Cajun Christmas in the Oaks

It was in the mid 60s last night and very humid, chilly and a bit damp, but otherwise a perfect night for a walk in City Park.  I’m embarrassed to admit that this was our first ever visit to Celebration in the Oaks.

Paul was a good sport pushing the kids in the Beamer stroller, while I wandered around with my tripod.  Yup, bad-ass me, with my camera and tripod… with the camera set to a high ISO the whole damn time.  So much for bad-ass.

My old 10D rocks, but at 800 ISO, can get a little grainy.  Oh, well, at least I had the tripod.

There was a laser light show (a little lame, but the kids loved the Rudolph song), dancing lights through the landscaped botanical gardens, a lighted telling of A Cajun Twas the Night Before Christmas, live dancers and singers, hot chocolate and hot dogs, and kiddie rides all decked out for the holidays.

Our favorite area was the Train Garden.  Miniature homes and historic buildings of New Orleans, laid out among streetcar and train tracks.  WAY COOL.

Here’s the Vieux Carre, below:

Here’s the train, comin’ by…

Isn’t it cool?  It was WAY cooler in person, too.  Each building was fascinating in detail and expression and the accompanying literature was interesting and insightful.  Little tidbits of local history.

Kate and Paul check out one of the lighted toys.  I can neither confirm nor deny Kate’s attempt to ride the horse while my eye was lost behind the camera.  We went through Storyland… quickly… as things got busy fast.  We came in at opening, but made the mistake of not running a line straight to the train ride and carousel.  We’ll get those later?  Maybe next year?

It’s just not Christmas without this story:

Words, in case you want to follow along:

Cajun Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas an’ all t’ru de house,
Dey don’t a ting pass Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle good snug on de flo’,
An’ Mama pass de pepper t’ru de crack on de do’.

De Mama in de fireplace done roas’ up de ham,
Sit up de gumbo an’ make de bake yam.
Den out on de by-you dey got such a clatter,
Make soun’ like old Boudreau done fall off his ladder.

I run like a rabbit to got to de do’,
Trip over de dorg an’ fall on de flo’.
As I look out de do’in de light o’ de moon,
I t’ink, “Mahn, you crazy or got ol’ too soon.”

Cux dere on de by-you w’en I stretch ma’neck stiff,
Dere’s eight alligator a pullin’ de skiff.
An’ a little fat drover wit’ a long pole-ing stick,
I know r’at away got to be ole St.Nick.

Mo’ fas’er an’ fas’er de’ gator dey came
He whistle an’ holler an’ call dem by name:
“Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alcee’!
Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an’Renee’!

To de top o’ de porch to de top o’ de wall,
Make crawl, alligator, an’ be sho’ you don’ fall.”
Like Tante Flo’s cat t’ru de treetop he fly,
W’en de big ole houn’ dorg come a run hisse’s by.

Like dat up de porch dem ole ‘gator clim!
Wit’ de skiff full o’ toy an’ St. Nicklus behin’.
Den on top de porch roof it soun’ like de hail,
W’en all dem big gator, done sot down dey tail.

Den down de chimney I yell wit’ a bam,
An’ St.Nicklus fall an’ sit on de yam.
“Sacre!” he axclaim, “Ma pant got a hole
I done sot ma’se’f on dem red hot coal.”

He got on his foots an’ jump like de cat
Out to de flo’ where he lan’ wit’ a SPLAT!
He was dress in musk-rat from his head to his foot,
An’ his clothes is all dirty wit’ ashes an’ soot.

A sack full o’ playt’ing he t’row on his back,
He look like a burglar an’ dass fo’ a fack.
His eyes how dey shine his dimple, how merry!
Maybe he been drink de wine from de blackberry.

His cheek was like a rose his nose a cherry,
On secon’ t’ought maybe he lap up de sherry.
Wit’ snow-white chin whisker an’ quiverin’ belly,
He shook w’en he laugh like de stromberry jelly!

But a wink in his eye an’ a shook o’ his head,
Make my confi-dence dat I don’t got to be scared.
He don’ do no talkin’ gone strit to hi work,
Put a playt’ing in sock an’ den turn wit’ a jerk.

He put bot’ his han’ dere on top o’ his head,
Cas’ an eye on de chimney an’ den he done said:
“Wit’ all o’ dat fire an’ dem burnin’ hot flame,
Me I ain’ goin’ back by de way dat I came.”

So he run out de do’ an, he clim’ to de roof,
He ain’ no fool, him for to make one more goof.
He jump in his skiff an’ crack his big whip,
De’ gator move down, An don’ make one slip.

An’ I hear him shout loud as a splashin’ he go,
“Merry Christmas to all ’til I saw you some mo’!”

And just in case you need some more Cajun inspiration this holiday:

Happy Christmas Eve!