Alligators replacing reindeer? Only in Louisiana, where Cajun Night Before Christmas author James Rice created a muskrat-wearing St. Nick whose gators fly with different names (“Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alceé…”). We asked five Bayou State tastemakers to share their favorite lines and memories from the swamp-based story, including beloved artist George Rodrigue who passed away last weekend.
“When I was young, I was captivated by the sketches of the Louisiana I knew, with bayous, skiffs, and even alligators.”
“It’s a classic tale spun in a Southern way. And who doesn’t love the idea of 8 alligators instead of reindeer(?)”
“Every year, I read the book in my best Cajun accent. I like the scene where the momma cooks gumbo and baked yams because it reminds me of the holidays when I was growing up.”
Profession: Star of Swamp People
“I love when St. Nick calls his alligators by name. [We] name some of the alligators we fish, and I add those while I’m reading. [The kids] laugh like crazy!”
Profession: Cajun artist, known for his paintings of the iconic Blue Dog and Louisiana landscapes
“I read the story to my boys—Andre and Jacques—when they were young. They liked calling out the gators by name and, of course, my Cajun accent.”
Don’t stop with the book—check out our Cajun Country Christmas Road Trip to get a true taste of South Louisiana.