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Monday, February 10, 2014

Grandmother’s Buttons, the Atchafalaya and Lafayette, La !


Monday, February 10,2013 Clarion Inn Room 207 Lafayette, La 9:35 PM

Well, after yesterday’s warm up the first order of business this morning, after breakfast and a big cup of coffee, was to trade out my sweaters in the carry-in bag for some short sleeved and lighter weight tops from the big suitcase. I even dug out my sandals, though I’m not quite ready for them yet. As a matter of fact, it’s a little chilly this evening and so we’ve had to turn on the heat but we did have the patio door open this afternoon, It was 61 and humid when we left Covington at around 9:30 am.

Once we were loaded up we headed out I 12 to I 55 and then to La Rte 10 west which we’ve traveled so often I think we could drive it blind-folded. The reason for this well worn trail is St Francisville, the home of Grandmother’s Buttons, one of the jewelry stores I frequent on each trip. Today the purchases were simple—a chain for my Grandfather’s fob charm, a button pendant and a pair of dragon fly earrings without any buttons. I’ve quite a collection of this jewelry made with antique buttons and I just love it because it is unique, simple and reasonably priced. We did take a little detour before arriving at the old Bank, across a road we have not used before between Franklin and St Francisville. I’ve always wanted to see Oakley and since it was early in the day, we thought we’d stop. How could we forget?  Everything is closed on Sunday and Monday in Louisiana. One transplanted Yankee once told us that is why the South lost the Civil War! Oh, well, it was raining pretty hard anyway so maybe it will be better on another less damp day.

After our purchases we moseyed down 61 to the road to the John James Audubon Bridge, which replaced the wonderful ferry we loved using into and out of StF. It was right at the bottom of the hill on which the store stands but for commuters to New Roads etc it was too small and too slow. About three or maybe four years ago we arrived to find the ferry gone and this bridge in its place. It is rather beautiful and HIGH! Once in New Roads we explored back roads new to us in order to connect with I 10 into Lafayette. On the backstreet of New Roads we came across one of the sparkling white cemeteries for which New Orleans is famous, though on a smaller scale. As we continued into the country side we came upon several very small churches—I’d call them chapels they are so small—around which were the strange above ground graves that the high water table here requires. We were also surrounded by acres as far as the eye could see of cane fields. I always forget that while La had and has cotton fields just like the plantations of Ms, Ga, Al, etc, it has far more cane than cotton and most of the antebellum plantations grew cane, primarily.

Once we reached the Interstate we were elevated above the swamp and marsh lands that make up the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. It crosses bayous and lakes and just before Breaux Bridge it passes over Lake Bigeaux. I remember the first time I saw this area was at sunset and the light was glorious. The sky was stripes of purple and pinks and oranges and reds and was reflected in the water while the plants were black silhouettes standing out dramatically from the spectacular background. That was the year my friend Linda and I flew down for Quarter Fest and rented a car for a week before spending another week in NOLA for the festival. A good time.

From Breaux Bridge it’s just a skip and a hop into Lafayette and our hotel. After checking in I watched my last Netflix DVD which has to be back to WRJ by Thursday! Hope it makes it in two days. Captain Phillips—two hours long—couldn’t believe the story needed that much time but it moved right along. I think there was a bit of fictional license taken but still the actual event stripped to the bare bones of what happened was pretty gruesome and frightening. Hanks was terrific as were the men who played the Somali pirates. I thought I was fine until Phillips is brought into sick bay on the Bainbridge and then I cried as much as he did—I’d gotten frightened, tense and stressed without realizing it and his rescue was such a relief it just knocked the wind out of me. Pretty impressive story telling and acting.

Bill went over across the way to the new CT Grill and Seafood which has only been open a few days. Had the strangest combination of a meal—five pieces of fried chicken—I could only eat two wings and a leg—they were so meaty—and shrimp fried rice! It cost $3.75 and there was enough of both for the two of us. However, Bill got a regular meal of Shrimp fried rice for $4.70 ! And he has leftovers, too. On top of that, the food was delicious—the best of both that I’ve had in a long time.

Watched Almost Human and then streamed last night’s Downton Abbey since the PBS channel in Metairie did not carry it last night!!!!!! Idiots! Now, since Bill has been asleep for almost two hours I think I’ll read a bit before turning in myself. We’ve booked the room for two nights and may even stay three—depending on the weather. Rain is predicted until Thurs but today’s USA Today seems to indicate it will be dry on Wed. We’re sort of toying with a revisit to the Bayou on Captain Someone or Other’s pirogue. But if it is wet, that is no fun plus the alligators won’t be out if it is damp and cold. They start coming out of hibernation about this time if it is warming up—they are quite sedentary and are wonderful to see stretched out and lolling about in the sunshine getting the old circulation going once more.

But whatever we do will be the next story. For now, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Until tomorrow—good night KandB

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