I don’t exactly remember how I discovered Port Allen Bakery, but for well over a decade now, while commuting to LSU, I celebrate Fridays by stopping in for their scrumptious doughnut holes and tuning in to KDTY, a wonderful Lafayette radio station that touts “The Polyester Power Hour.”
Yes, I celebrate the small stuff!
Who isn’t thrilled to say that they’ve made it to Friday?
Who isn’t thrilled to take a step back in time and listen to “Play That Funky Music” or “Ladies Night” or “Boogie Shoes”?
And, who isn’t thrilled to pop a nice, warm doughnut hole into their mouth?
My doughnut-hole tradition is known far and wide at LSU, and many stop by the office to taste the exceptional goodies. Funny, how something so small can bring such big smiles to so many faces.
My grandchildren commute with me now, and we carry on this tradition. They, too, look forward to Fridays with anticipation as we dance our way from False River to Port Allen.
There are two ways to get the sweet treats. You can drive up to the window or get out of your car and stand in line.
It's when you step inside the tiny wooden establishment that the cultural experience begins.
At a time when everyone is plugged in to an electronic device, it’s wonderful to hear the early morning chatter of people talking to each other and visiting with the bakery owner, the delightfully bubbly, jovial and conversational Ms. Nanette.
Originally from Breaux Bridge, Ms. Nanette and her staff know everyone and greet them with a wonderfully contagious smile, high five or "Hey, brother!"
You can feel the warmth of being in a small town bakery. Not only that, you experience a real sense of community. Ms. Nanette knows everyone’s story, and, over time, patrons come to know one another. It’s just wonderful.
On Friday mornings, my grandson walks into the bakery and boldly asks for two 12s and a six. Once, a new employee said: “I don’t know what that means.” Another explained: “That means he’ll have two bags of 12 doughnut holes, one bag of six.”
During Mardi Gras, I shipped several of Ms. Nanette’s king cakes to Utah, along with boudin balls and mini crawfish pies. They were amazed at the wonderful tastes and flavors. They marveled at the beautiful colors of the king cake, covered with beads, its story and the overall tradition. For me, their amazement reinforced how fortunate we are to be immersed in such rich culture; never to be taken for granted.
Lattes, frappes and extra shots are not served at Port Allen Bakery. There you'll get only big doses of smiles and friendship.
Folks on the west side of the Mississippi River have coined the phrase “The West Side is the Best Side!” Now I partly know why.
— Miller lives in Oscar