Cajuns, however, don't like to go hungry. Catholic canon holds that one meal on Good Friday is acceptable. The folks of Catahoula, a small fishing community on the rim of the Atchafalaya Basin, have followed a tradition handed down from medieval France that combines the breaking of the fast with a party. In Catahoula, Good Friday is synonymous with Pie Day.
"It started out in France as Jour de Tarte," Mary Guirard says. "Probably mid-12th century," adds her ex-husband Greg Guirard. Greg continues to live on the family land in Catahoula, and Mary lives in St. Martinville. The ritual of Pie Day, however, brings them back together every year.
Greg's mother, Leona "Tootie" Martin Guirard, a Catahoula schoolteacher, picked up on the local tradition after the family moved there in 1939. "Good Friday being such a holy day, they didn't cook on that day," Mary says. "On Thursday it was tradition to make a sweet dough pie with custard filling, or if Easter was late enough, blackberry. And they would make a tomato pie with a crust for something salty."
Morning was for fasting and praying. Then the residents would go from house to house to visit their relatives and eat pie. One meal. Only pie.
"My mama really loved pies," Greg says. "She got everybody to come here and bring a homemade pie."
On Good Friday morning, Tootie woke her children early. "We had to suffer," Greg says. "No coffee, no milk, no water."
Tootie Guirard is also responsible for the outdoor Stations of the Cross that hang in ancient live oak trees along the road from St. Martinville to Catahoula. Early on, there was no church in Catahoula, and residents had to travel to St. Martin de Tours in St. Martinville. Tootie had her cousin, artist Clelie Hutchins, paint wooden depictions of the Passion, which were nailed up in trees making the trip back a holy pilgrimage.
"When Tootie started having pie day, she included the Way of the Cross. The last station is in front of St. Rita's church in Catahoula," Mary says. "They would end up at the church. The priest would go to Tootie's; she'd have him bless the pies, and then he would stay for Pie Day. Father Dion came to Pie Day, and then Father Frank. Then Father Colombun condemned Pie Day. He said it was sacrilege to eat pies on Good Friday. He even put it in his sermon."
The tradition, once celebrated all over the village, has begun to die out in Catahoula.
"Pie Day isn't so popular any more," Greg concludes. "What happens here, people who see everybody only on pie day gather. And the pies have gotten a lot more fancy."
"We've had just about every kind of pie," says Mary. "Crawfish, oyster, mushroom, spinach, sweet potato, key lime, lemon meringue, blueberry. No meat, that's the rule. Pat Rickles [UL English and Folklore professor] always brings the strawberry pie."
"We wind up with so many pies, the rule is when you leave, you leave with a pie," Greg notes. "Some people get away with store bought pies. They'll probably go straight to hell."
Catahoula Sweet Dough Pie
(from Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu)
Sweet Dough (makes four 9-inch pies)
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Cream shortening and sugar. In a small bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the shortening and sugar, blend together. Combine flour and baking powder. In a large mixing bowl, alternate blending the liquid mixture with the dry ingredients. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl. Divide dough into four equal parts and roll out on a floured board. Place dough in four 9-inch pans, crimp edges, add filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Or roll the dough into smaller circles, add filling, fold over and bake.
Wash berries and drain well. For every quart of berries use one and a half to two cups sugar and one quarter cup water. Mix sugar and water in a large pot and bring to a boil, add berries and allow to cook until the mixture is thick. Stir to prevent sticking.
1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
12 ounces of water in which 1/2 cup of cornstarch has been dissolved
1 cup sugar (or more if you like sweet filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a gentle boil and stir until custard thickens. Cool and spoon onto sweet dough crusts. To make coconut filling, add one cup of shredded coconut to the custard when it is cooling.
Crawfish and Eggplant Pie
Cornmeal Crust (makes two open-face tarts)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
8 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water
Mix flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar. Cut butter into thin slices. With a pastry blade or your fingertips, cut butter into flour mixture until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Mix sour cream and ice water, pour into flour-butter mixture. Mix just until liquid is absorbed; do not overwork. Cut dough into two pieces, wrap in floured wax paper and chill for two hours until firm.
On a floured surface roll out dough into a disk. Line a buttered pie pan with the dough. Fill, and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until dough is golden. This is a great dough for cutting into small disks and folding over filling to create individual half-moon shaped pies.
2 pounds crawfish
1 small eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 stalk celery
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons roux
Dice eggplant, leaving skin on, put in a colander and salt. Set over bowl, let drain for 45 minutes. (This extracts the bitterness from the eggplant.) Chop onion, bell pepper and celery medium fine. Melt two tablespoons butter in heavy pot, add vegetables, let smother over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Rinse eggplant and dry. Add to vegetables, let cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. When eggplant is very soft, add roux and cook, stirring for five minutes to blend. Add crawfish, stir and cook on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes or until crawfish are done. Season with Creole seasoning, check carefully for salt, the eggplant is already salty. Cool before filling pie crust.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage