if you're very lucky, you might hear some music while you're there.

I highly recommend this nice detour off of I-10 while you're traveling through Louisiana.

For more info about Little Big Cup, read this review I wrote for --

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