5 Steps to a Cajun Thanksgiving

danielleDanielle Ford is currently pursuing a dual Masters in Higher Education Administration & Public Administration and is a Graduate Assistant for Student Advocacy & Accountability.  
Danielle is from Baton Rouge, LA and studied abroad twice: Paris in 2009 and London, Brussels, & Paris in 2011-2012.

As a Baton Rouge native and LSU alumna, I know a thing or two about Cajun cuisine. As the President of the Thanksgiving Fan Club (not a real thing, but maybe I should invent it!), I’m positive I know a lot about Turkey Day. If this is your first holiday season in Louisiana, there is a lot you should know about how to celebrate a proper Cajun Thanksgiving, and as a self-appointed expert, I’m here to help you out!

1. Dressing, dressing & more dressing! In Cajun Country, we are connoisseurs of dressing of all types: we have cornbread dressing, rice dressing, crawfish dressing, oyster dressing, and andouille sausage dressing just to name a few. Your choice of dressing just might make or break your Cajun Thanksgiving.

2. Turkey does not reign supreme. In many Cajun households, turkey is just one of the many meat options served on Thanksgiving. Traditionally in my family, we prepare deep fried turkey, baked turkey, ham, roasted chicken or Cornish hens, and of course gumbo! It’s not that we don’t love turkey; we do! But when we cook a meal on Thanksgiving, we like to go all out!

pie3. It’s all about the sweet potatoes and pecans. For most Cajun households, we cannot live without some kind of dish made with sweet potatoes and/or pecans. You’ll often find a platter of candied yams, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole (topped with pecans!) and an assortment of sweet potato and pecan pies – no pumpkin found here!

4. Thanksgiving is for college football. We all know that traditionally, the Detroit Lions play (and lose) their annual Thanksgiving Day NFL game. But in many Cajun households, the biggest sporting event of the year is the annual “Bayou Classic” featuring the Southern University Jaguars against the Grambling State University Tigers. Usually held the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome in New Orleans, the Bayou Classic is a staple. While many love to watch the longstanding football rivalry come to a head, even more fans salivate for the “Battle of the Bands” competition the night before the game. If you’ve never seen a HBCU’s band play, make sure to turn in during this year’s Bayou Classic Weekend for a real treat! #GeauxJags

5. We Are Family! Thanksgiving is all about family. But if you can’t spend the day with your biological family, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day. Get a group of friends together and have your own Friendsgiving. If you’re from out of town, see if you can be the guest of a local friend. As long as you bring a few cases of Coke and an empty stomach, you’re sure to be welcomed in with open arms!

Here’s a tried and true recipe for Sweet Potato Pie!


From The Other Side Of The World To Baton Rouge

Untitled1 Meet Jamie Keehn, a 25-year-old Senior from Rockhampton, Australia majoring in Sports Administration. Jamie is student athlete here at LSU and loves to get out, travel, and meet new people.

Studying Abroad

Deciding to come to LSU and study has been one of the best choices I have ever made. From the moment I stepped on campus this place has been home for me. After visiting for a weekend in early 2012 my mind was made up that this was going to be the college of choice for me. I couldn’t imagine my experience here at LSU going any better. The amount of people I have met during my 3 years are people I will continue to stay in touch with no matter where I end up, it has made my college experience that much better.

Southern Culture

All I can say is this, THE FOOD HERE IS AMAZING! This is one of the first things I talk about when I head back to Australia and people ask me what it like is over here in Louisiana. Nothing beats the south when it comes to delicious home cooked food that warms the heart. From boudin to red beans and rice, some of the simplest things in the world to make are some of my favorite. But let’s be honest nothing beats a nice chicken and sausage gumbo on a cold winter’s night. My favorite pastime to do when it comes to eating food is having a crawfish boil. Nothing compares to sitting around a table with a big group of people, chatting away, and enjoying a nice spring afternoon while pealing hundreds of little crawfish until your hands are all cut, sore, and your belly is full to the brim.

Mardi Gras

Anyone from the south is going to tell you that Mardi Gras is the best time of year to be in Louisiana, but hear it from the Australian, it’s the best time of year to be in Louisiana rather than anywhere else in the world! The atmosphere is alive, the brass bands are playing all day and night, and it’s one big celebration. The idea of catching beads from a float driving past was a little weird when I was first told about it, but now sign me up that is the best part. Nothing beats being out on the parade routes and catching handfuls of colorful beads and competing to see who can catch the most.


People ask me every day the simple question of “Why come all that way to go to LSU” and my answer is simple, Why not? I could not have asked for a better place to move to. The people are great, the hospitality is even better, the food is amazing, and most of all its LSU football! Where else would I want to play in front of 100,000 people on a Saturday night, in the loudest football stadium in the world?! It wasn’t a hard choice for me.

In closing, there are more than enough things that I have enjoyed while I have been here at LSU. It has felt like home for the past 3 years and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to enjoy my time at college.Untitled