Breaux Bridge’s Unique Phonebook Praised In National Publication
Garden & Gun, a magazine that covers the best of the South, has written an interesting article on the town of Breaux Bridge’s phone book.
The article surrounds the Cajun tradition of assigning nicknames that stick for life. Nowhere is the nickname tradition more alive and well than in the town of Breaux Bridge.
As the story goes: when the phone lines were originally installed in the Crawfish Capital in the 1930s, there were only around 150 lines. The town’s phone operator knew everyone in the town so getting ahold of a friend was never a problem. But when the phone company switched to a dial system and phone directory, the citizens realized that nobody actually knew each others real names. To compound the problem, many residents shared similar first and last names.
To remedy the situation, Earl “Teddy” Conrad, the then owner of the Breaux Bridge phone company, published a new directory that included nicknames. The tradition continues to this day.
Look in a Breaux Bridge phonebook and you may find names like:
(Note: All names above are real people)
There are so many interesting little idiosyncrasies that make Cajun culture special. Sometimes it takes an outside eye like Garden and Gun point out the little bundles of gold that were there all along.