November, 2012. Abbeville, Louisiana. Get Crackin’ – It’s Omelet Weekend in Abbeville

Posted on November 5, 2012


Five thousand and twenty-eight eggs are a lot to crack, but that’s what it took to make up this year’s giant omelet, cooked to perfection in a 12-foot skillet fired up in Abbeville’s Magdalene Square.

Now, the question is, “why”?

The nearby city of Crowley has its rice festival – farmers raise rice there. Breaux Bridge has its crawfish festival – farmers raise crawfish there.  Poultry or eggs? Not raised in Abbeville.

But the heart and soul of Abbeville, like all of Acadiana, is French – and one of the most famous and familiar Frenchman to modern Americans is Napoleon, who, the story goes, loved a good omelet.

The following is adapted from the festival’s website: According to legend, when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessieres.  A local innkeeper prepared an omelet for Napoleon that was so good he wanted all his men to enjoy one, too.  He ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and the next day a huge omelet was prepared for his entire army.

From this beginning the omelet became a traditional meal for the poor of the village at Easter. In modern times it has also become the symbol of a world-wide fraternity, rich in friendship, tradition and cultural exchange, known as the Confrerie.

In 1984, three members of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce attended the Easter Omelette (I guess that’s the French spelling) Festival in Bessieres, France and were later knighted the first of Abbeville’s Chevaliers, or chefs. They returned home with the determination to bring Abbeville closer to its French heritage by hosting an omelet festival.

Each year, representatives from each of seven French or French-influenced cities arrive here in Abbeville to be knighted as chevaliers (chefs) into Abbeville’s Confrerie (fraternity), and help prepare the Giant Cajun omelet.  While in town, they also experience the area’s joie de vivre, share its rich culture, meet and mingle, and make memories and friendships which last a lifetime. Portions of the omelet are then given away to those in attendance.

It’s a two-day family-friendly event, with arts and crafts, old cars, a special Mass, games and music.  Celebrations like this demand a lot of walking and standing, both of which we’re not too good at anymore, so we didn’t see everything.

But we saw enough. The celebration was “eggs-actly” the right way for a family to spend time together on a nice fall Sunday morning.

Two visitors from Paris, France pose with a performer in one of the Breaux Bridge Saturday morning music spots.