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Cajun Country Ramble

Feasting on crawfish, flirting with danger and finding kindred spirits who know how to kick up their heels in the Eden of Louisiana, where the mysteries of the bayou unfold.

November 11, 2001|JUDITH FEIN | Judith Fein is a freelance writer in Santa Fe, N.M

* Getting there: You can fly into New Orleans, as we did, and rent a car. From LAX, nonstop service is offered on United and Southwest. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $178. You can also fly into Lafayette; connecting service from LAX is available on Continental, Delta, American and Northwest. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $218.

* Where to stay: Bois des Chnes B&B, 338 N. Sterling St., Lafayette, LA 70501; tel./fax (337) 233-7816, http://members.aol.com/boisdchene/bois.htm. Suites are $100-$150. Plantation and carriage house with huge suites; customized swamp tours offered.

The Caldwell B&B, 105 E. Vermilion St., Abbeville, LA 70510; (337) 892-7090, fax (337) 892-0766, http://www.thecaldwell.com. Rooms are $160-$300. Elegant restored mansion with great service.

* Where to eat: B&C Cajun Restaurant, 2155 Highway 18, (225) 265-8356, Vacherie. A no-frills authentic Cajun eatery. Entrees $8.50-$19.95. Specialties include alligator and seafood.

The Grapevine Cafe, 211 Railroad Ave., Donaldsonville, (225) 473-8463. Gourmet Cajun food in a restaurant/art gallery setting. Signature dishes are barbecue shrimp and roast duck. Lunch entrees $8.95-$19.95; dinner entrees $11.95-$20.95.

Prejean's, 3480 I-49 North, Lafayette; (337) 896-3247, http://www.prejeans.com. A casual place. Live Cajun music nightly. Entrees $12.95-$26.95. Bestsellers are eggplant pirogue Louis, seafood, wild game.

Randol's Restaurant and dance hall, 2320 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette; (337) 981-7080 or (800) YO-CAJUN (962-2586), http://www.randols.com. Entrees $8.95-$18.95. Cooking classes with Mama Redell are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, by appointment; $15 per person or $25 per couple. Specialties: rib eye with crawfish etouffee, crab cakes, seafood.

Mulate's Cajun Restaurant and dance hall, 325 Mills Ave., Breaux Bridge; (337) 332-4648 or (800) 42CAJUN (422-2586). House specialties are grilled catfish with shrimp etouffee, seafood, duck, frogs' legs. Entrees $11.50-$16.95.

* For more information: Locals praise "Cajun Country Guide," by Macon Fry and Julie Posner (Pelican Publishing, 1998).

St. Martinville Tourist Information Center, P.O. Box 379; St. Martinville, LA 70582; (337) 394-2233, fax (337) 394-2244, http://www.louisianatravel.com/st_martinville.

For information on Erath and Abbeville, contact the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission, P.O. Box 1106, Abbeville, LA 70511; (337) 898-6600, http://www.vermilion.org.

Louisiana Office of Tourism, Attn: Inquiry Department, P.O. Box 94291, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9291; (800) 99-GUMBO (994-8626) or (225) 342-8119, fax (225) 342-8390, http://www.louisianatravel.com.

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