Archive for March, 2020

Rip Van Winkle is a story written by Washington Irving in 1819, about a farmer who falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains of New York for 20 years, and he misses the whole American Revolution. Rip Van Winkle was played by actor Joseph Jefferson, over 4,500 hundred times, all over the world on stage. He purchased Orange Island, La in 1870 to make a hunting lodge, and to have a winter retreat. Eventually the Island was named Jefferson Island. It now has a rookery and the former home and gardens of Joseph Jefferson for tour. I enjoyed my visit tremendously! The Live Oaks and Spanish moss are worth the trip. It is beautiful! Here are a few photos from my visit including RIP’s rookery. For more information visit https://www.ripvanwinklegardens.com/


Lake Fausse Pointe State Park in St. Martinville, Louisiana is buried deep in the Atchafalaya basin. This is the place and home area to many of the swamp people you see on the T.V. show series Swamp People. It is a mystical area where wildlife abounds. As one local Cajun stated, “One doesn’t need a grocery store in these areas. We’ll survive. We have nutria, alligator, turtle, frogs, snakes, deer, hog, possum, coon (short for raccoon), honey, crawfish….and he went on. We have sugar cane, we have rice, we have all we need.” I believe this to, because the closet civilization is close to 25 miles away. Out here the night is so dark you cannot see your hands in front of you. You here sounds and movement but you cannot see. It creates much curiosity, but most of all the relaxation away from the big city is incredible. Here are a few photos from my trip. Two are outside of the park, but in the area. The bee boxes for honey and the Sugar Cane farm. For more information visit https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/lake-fausse-pointe-state-park/index

Here are some random photos from my recent road trip through Louisiana. Years ago, I flew to many places, but soon learned I missed much by being stuck in a plane. Planes are necessary for certain things, but again, for me, nothing beats traveling by auto to see things I might not see otherwise. I also get a better feel for the culture and the people in the communities I visit. As you can see from the art a giant Crawfish, giant bass in Toledo Bend country, a homemade John-Deere Ice Cream machine, historical sites, beautiful Redbud trees, Pecan orchards, wide-open roads, and food you will find no place else, Louisiana is as unique as it is wonderful.

This quote by Anthony Bourdain from Parts Unknown, Season 11, Episode 7, sums up my experience, “One of the more awesome locations I’ve ever found,” Bourdain said about the grocery store. “The kind of breakfast spot I just love deeply.” For myself, I ate lunch there. I knew when I saw the Cajun pepper shaker filled with Cayenne Pepper, I was at the REAL DEAL. I could eat at Suire’s anytime, or day of the week. I had some of the best Turtle Sauce Piquant I have ever tasted in Cajun Country. I just loved how they separated my catfish, bread, and Chocolate cake with a piece of foil in my lunch box, so it would not blend with my Turtle Sauce Piquant and potato salad. You may say that is basic, but a lot of folks have no common sense, and they would mix it in many places. The owners are sister’s Joan Suire and Lisa Frederick. Two of the nicest ladies I have met. We shared conversation about Louisiana and how the long standing restaurant came into their hands. Joan told me, “I flunked out of college at 19, and my parents bought this restaurant for me, and I have been here ever since. I don’t know how to cook, but I can run a store.” Joan and her sister Lisa work together as a team to create a great Cajun atmosphere and delicious, authentic, Cajun food. Before I left, I loaded up some sweet goodies. My Blackberry Tart was exceptional in every way. I cannot wait for my next trip to Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant in Kaplan, La. Joan’s mother told her, “There will be one day when people will be just looking for us.” I was one. And that slogan,”If you want country cooking, come to the country!” So true! Thank you ladies! I’ll see you again.

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My recent trip to the Cane River Historic Site was a great experience. I was able to learn many things. One of most amazing for me was the insulation methods using Bousillage. This is horse hair, Spanish Moss, and Clay mixed together to insulate and build homes. I learned that pigeons(squab) were raised for food, and if you had pigeons to eat you were wealthy. How about that? Amazing stuff! The plantation has the owners home, young family members home, overseers home, slave cabins, the store, pigeoneers house, corn crib, fattening pins, wash house, carriage house, the cook’s cabin, and well it is very complete piece of living history. I learned that some slaves enjoyed their owners and became sharecroppers after slaves were freed, while others had horrible masters. I learned that African-Americans also had plantations and even owned their own slaves. Did you know slaves were sold on the open market in Africa by fellow Africans to willing buyers? A few things I was never taught in history class. It seems I was always taught “THE ROOTS” version of history, but I don’t blame my teachers. They could only teach what they were taught, and maybe only teach what they were told to teach, but I am glad I can learn on my own. Here are a few photos from my recent trip. I hope you visit this piece of history. For more information visit https://www.nps.gov/crha/index.htm

Starting off let me say this….I love meat pies! I have heard about Lasyone’s legendary pies, service, and let me state for the record, they did not disappoint, or let me down. My Crawfish pie came out crisp and tasty. The pie seemed to have eight ounces of Crawfish tail meat in it. It was packed with Crawfish tails. The surprise was the side of jambalaya. It was so delicious! They also have excellent Po-Boys. The service was exceptional. Everywhere manners were evident. I have nothing bad to say. I’ll definitely make Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant a go to stop when in Natchitoches. Here are few photos. Do have a meat pie in Natchitoches at Lasyone’s!

Kaffie-Frederick General Store, founded in 1863, is Louisiana’s oldest general store, located in Natchitoches, La. The store still has the original working elevator and cash register from 1910. Yes, you need to know how to count change. That seems to be a lost art. A trip into the store takes you back to a time when things were a litter slower and less complicated. I saw so many toys from the past. My children were amazed at the top. They had never seen one. Once I made it spin they laughed and enjoyed watching it spin. My favorite thing was buying a Coca-Cola in the bottle paying based on the honor system. For those of you who do not know, it means the store trusts you to be honest, and pay for what you take without cameras. A rarity in modern times. I include a photo of sheriff and police badges. When I was a child it was an honor to have one to wear and pretend to round up criminals with our cap guns. Today, we deal with police haters. Times have changed. Not for the better in my opinion. Here are a few photos from our visit. I hope they inspire you to travel to Natchitoches. Enjoy!

I have always wanted to visit the Historic town of Natchitoches, Louisiana, the capital of Spanish Texas (1729-1770), and part of the El Camino Real trail. Recently, I checked it off my bucket list. It is best known as the city of the filming of the 1989 hit movie Steel Magnolias. However, I must admit there is so much more, and I didn’t have enough time to spend there. The city is clean. The hospitality is exceptional. The food….is…..a….BIG….Yum! I just love it there! Here are a few photos I took around the city to share. Enjoy!