Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jeanerette, Louisiana: The Flashing Red Light


LeJeune's Bakery, Jeanerette, Louisiana


Michel, one of my Louisiana cultural interpretors, told me about this bakery in Jeanerette where, if you see a red light flashing outside its door, it means there's bread fresh out of the oven, hot.

My brain collects factoids such as this, caching them into some data closet, so I heard the bakery information, and then forgot about it. Until, that is, when a few weeks later, on a Saturday morning, I was driving from Lafayette to Morgan City on Highway 182, entered into Jeanerette's business district - almost empty of pedestrian or vehicular activity - and saw a red light incongruously sticking out over a storefront sign.

How odd. Ohhhhh, LeJeune's Bakery! Was the light supposed to be flashing? Didn't remember, but parked the car, and went in.

LeJeune's Bakery, Jeanerette, Louisiana


Whereupon I saw warm, plump rolls just asking to be plucked. Too bad the bakery's Generation 6 happened to walk up right then, only to inform me the rolls had been promised to Generation 4, his grandmother.

LeJeune's Bakery, Jeanerette, Louisiana


I couldn't buy a roll, but the owner's son graciously allowed me to look at the bakery's heart, where the bread is made.

LeJeune's Bakery, Jeanerette, Louisiana


Here's a good video the regional news did on the bakery:




Note that one pronounces the family name lazhern and not lazhune. There's a good newspaper story about what the bakery did during ingredient shortages in World War II.


LeJeune's Bakery, Jeanerette, Louisiana


Will Generation 6 go into the business? Too soon to tell, but there's a precedent of non-linear transfers, so if the current direct line doesn't take over the business, maybe a cousin will.


LeJeune's Bakery, Jeanerette, Louisiana

The bread tastes as good as it looks in the picture above.
 

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