So you can read my books

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I've decided to be kind on your eyes, friends.

A short post. Grim, the invisible Hellhound only I can see, just gave his 'that'll be the day' chuff. But on to the topic of today's post : how time gilds the guilty.

It is the season of our city's second Mardi Gras : Contraband Days. It is based upon a bit of our city's colorful history --

Almost three centuries ago, a notorious and ruthless pirate, Jean Lafitte, fled to this region with his band of buccaneers as enemy ships pursued him on his way west to Galveston, Texas.

Legend has it that Lafitte would hide out along the waterways here in Lake Charles. Whispers around the campfires have it that his favorite hideout was Contraband Bayou in Lake Charles. If you set out on your boat upon its silver glass surface at night, it is said you may see his ghost, looking in vain for his lost treasure.

In fact, the bayou got its name from the rumored gold and silver hidden somewhere along its winding length. Hence the name of our festival : Contraband Days.

There was other contraband in Lafitte's ships : slaves. It is rumored that he often sold slaves to Jim Bowie in the waterways of Lake Charles. As you can imagine, many of our black citizens take an underwhelmed view towards a festival where the contraband might well have been some of their ancestors.

But the Cajun spirit to party hardy is not easily put aside. So Contraband Days stays as the city's largest festival. The money it adds to the city's pockets is nothing to sneeze at either.

The ghost of Jean Lafitte is probably laughing somewhere tonight in the bayou's billowing mist.

Oh, and friends have asked me what Gypsy looks like. As a princess, she refuses to have her picture taken. But I have a painting posted right above Garfield in my sidebar that is very close to her highness' likeness. Roland


  1. Love the atmosphere you set here!

  2. Salutations Roland,

    Blog award for you on my page.

    Me :)

  3. Enjoyed your video so much I watched it twice. A few weeks ago, the History Channel aired a program on General/President Jackson that included Lafitte. Historians love to speculate what might be today with Lafitte's help in 1812. Enjoy the celebration. Let the good times roll!

  4. Fascinating.

    Sadly, we have no such festivals in NZ. Unless you take into account 'national sheep day' :)

    Time I got this book finished, so I can witness these colorful celebrations in person. I'd imagine, they would be most enjoyable.

  5. I love the multiple meanings of the term contraband. If I were to live in the south, that would be the place for me.

  6. Nifty story. The only thing we have in Waco is the Texas Ranger Museum and some averted glances when a particular religious zealot is mentioned.

    P.S. Every time I see that bear in the tent icon, I think of that, 'does a bear sh*t in the woods' remark. Then I think, 'apparently not. He sh*ts in the tents of campers.'

  7. What an interesting story - there might be a book in there somewhere. :)

  8. Neato. I liked it. The background write up really helped with the video.

    I'm always interested in learning historical facts and myths.

    This just proves even a bad boy has his shining moment of glory.

    Thanks for sharing this Contraband celebration. I'm starting the think a visit to New Orleans should be top priority over Disneyland when my first novel sells.


  9. I agree, there is a book in this piece, keep going! You have a gift~

  10. very interesting! i'd never heard of contraband days.

  11. What a great story. I come from an area where our claim to fame is mud colored knobbly roots known as potatoes. I like your town's claim to fame better.

  12. Thanks, everyone for commenting. It makes me feel as if I'm not playing to an empty house.

    Bossy Betty : You're kind to say that. And your blog is lovely as well.

    T.J.: Thanks for the award. That means a lot.

    Kittie : Glad you enjoyed the video like you did. I will be blood-running so celebrating is out, driving the roads will be in. Come back, will ya?

    Wendy : From what I've seen of NZ, it's so beautiful there, you could think of each day a festival for the eye. I pray your book is a huge success and can bring you here to sight-see -- and to feel the rush of your writing dream coming true.

    Theresa : You would enjoy it here I believe. But with your intelligence and curiosity, any place would be interesting to you.

    Christi : Your bear comment made me laugh long and deep. Thanks for enjoying my snippet of life in these parts.

    Susan : I may think about your book idea. And oddly enough, I live in the apartment complex known as Chateau Lafitte.

    Donna : New Orleans is colorful. Too crowded and dangerous during Mardi Gras. I pray your first novel is successful enough for a trip to both New Orleans and Disneyland.

    Ellie : Now, you're making me seriously think about doing a Contraband novel.

    Mi : Contraband Days is famous -- in our little pond. Little but loud.

  13. Thanks for the kind words, Angie. Potatoes you can eat. Gold makes for indigestion, what with all the shooting and fighting it takes to get it and keep it.

  14. I grew up hearing pirate stories that happened off the carolina coast. I love 'em!