- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

CROWN POINT, La. — It first appears as a rock with eyes sticking out of the dark water. The rock is now moving, floating. It becomes bigger and takes shape.

Through the swamp and green-velvet carpet of plant life, under the shade of the hanging Spanish moss, you realize, as you enjoy your plate of Shrimp Diane and bread pudding, that there is an alligator — a real, live alligator — in the water outside the Restaurant Des Families.

The sleek prehistoric reptile creates a wake as it moves through the water, stopping to lift a front leg over an obstacle before continuing through the thick, moist, 90-degree heat of the swamp.

Now, I’m a city boy, so when I saw the rock with teeth, I jumped up from my seat and pointed — earning more than a few chuckles from the natives.

People come here for the food and the atmosphere — including the alligators. But the locals, they see these things all the time. I can’t imagine what was going on in their minds, seeing a stranger getting excited about a gator. This would be like you or I in the District getting excited about spotting a pigeon.

Watching an alligator cruise by while diners like me enjoy authentic Cajun cuisine — it’s just part of the local color at Restaurant Des Families, perched on a swamp, a real swamp, down New Orleans way.

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