Our Choice, Our Voice
En première, tu fais la roux. (First, you make a roux.) Isn’t that how we make a gumbo? Not if you are from Montegut and follow Miss Viv’s - or Maw Viv’s - recipe. Vivian Rhodes, my grandmaw, never made a roux for her gumbo; yet, for 18 years, she made her gumbo for all of the school children at Montegut Elementary and for all of the people of Montegut at the Sacred Heart Church fairs.
Now, if you are from Chauvin, you probably make a gumbo like Mrs. Carolyn Johnson. Mrs. Carolyn makes a roux to start her gumbo, and she made her gumbo for visitors from all over the world at LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium).
Have you ever heard of putting tomatoes in a gumbo? I have a friend from Houma who puts tomatoes in her gumbo.
Just as making a gumbo varies depending on which area of District 53 you live in, so do our needs. What we need is someone like me, Brenda Leroux Babin, to bring our voice Baton Rouge. I not only have Miss Viv’s gumbo recipe and know the differences in making a gumbo among the communities, but I also understand that the diverse areas of District 53 have distinctive needs.