This turns out to be amazingly easy, at least with Debian 7.3.
First, instead of MySQL, I followed instructions at the MariaDB site: Setting Up MariaDB Repositories. Then:
$ sudo apt-get install libcatalyst-modules-perl
which installed over 200 modules, but what do you know:
$ catalyst.pl Foo
creates a Foo Catalyst application under the current directory. Everything *Just Works. *Thanks to Debian and the folks who bring you Catalyst.
An Introduction to Application Development with Catalyst and Perl May 14, 2012 by Henry Van Styn in Linux Journal
Some functional Catalyst examples on the Catalyst Framework site
UPDATE (April 2014): Catalyst seems a bit heavy for most of my needs. I'm exploring mojolicious.