Amidst the excitement of the parish’s 200th birthday, I sat down with my grandfather and listened to him talk about what it was like to be a kid in Des Allemands over 60 years ago. This is his story.
My grandfather, Lawrence Comardelle Jr., arrived in Des Allemands in 1942 - when he was only two years old.
His family came by boat from Comardelle Village, a small settlement on the shores of Lake Salvador, and many of them spoke only Cajun French.
He remembers spending the early part of his childhood catching yellow catfish in the bayou with his bare hands and selling flowers that he picked from the lily pads.
And kids rolling through the streets inside old car tires was an everyday event - along with diving off the town’s bridge into the bayou to go swimming.
My “Paw Paw,” as I have always referred to him, said that he remembers when Des Allemands had a movie theater.
He told me that if you helped clean the theater after the movie was shown you’d get a free ticket for the next film that came to town.
Des Allemands also had a dentist, a shoe store and two grocery stores where he and his friends would buy candy that cost only a penny.
He reminisced on catching and cooking blackbirds in the woods with his uncles, climbing trees and “hopping” a train for a free ride to Paradis.
One of his favorite memories was when he and his friends would use pieces of cardboard to slide down those little hills that railroad tracks sit on.
My grandfather grew up during a simpler time, when good and bad could be summed up by how many fish you caught in a day.
“Paw Paw” has learned a lot over his lifetime - and I will always cherish his memories as if they were my own.