I travel the South as a travel writer and am constantly amazed at the unusual and weird things we do. I’ve decided to change my blog from a general travelogue to one that spotlights the weird and crazy places within the Southern United States.
First up is the cemetery outside St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rayne, Louisiana. B.L. Rayne brought the Louisiana Western Railroad to the prairie west of Lafayette, but frogs brought it fame. The Weill brothers of France — remember the French love frog legs — saw a future in the region’s bullfrogs and began exporting them to restaurants throughout the country.
When you visit the quaint town of Rayne, there are frog murals everywhere, many created by the award-winning Acadiana mural artist Robert Dafford. In the fall is the annual Frog Festival. It’s no wonder Rayne calls itself the “Frog Capital of the World.”
But back to that cemetery. The graves at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church are buried in a north-south direction instead of east to west, a traditional formation made for the departed to greet the rising sun, a symbol of Christ’s resurrection. No one knows for sure whether the grave organizers were having a joke on the town or if the mistake was unintentional, but St. Joseph’s Cemetery is a rarity. In addition to frogs, Rayne is famous for its unusual cemetery mentioned in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”