St. Charles Herald-Guide

Twinkies for Lent? Sure, if you eat the fried catfish first

By Barbara Munson - March 7, 2007

The Lenten season is upon us. This may not mean much to you if you're not a Christian, but there's no mistaking that Lent is here - just lift your nose and sniff. When you live in a predominantly Catholic area, you just can't help but associate Lent with the smell of frying fish.

A few years ago I was driving along Loyola Drive in Kenner on a Friday afternoon during Lent, wondering where I could pick up a quick lunch, when I spotted a sign on the neutral ground proclaiming, "HERB ROASTED VEGGIES!"

In Burma Shave style, there were more: "CAJUN POTATOES!", followed by "CRISP FRIED CATFISH!", and the hook: "DRIVE THRU, THIS WAY!" Now how could I possibly resist?

If you've never been on Loyola in Kenner on a weekday, you may not realize that this is quite a busy street, and lunchtime on Loyola means lots of traffic and long lines at the fast food restaurants.

The good folks at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church decided to capitalize on this by providing a great lunchtime alternative for observant Catholics and people sick of fast food, and earn some money for the church at the same time.

I joined the line in the parking lot and had the most unique lunch experience ever.

There was a man announcing into a microphone, "Fresh cooked, just for you!”

“Delicious Louisiana catfish! Drive on through!"

There was music blaring from a stereo system. There was a white awning thing erected in the parking lot with 6 - 8 elderly people working under it, dancing the whole time.

They were frying the fish, they were filling the take-out containers, they were bringing the orders to the cars, and they were singing along to the music. Meanwhile the guy with the microphone asked, "How many dinners for you in the green truck? How many for you in the silver van?" and you held up your fingers to let them know how many you needed.

It was a real hoot, and I learned from one of the gentlemen that they had been featured on the national news because no one had ever heard of a drive-through fish fry.

For the record, the food was delicious, it’s also fattening as all get out - 2 large thin fried catfish fillets, 2 small red potatoes boiled in seasoned crab boil, a small piece of corn on the cob, a slice of French bread, a Twinkie, a small bag of Zapp's Cajun crawdad spicy potato chips, and a bottle of water.

Thanks to skipping breakfast, I ate every bite.

I passed the church the other day and noticed that the drive-through fish fry is operating again this year.

If you're looking for a local fish fry, the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department is selling dinners every Friday in Lent from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the fire station at 123 St. Rose Avenue.

I don't think it's a drive-through, and I don't know if they'll dance for you, but the proceeds are definitely for a good cause. Why don't you stop on by?