The moment the music starts, the dance floor is packed with energy. And it's only 8:30 in the morning.
Throw in an omelet stuffed with boudin and smothered in crawfish etouffee, add an order of beignets or plate-sized pancakes, and you've got a zydeco breakfast at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge.
Restaurant owner Brett Breaux says, "The Cajuns communicate through food and music, you know. It's a way of life."
Breaux's café is located a block away from the town's landmark drawbridge. Before sunrise, there is already a line at the front door and the tables fill as soon as the doors open. The diners and dancers come from all over the world.
Band leader Leroy Thomas of Lake Charles comes from a family of zydeco musicians. He started playing bucket drums as a child and taught himself to play accordion. Thomas says, "I would say zydeco is kind of the dance, first of all. Would be like do what you feel, it definitely will come to you. It's just a feeling about the music."
Mixed in with the great food and the zydeco is some of the best dancing you'll find anywhere on a Saturday morning. And one dancer in particular is legendary -- Clifton Leon, a regular at the zydeco breakfast.
Leon says, "My grandma taught me how to dance zydeco… we were brought up dancing in the backyard front porch and everything listening to different varieties of zydeco music."
But there's one dance step that shakes the wooden floor. Leon says, "That's my high step. That's what I call it, my high step and feet up in the air. I was dancing one Saturday morning and I started high-stepping and then everything looked good so I perfected it."
Leon and the other regulars roam the tables, making sure that anyone who can stand can experience the excitement of zydeco.
Breaux says, "They picked out random people who are from all over the world who they all say have one left foot. They are terrified to get up and dance and they make them feel at home, so it's part of the hospitality and the caring and the love that goes into the friendship and the camaraderie in here."
For Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Runners, there is just one goal: "For the dance floor to be packed from the first song to the last."
They have the zydeco breakfast every Saturday morning at the Café Des Amis in downtown Breaux Bridge. For more information, go online to http://www.cafedesamis.com.
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