Here in South Louisiana, we've got a certain je ne sais quoi that quite often the rest of the world falls in love with. There are things in Acadiana that people just can't experience anywhere else. Whether it's our food, music, art or lifestyle, there have been times where our lil' slice of heaven has infiltrated pop culture all over the world.
Below is truly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cajuns and Cajun culture showing up in pop culture.
George Rodrigue's Blue Dog paintings were Louisiana famous, but in the 90s broke onto the national scene. In some episodes of the 90's mega-hit "Friends" one of Rodrigue's Blue Dog paintings can be seen hanging on the wall in Central Perk. Rodrigue's Blue Dog was also featured in Xerox and Absolut Vodka ads in the 90s.
In the wake of the horrors of hurricane Katrina the country started to learn about something called The Cajun Navy. As Cajuns, we aren't ones to sit idly by when people need help. We gas up our boats and help. During the tragedies caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and parts of South Louisiana, the entire world became aware of The Cajun Navy. During news segments on all of the major national news outlets, The Cajun Navy received countless accolades for their help. The Cajun Navy is also credited with inspiring people all across the country to help others in times of need.
Who would have imagined that a Creole seasoning from Opelousas would change how folks all over the world would season their food? Tony Chachere sure did, and now you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't have it in their kitchen.
Ali Landry brought worldwide attention to our beloved Breaux Bridge when she became Miss USA in 1996. But it was the 1998 Doritos Super Bowl commercial that catapulted her to "The Doritos Girl" super stardom.
In the early 80s the Masters of the Universe action figures took the world by storm. Mattel was spitting out new heroes and villains every week it seemed, and kids loved it. In 1984 they released Clawful, and half man, half lobster villain. Maybe it's a stretch to say Clawful is Cajun, but doesn't he look a whole lot like Crawfish-Man? Close enough for us to claim Clawful as Cajun if you ask me.
Few in recent years have captured the world's curiosity and interest like Swamp People. Troy Landry and the guys have shown folks first hand what the alligator hunting world is all about. They've also taught the world a little about how we talk as well..
In 2007 Acadiana's Cupid released "Cupid Shuffle" and it became a global sensation, spawning it's own line dance. To this day you can't go to any wedding across the country without hearing it. What people outside of Acadiana don't realize is that the infectious rhythm they can't resist dancing to is in fact a Zydeco rhythm.
We even have a Cajun in the Super Hero world with Gambit. Gambit first appeared in 1990. Born Remy Etienne LeBeau in New Orleans, he was kidnapped from the hospital and raised by the LeBeau Clan Thieves' Guild. Fittingly, one of main his weapons are his playing cards that he charges with kinetic energy. A good Cajun always has a deck of cards. Gambit the movie, staring Channing Tatum as Gambit, will be released in 2019.
One of the most beloved characters in 1999's blockbuster "The Green Mile" was Cajun prisoner Eduard Delacroix, played by actor Michael Jeter. Even though Jeter isn't a real Cajun, he did a pretty decent job playing one in this movie. As a result of audiences becoming fans of the Delacroix character and his pet mouse Mr. Jingles, Acadiana and Cajun culture received worldwide attention, in a good way.