Where is the calendar? Without it, I have no idea of where we have been, OR, where we are going, OR what day it is. We left League City, TX, in route to Lake Charles, LA, where we stayed at Sam Houston Jones State Park, just north of Lake Charles. A very nice park, we can highly recommend; the sites are large, and the area is beautiful. http://www.crt.state.la.us/parks/iShjones.aspx (Click on the images to enlarge)
At the top of the list, on things to do, was finding the best Cajun food in town. We asked around, and hands down, all agreed, Steamboat Bill’s on Lakeshore Drive; it did not disappoint!
We both opted for the gumbo; CC had piquant and I chose chicken and sausage. After 4 months of Mexican food, my taste buds were kicking up their heels with a new culinary sensation. Mmmmm Good. I think CC enjoyed it as well; she might not be so bold as to publicly admit it, being the Hispanic connoisseur that she is. http://www.steamboatbills.com/
We tried or luck at the local casinos, Isle of Capri and L’Auberge, and had mixed results. Win a little, lose a little; kind of like kissing your sister. Oh well, at least we didn’t break the bank; ours OR theirs. Now it was time for a walk along the lake, as they have a very nice paved walk on the NE side, adjacent to the downtown area. It was an overcast day, in the mid 70’s, as we strolled along watching the ducks swim and children feeding oyster crackers to the hundreds of hungry pigeons.
Travel Day. On to Breaux Bridge, LA, where we wanted to stay at Poche’s, but ended up at Cajun Palms RV Resort, which is actually nearby in Henderson, LA. Cajun Palms is a new park, maybe 2 or 3 years old, and is already expanding to double its size. It’s a little on the pricey side, but so many amenities; we didn’t have time to take advantage of all of them, because we had sightseeing on our agenda. Check out Cajun Palms here: http://www.cajunpalms.com/default.aspx
We have so much to see in so little time, we had better get off our lazy butts and hit the road. We drove the 10 miles or so to Breaux Bridge, parked and walked around the historic district. The adjacent cemetery was CC’s first sight of above ground burial tombs. I must admit, two dimensional pictures are no match for being there in person.
Eastward to Lafayette, to find a place for lunch. Almost miraculously, as we were driving northbound on University Blvd, I noticed a full parking lot at a little out of the way place named Country Cuisine. Over the years we have rarely been disappointed when using this method of choosing a better than average eating establishment. As we entered, it became increasingly apparent to me that we were the only albino-like people there. No problemo. We stumbled around for a few minutes, do we sit down, wait for a table, go to the counter and order; just what is the protocol here?
Finally, the lady behind the counter asked, “Would you like to order?”
“Yes, I’ll have the crawfish etouffee and she’ll have the catfish.”
As we sat down, the other diners appeared to be having a party, and sure enough, Country Cuisine was having their twenty-fifth anniversary party with family and close friends. It looks like we crashed their party. Oh well, the food was fantastic, and as we exited spoke with one of the owners, who was very friendly, asking us where we were from, as he could tell we were “not from around here”. Go figure.
OK, now onto some sightseeing, as we maneuver southward to St. Martinville, in search of the Longfellow – Evangeline Plantation. As we drove up, I had a visual image of “Tara” (Gone with the Wind), and this was not what I expected; a true working small plantation of only about 700 acres.
For generations, a blend of history and legend has drawn visitors to this meeting place of incredible natural beauty and unique historical background. In legend--the area was the meeting place of the ill-fated lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel. In history--it was the meeting place of exiled French aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution, and of Acadians of Nova Scotia seeking refuge after the British expulsion. It was also the meeting place of wealthy New Orleanians escaping the oppressive heat and epidemics of the city. In nature--it is the meeting place of the swamp and the prairie.
At Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, visitors are introduced to the diverse cultural interplay among the French-speaking peoples along the famed Bayou Teche. Many visitors may be familiar with the 1755 expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, and their arrival in Louisiana, as portrayed in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1847 epic poem "Evangeline." In Louisiana, the story is also known through the poem's local counterpart, Acadian Reminiscences: The True Story of Evangeline, written by Judge Felix Voorhies in 1907.
An Acadian Cabin vividly illustrates how different the lives of the Acadians and Creoles were. Prior to the arrival of the Acadians, or Cajuns, in 1764, the Bayou Teche area had already begun to be settled by the French. Many of these settlers were descendants of the first wave of French settlers in Louisiana. They are sometimes called "Creoles," meaning native, since they were born in colonial Louisiana.
Travel day has us moving on to “The Big Easy”, where we stayed at the Bayou Segnette State Park, just south of New Orleans. Usually travel days are uneventful, and that is the way we like them, however this was NOT one of those days. As we later learned, the Huey P. Long Bridge, is the most hated bridge in the area, with 9 foot lanes and NO shoulder on either side of the 2 lanes. Our rig is 8’-4”, so that leaves about 4” on each side for clearance, and traveling 45 mph, doesn’t leave much room for error. Just about the time CC shot out of her seat, I heard “massive scraping” on the passenger side, followed quickly by the tightening of my sphincter. As I looked into the driver’s side mirror, there were 2 cars beside me, and the bridge wall a mere 4 inches from the passenger side. As I slowed, and let the 2 cars beside me escape by getting around, I moved to the center, and continued across the bridge right down the middle of the road, blocking any and all vehicles from getting around me. I was not looking forward to stopping and discovering the damage that in my mind, just had to be horrific.
We arrived at Bayou Segnette, and the first order of business was to survey the damage; OMG, only a relatively small area on the front quarter panel behind the front wheel. Thank you Guardian Angel! The rest of the check in and set up process went without a hitch, although I was definitely ready for my “customary travel day” martini after we got completely set up. I think CC also enjoyed her “Double Margarita”.
No visit to “Nawlins” would be complete with a visit to the French Quarter and the Café Du Monde for beignets. Since it was early, we started with beignets and café au lait.
The art vendors were just getting set up as we arrived, so we walked around the town square, admiring their artistic wares. Only once did this dreadlock wearing female yell at me, “No pictures!” Like what the hell is her problem? The only reason I wanted a picture was to show the setting, not her ugly mug or her artwork. (She only painted in one color; black) Now when did that become art? Oh well, on to another part of the French Quarter.
After walking around for almost two hours, both of us had worked up quite a thirst, so it was off to Bourbon Street. CC wanted a hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s, just because that is the “touristy” thing to do. I, however, being the one of us that always acts in a responsible and mature manner, agreed to something a little less “intoxicating”, especially since it wasn’t yet noon, and on a Sunday morning at that!
After re-reading this I’m thinking we need to slow down a bit. After all, we are retired and don’t need to try and cram in everything in only one week. After being at one place all winter, we are still trying to re-adjust to “Travel Mode”. With that said, tomorrow is travel day, on to Gulfport, MS, a distance of 103 miles, where we will be staying at the Southern Oaks RV Park. Until next time, take care and stay well……