The Richmond State - A Fantasic Free Read Every Thursday

Huge Mouse, Cajun-Style

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, March 20 1996

This column was a combination of our unpaid shilling for Fan restaurant ‘Gumbo Ya-Ya’ with our righteous distaste for Disney’s planned “American History and Indian Massacre Gift Shop.” So we came up with a projected Richmond Disney theme park. We were really hoping that ‘Gumbo Ya-Ya’ would give us free food, but they never did, because they, like the rest of Richmond didn’t read The Richmond State.

Howdy. We are Jeff “Gumbo” Carl and Paul Ca-“Ya-Ya”-puto. We should point out that we would never compromise our journalistic impartiality by endorsing any sort of cajun-style restaurants.

Recently or whatever, the Disney Corporation (motto: “We’d Like You to Forget About ‘Escape From Witch Mountain’”) planned to build a “History-Land” theme-park in Northern Virginia. This would have combined all the creepiness of people dancing around frantically in animal costumes with the skull-crunching dullness of Eighth-Grade American History. 

Many Virginians (motto: “Yee-haw! NASCAR!!!!”) objected vehemently, sometimes in complete sentences, complaining that attractions like the “Thomas Jefferson Mausoleum and Putt-Putt Golf Course” (motto: “Score a hole in one and Tom spins in his grave!”) or the “Jamestown Indian Massacre and Driftwood Sculpture Gift Shop” did not respect history, or crunch skulls with its dullness. Furthermore, it completely ignored the delicious, low-priced lunch entrees at Gumbo Ya-Ya.

Eventually Disney gave up on Northern Virginia and just went and bought Zaire (motto: “Where the Hell are we?”). But they secretly never abandoned their plans for the park, and finally purchased the tract of underdeveloped rural land they needed.

You guessed it. They bought the City of Richmond, (motto: “We’ll Tow Any Car for $49.95!”) and they’re turning the whole city into an amusement park (motto: “Crawfish Are Back!”), which will combine all the excitement of the city’s historical attractions (motto: “We DARE you to visit the Valentine Riverside”) with all the surliness of the wait staff at Euro-Disney (motto: “Içi, ce sucks beaucoup”). 

So who do you think is designing this park?

You guessed it even more. We, Jeff and Paul, are supplementing our meager paychecks from the State (motto: “In exchange for your articles, we will give you many shiny beads and trinkets”) by designing the new Disney Richmond Historical Fun Land.

The park, which will be inexplicably named “Six Flags Over Gumbo Ya-Ya,” will be divided into five parts, all easily accessible by the space-age Powhite Monorail™. It will be free to ride, but will require passengers to pay 35 cents in exact change every half mile. Furthermore, the monorail will occasionally burst into flames for no particular reason. But you don’t need to wait for a monorail to go to Gumbo Ya-Ya, conveniently located on Main Street in the historic Fan district!

The staff, complete with guys walking around in enormous cartoon Leonidas Young costumes, will comprise City of Richmond public school teachers, which means the park will be closed on days when there’s a good game on.

Admission to the park will be free, but city employees will post “Street Cleaning Right Now!” signs in the parking lot and tow everybody’s car and charge them $50. That’s much more than you would pay for some hot ‘n’ spicy shrimp at Gumbo Ya-Ya!

The park’s main attractions are the secret biological experiments in Jurassic Copyright Infringement Land, in which disturbed scientists will genetically engineer radioactive clones of L. Shirley Harvey. Also, we are planning an enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex designed specifically to eat Joynes and Bieber.

The restof the park breaks down (no pun intended) like this:


Like-Real-History-But-If-There-Were-Cartoon-Characters-There Land: This would include some things almost like Actual History, but with their own special Virginian/Disney twist. For instance, in the Civil War re-enactments, the Southerners (the 3rd Artillery Mousketeers Division) win all the battles (their battle cry: “Winn, Dixie!”) and beat up Abraham Lincoln (motto: “My GOD! I just realized how creepy I look!”) and take his lunch money, winning the War of Northern Aggression.

Hall of City Council Members: Full of creepy androids like the Hall of Presidents, but instead of reciting historical speeches, the characters recite where they bought it and who else uses the stuff. If you’re talking about nutritious, hearty food, we bought it at Gumbo Ya-Ya!

Walt Disney’s Wussy Dancing World on Ice: Staffed by the ex-Richmond Renegades, this part of the park will feature figure-skating in frillly skirts and cartoon animals cross-checking each other. It will make heterosexuals, including us, who are not gay — unlike some columnists we could name — extremely uncomfortable.


Haunted VCU Freak Show and Body-Piercing Hut: Guaranteed to scare the bejeezus out of youngsters, with lifelike “students” who wear whimsical black costumes and say things like “My band does Frank Zappa covers on kazoo. We’re still waiting for our first gig, but I hear Jonathan Fox wrote a great article about us in the State.” Kids can meet the new VCU mascot, Rolf, the angst-ridden Doberman.

Hookers of Broad Street: Like the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but with cheap hookers and colorful non-tropical diseases. Coincidentally, Louisiana, which is where Gumbo Ya-Ya food is from, is very near the Caribbean.

Epcot Center: This will feature one lone booth, with Bell Atlantic (motto: “Mr. Carl, Your Bill is Now Three Months Overdue”) demonstrating a futuristic but highly unbelievable reasonably-priced residential phone service.

The James River Log Flume Ride: Joyful flume-riders (motto: “What the Hell is a flume?”) will laugh and play in the water of the mighty James River, which should not be ingested internally and bonds skin instantly.


Richmond Snow Removal Crew Bumper Cars: Children can experience the thrill of their misbegotten lives, riding a two-mile-per-hour snow plow bumper car as it playfully crashes into simulated snowed-in cars in The Fan.

Electrical Parade on Main Street: At the end of each evening, visitors gather on Main Street (motto: “It is On Our Mighty Sidewalks Where You Will Find Gumbo Ya-Ya!”), where Disney puts on its daily whimsical parade, designed by Nazi Psychiatrists™ and Chinese torture specialists to be the single-most annoying event in the history of the universe. All parade floats will be towed if parked between 4 and 6 p.m., and will be made out of delicious jambalaya rice from Gumbo Ya-Ya. Mm-Mmmm Good!

“It’s a NASCAR World”: Modeled after the wildly unpopular “It’s a Small World” feature at Disney World or Land or Whatever™, passengers will sit in miniature NASCAR cars and crash into each other, bursting into flames as they whip around a track surrounded by automated hillbilly pit stop mechanic dolls singing:           

            It’s a world of grease, It’s a world of dirt/

            Our intellect’s in a world of hurt/

            Our cars tend to roll, when we spit out our Skoal/

            We’re in NASCAR after all

Times-Dispatch Office Pavilion: Every day a different five-year-old visitor would be the “Editorial Page Editor For A Day.” Anyone who notices the difference will win $1,000,000, but they will be placed on the payroll of The Richmond State, and should expect to receive their check in late February 2015.


Monument Avenue: Automated statues of Arthur Ashe and “Goofy” will play tennis against each other on horseback and only occasionally have disastrous mechanical malfunctions that make them go berzerk and kill everyone in the park. Not to be missed is the mouse-eared Stonewall Jackson, singing “Zippity Doo-Dah,” three times daily.


Gumbo Ya-Ya: This will be the best part of the park, if for no other reason that if we keep mentioning their name, they might give us free food.

© Puff Carpluto 1996