Until the mid-20th century, Acadiana remained isolated, socially and economically, from the American mainstream. Today, Lafayette is resoundingly contemporary, flaunting its strip malls and rambling mansions (dating from the Louisiana oil and gas boom of the 1970s). Before the automobile, though, a farming or fishing family's nearest neighbor might have been hours away by wagon or pirogue (a hybrid watercraft—part flatboat, part canoe). When neighbors and extended families did come together, the feasting was serious indeed. In early winter, the excuse might be a communal pig roast, often a two-day affair. Or a boucherie, where a hog would be slaughtered, then reincarnated as chops and charcuterie. Or a gathering at a fishing camp on the bayou, fueled with turtle sauce piquante, boiled shrimp, and seafood courtbouillon. These celebrations sparkled with a joie de vivre that even now, after a dozen or more generations, remains intact—as infectious as it is heartfelt.