Wednesday, November 28, 2018

More Fun in Louisiana!

November 14-24, 2018
Westwego/Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Bill gets home in time to unhook everything for our short move to Bayou Segnette State Park - lucky guy!

We're back in this beautiful state park on the bayou south of New Orleans where we spent Christmas two years ago. We're even in the same spot since I remembered it worked well for us. 50 amp electric and water on a level asphalt pad with both a concrete patio and a wood deck. Fire ring and picnic table, and good spacing all around. Very quiet and dark at night. 

Our friend Bob lives nearby (he and I graduated high school the same year, and he and Bill partied in their college years). His older sister and younger brother were also good friends who live in the area, but they're both out of town.

Thursday we enjoy a beautiful Louisiana day. Bob comes for a nice long visit and a couple burritos. He's worked all over the world on oil platforms, and has wonderful stories to share. No, I don't get any pics :-(

After my time in the city I'm ready for something simpler. We head out Friday through Bernard Parish to a small fishing peninsula called Delacroix Island. It's a scenic drive under clear blue skies.

Chalmette Battlefield - an outnumbered American army defeated an experienced British force in January 1815 although the treaty ending the War of 1812 had already been signed over a month before. Americans took such pride in this victory that January 8 was a national holiday for decades.

The Docville Oaks

Several small docks line the narrow bayou.

Crab traps fill the small space between road and water.

This tiny island is all about fishing and crabbing.

Some are less ready to go than others.

Taking pride in where you are.

The land strip is so narrow that the road is used for parking, and you just drive around as the opportunity presents itself.
There's a lot of water, but this is the spot where everyone's fishing from the shore - must be good catching!

Post-Katrina Surge Barriers are found throughout this area. The gates remind me of Jurassic Park! There is also one at the state park where we're staying.
At the end of the day we meet up with Bob and his wife for some real Cajun seafood. I love Cookie's Cajun accent, it's so unique! 

Fun times with good friends.
The worst road in the country (our opinion shared by thousands of RVers!) is I-10 west of New Orleans. Last time the shaking took out the motor on our steps so I wasn't anxious to repeat the route. Instead, we take the Wright way - Hwy 90 gets us around the worst. There's still 10 miles of nasty expansion joints, but overall it's a much better drive!

That drive takes us to Poche's Fish 'n Camp in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. We love this cute little park. Nearly empty until Thanksgiving, it fills up for the holiday. Still, it's quiet and dark and the little lakes are lovely.

The turtles and egrets keep us entertained.

Watching the clouds move across the water.

Our pretty site.
Our first time in Louisiana we discovered we love Boudin (boo-dan) balls, so as soon as we get set up we head out for our fix. Along with red beans and rice of course!

After Sunday football and laundry, Monday we explore the cute little historic downtown of Breaux Bridge. Joie de Vivre is known for it's Saturday jam sessions which we've missed again :-), but our lunch is tasty and the staff are delightful.

Soft simplicity of small towns.

St Bernard Catholic Church

Just a peek...

Gator Claus
Originally Broussards Hardware, built in the 1920's.

Excellent grilled shrimp salad.

The original tin ceiling and wood floors provide vintage charm to a lovely eatery. 
Tuesday's sunny skies get us back outside to visit the swamps. We enjoy the uniqueness of this liquid environment.

Atchafalya National Wildlife Refuge

Cypress trees reflect in the still water.

Unusual to find ferns and palmettos together.

No others all day - perfect!

Checking out long hanging vines from the tall canopy.

Still alive with green leaves above.

Looks like it's ready to walk away!

A glimpse of Autumn.

Back home we enjoy a pastel sunset.
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site is Louisiana's first state park and includes Maison Olivier, a reproduction Acadian farm, and beautiful old growth oaks. The 12 minute film explains the significance of Longfellow's poem Evangeline which made the world aware of the 1755 expulsion of Acadians from Nova Scotia, and the history of this property. As the film ends, the screen rises and reveals the beautiful grounds behind - it's a very powerful visual!

The restored Maison Olivier, an 1815 Cajun-Creole cottage.

Human-powered ceiling fan. A slave sat in the chair by the door and pulled the rope while the family ate their meals.

I learned from a ranger who took me to his office to show me the sample (an actual rock), that the bright yellow paint was supposed to be the color of the ocher river stones found nearby. That was the original color of the cottage. Instead they got this - and no one is happy about it!

The game room.

I love these tiles, but don't know the game they're used in.

Acadians must have been shorter :-)

Having the place to ourselves gives Tessa room to play. Happy dog.

Made of mud and grass in a wood frame, these chimneys were designed as separate structures. In the case of a chimney fire, a rope was thrown over the top and the whole thing pulled away from the house. Brilliant engineering :-) 
A perfect place to spend the day outside.
We have reservations for a Thanksgiving buffet which unfortunately is mediocre. Back home we enjoy football and wish we had leftover turkey sandwiches!

The rain is back on Friday but we don't want to spend our last day in Louisiana inside. Abbeville is a cute little town at the end of a nice drive. Founded by a French priest in July, 1843, the name literally means "priest's town". Acadians settled here and the area was sustained with farming and cattle. Steens Syrup Mill opened in 1910, and became a major employer that increased the population. The mill is still in operation today.

The original drug store.

Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church

Main Street getting ready for the holidays.

A clean and colorful downtown.

Santa and her reindeer agree to a quick pic - so cute!

Remembering hometown heroes.

Now the town's symbol.

A few original homes remain.

I love sugar cane fields. 12-16 months from planting to harvest!

It waves so pretty in the wind.
We only have one really important thing to do before we leave Louisiana. Important. Must do.

Boiled crawfish!! A lot of messy work, both tasty and fun. Definitely best with some cold brews.
Louisiana is a beautiful place with friendly people and really, really good food. It also has the absolutely worst roads in the country. Even their road construction is the most unorganized and dirty of anywhere we've been. AND - none of their Jeep drivers do the required "wave". That's just not right!

We'll definitely be back, but for now we continue west into Texas for a few weeks.