HOUMA, La. — When you ask people about Houma, La., most name two places: the Jolly Inn and Mr. Ronnie's Famous Hot Donuts.
The Jolly Inn is a Cajun dance hall. For decades, locals have loved to go eat a home cooked meal and dance the night away to a live Cajun or zydeco band.
“It was a family event. Wouldn't be just adults, would be all the children as well, so they had babies there,” says Dickey Jackson.
Cajun and zydeco dancing are a Houma tradition, and Jackson and his sister Pat Monaghan have been teaching locals how to dance at the Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center since the center opened in 2003.
“Older people, they did this. The only dance they knew, before the different beebop and rock n’ roll,” Jackson says. “So you find a lot of older people doing this, trying to keep the culture going trying to make sure the younger culture is aware of it.
He taught me a few steps.
Now I'm ready for the Jolly Inn! His classes are offered on three consecutive Fridays.
Nearby, a well-known saying in Houma goes “Making life sweeter one donut at a time.”
Mr. Ronnie Picou and his wife owned a Tastee Donuts franchise and when they sold they had to sign a 10-year non-compete. They weren't planning on ever getting back in the business, says Ronnie’s daughter Wendy Picou, but…
“Over that time everyone would approach my dad and ‘Oh, Mr. Ronnie, we miss your famous donuts. Oh Mr. Ronnie, you gotta go back in business we need you, we miss your donuts, miss you!” Wendy says. “Hence the name Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Donuts was named by the people over a period of time.”
Mr. Ronnie passed away last year but they still feel his presence. In fact, the timing of our visit was unique...
“His one-year anniversary that he passed away was today and we believe he had everything in the world to do with it. had his hand in it so,” Wendy says.
Mr. Ronnie's wife and children continue his legacy.
So, if you're planning a visit to Houma, these two local hot spots are a must!
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