Fais Do-Do

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MTT News's picture
Michelle Phillips

I went to a two day fais do-do (pronounced fay doh-doh) last weekend. What is a fais do-do, you ask? It means party in Cajun, and I have to say, the Cajuns really know how to throw a fais do-do. 

The party was in honor of my husband’s class reunion, along with a couple of other years, which they had dubbed the “Mega Reunion.” The school he went to is called Midland High School and it serves several small communities deep in the Louisiana bayou. 

The party began on Friday night with a trip to the basketball Homecoming game. One of his schoolmates has a party bus and a small group of folks gathered to take the bus a short distance to the school. 

In my younger years I would work on a party bus as a bartender from time to time when my boss would rent a big tour bus to take on casino trips. It was luxurious and new with cushy seats, air conditioning and a fold down counter that we would use to make drinks.

This was no such bus. It was an old custom built school bus that had all the doors, windows and seats removed, so it was open air, and had a wooden rail designed to hold your cocktail. It was decorated with LSU (Louisiana State University) items, beer posters and Mardi Gras beads, trinkets and masks, but the crown jewel of the bus was a platform with a port-o-potty secured at the back. I cannot imagine this vehicle being street legal anywhere but the bayou.

The Cajuns are a raucous bunch and they love to eat and drink, so the booze was flowing freely, including Jello shots, Fireball, and of course, beer. At the game they had M-TV themed shirts for the classmates and a section reserved in the stands. We met kids and grandkids of the close-knit group, many of whom had 30 or less in their respective class. 

After the game we went to Mee-Mee’s a bar that my husband tells me they would go to, and get served, in high school. The bartender passed around a hat to collect for the first round of drinks, which included a shot that tasted like a strawberry banana daquiri. One of the children of Matt’s classmates squeezed out zydeco on an accordion, and the fried food, including po’ boys was abundant.

The next night was the actual reunion, and it included a much larger group than the 16 we met up with the night before. No Cajun party is complete without gumbo, and this fais do-do was no exception. A massive pot of the thick, brown soup, so big it had its own propane tank, waited to be ladled over buttered rice along with salads, chicken fingers and French bread. 

I learned another delicacy that is almost a requirement at any Cajun party is German chocolate cake. My husband’s theory is that it is because of the abundance of pecans in the area, which is plausible since there aren’t many Germans in the region. It was homemade and delicious with a thick layer of caramel frosting.

Once again the alcohol flowed freely. A DJ spun tunes from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, which were met with excitement and dance moves, including line dancing, slow dancing, and, of course, the Cajun two step. 

Sports uniforms, pom-pons, and yearbooks brought back memories for the group, many of whom see each other on a regular basis. A large screen scrolled photos of school days as well as former reunions, and classmates that had passed away. There was a photo area with props for clowning around, a bags game and “drunk Twister.” 

Both Matt and his friend, Jason, left Mermentau Cove where they came of age to seek bigger and better futures. Neither had been back in 30 years, and their classmates welcomed them with open arms. They also welcomed me and Jason’s wife as if we, too, had shared their collective high school memories, pulling us into their smaller groups to tell us stories of our husbands as teens. 

My husband was initially not sure if he wanted to attend the reunion, but that first night, meeting a smaller group of fun loving, and welcoming folks assured him that he had made the right decision. I later found out that he and Jason agreed to attend if the other would also go. I am glad that they supported one another in the decision.

Most of his classmates were not surprised to learn that both he and Jason had moved around a lot in life, taking on new challenges, jobs and locales. “We expected you to do great things,” said a woman named Jessica. “They were always the smartest ones in the school,” she said, turning to address me.

As we left that night, Matt’s schoolmates wanted to know if we would be back in five years when the next reunion is held. “You never know,” I replied. “Who knows where we will be in five years.”


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