After spending 22 years as a history teacher turned vice principal at St. Cecilia Catholic School in Broussard, Marie Ducote-Comeaux decided she wanted to showcase her beloved city’s food to tourists and natives alike. Ducote-Comeaux offers three-and-a-half-hour tours twice a day on her 14-passenger bus for the willing and hungry.
There are a minimum of six restaurant stops along the tour, and Ducote-Comeaux works with 15 restaurants to provide every Cajun staple from Nunu’s boudin to Poupart’s pastries — but the 10 a.m. tour, which starts on the South side, is always different from the 3 p.m. tour, which starts downtown — and there are never repeat dishes.
“It’s a taste tour, so at each of the seven places, (at) some we do sit down but it’s just a little taste,” says Ducote-Comeaux, 47. “Some we’re not even sitting down. Like, we’re eating boudin in the meat department at Nunu’s.”
To choose the restaurants, Ducote-Comeaux started with her personal favorites. “I know where I like to take people when they come in (to Lafayette) ... and then I had to dwindle that down to those that would fit and flow into some good routes — thinking about traffic and busy times so I’m not backtracking and getting caught in the worst traffic. From there, it was those (restaurants) that were very receptive to it. The pre-requisite was they had to be Lafayette- or locally-owned places.”
Among the restaurants listed on the business’ website, www.cajunfoodtours.com, included are Lafayette institutions La Cuisine de Maman at Vermilionville, Gator Cove, Johnson’s Boucaniere, Earl’s Cajun Market, Chop’s Specialty Meats, Steve ‘n’ Pat’s Bon Temps Grill, T-Coon’s, Keller’s, Deano’s Pizza, BJ’s and Old Tyme Grocery.
As far as expanding the tour’s variety, Ducote-Comeaux says she is “absolutely open” to including more restaurants. “I’m hoping during our busiest times for tourism and conventions that I’m doing four to five (tours) a week, so I would love to change it up a little bit,” she says. “I want to have other restaurants to choose from and kind of give a break to those who keep having us. Right now, I’m going out and trying new places now, other places I’m not as familiar with, so I’m sneaking around and eating at the places where I’ve never eaten to see who I would like to approach to add to the tour.”
Ducote-Comeaux’s first food tour was in Baltimore, then she rode one in Seattle and another in Louisville, Ky. After the Seattle tour, she says she thought to herself “Our food is so much better than this. Someone should do this in Lafayette!”
Cajun Food Tours’ inaugural ride was the first week of July after Ducote-Comeaux finishing the school year in May and preparing for launch in June. So far, the tours have been half tourists, half locals. Between stops, riders learn about Lafayette’s history from a former Louisiana and American history teacher. Each tour is $49 per person, and custom tours are available for groups of eight or more. She is also offering shuttles to and from Festivals Acadiens et Creoles in October for visitors staying at local hotels.
“Locals have fun, but they’re not being introduced to things they’ve never had before,” says Ducote-Comeaux. “I really enjoy introducing out-of-towners to our awesome area. I’m so proud of our area and its people and its food.
“It’s a crazy time to become an entrepreneur, but you have to be a little crazy to do something different.”
To book a tour, visit www.cajunfoodtours.com or call (337) 230-6169.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun