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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ramblin’ Around Acadiana

Thursday February 13, 2014 Lafayette, La 7:25 PM CST

Hooray—sun! 56 degrees!  Time to check out Dynell’s map of Lafayette. Her directions were right on—of course, she grew up here and used to take the bus with her friends from their homes on Pinhook to Jefferson Blvd which is Lafayette’s main drag. I cannot believe how many times we’ve been here and have never known where downtown Lafayette was located. We saw Guidry’s Hardware, where, she assured us, we’d find things we haven’t seen in years. Not wanting any hardware we continued to Keller’s Bakery—where, Dynell said, we’d find all kinds of goodies. Spice cookies, oatmeal cookies, praline brownies!, whoopie pies with coconut cream, glazed donuts—that’s what we chose but oh, there was so much more, even though we were rather late for a bakery and much had been sold already. Would love a King cake but Bill wouldn’t like it and it is too big for just me. We drove all the way through town and then came back to Johnson—which is what Dynell said and wrote on the map, but which is actually Johnston. We passed up on Borden’s since it wasn’t really hot and we’ll save it for the next time we come when it may be ice cream weather. Apparently, it is  just like an old ice cream parlor with black and white tile floor and red seated wire chairs. For today, however, our goal was oyster lunch.

So we drove past LSU-Lafayette, and the Ragin’ Cajun dome to Lagnieux Seafood House. Heath was our waiter and was as cute as he looks—buzzing about and neat come-backs to make you laugh. Bill had a po’boy and I had the oyster plate—we both drank two huge glasses of sweet tea—such good stuff. Went next door to the meat market and purchased some more seasonings including file gumbo. Then back past LSU and out into the country.

Just outside St Martinville we noticed the Longfellow-Evangeline State Park—the oldest in La—established in 1934. The first family to own the property started out raising plants for indigo but eventually turned to cane and reached the most prosperous point in its history. During the Civil War, the Yankee army burnt the cane mill and the family was never able to recover financially. Finally, by the ‘30’s the building that was used as the business office for the cane operation and then converted into a home, was about the fall into disrepair. The State acquired it and established the park. Eventually, the Feds designated it a National Historical Site and so it is totally protected. Since none of the furniture was family pieces, since 8 families lived there after the original family. I didn’t take any inside pictures. I did, however, love seeing trees that are over 350 years old—witnesses to all that happened here and all who lived on this land. There was one piece of unusual furniture that I thought would still be a nice piece to have. It is a rocking chair with wings and closed seat area—it is a lady’s chair and was meant to be placed facing the fire. The sides would then keep the heat from the fire around the lady. When she finished her sewing or knitting or tatting etc there is a little drawer in which to stow her needles etc. So practical!

Out through the village to Brossard and back to Evangeline and our motel for a few hours. Around 5:30 we headed over to Poor Boy’s Riverside Restaurant to which I’ve been going since Linda and I came to New Orleans in 2004 or so. I’m amazed how Mardi Gras had now become a season rather than a day—it extends from the New Year to Ash Wednesday. I imagine the culmination of the season is impressive in some places but many have already had their parade—or will have several parades. Kind of takes away from the uniqueness in my opinion.

Another serving of fried oysters with a glass of Riesling and a wonderful sweet potato, finishing with a delicious cup of coffee. And then, back home under an almost full moon. Tomorrow we are going to ride the coast across the Sabine into Texas. So, from two people who will soon morph into oysters—good night and good luck. KandB

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