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Lafayette, LA

2019-04-10 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Carencro and Lafayette, LA

Today was our last day of caravan activities… All we did was eat…

We began with breakfast in the meeting room, served by fellow caravaners.  Our local Airstream club always serves hearty breakfasts, which I always enjoy.  Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, casseroles, corned beef hash, yogurt, cereals, etc.  This was not one of those breakfasts…

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There were tiny silver dollar size blueberry pancakes.  Nice start.  Next we had what were reported to be beignets, but they were nothing like the beignets we’re familiar with.  As usual, they were covered with powdered sugar… But these were not puffy little balls – they were more like flat pancakes.  Maybe a regional thing…

Then… crawfish ettouffe, served over grits (a semi-edible combination of cornmeal and fiberglass…).  And ice cream on top.  I’m sorry.  Maybe the others enjoy food like this, but it is not part of my culture…

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But it’s always fun hanging out with the group for a meal, even if we didn’t eat much…

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After breakfast we walked around the park again…

Adjacent to the campground there is a house with a motorhome in a lovely carport…

I’m sure the motorhome cost way more than the house…

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We prepared the Villa for travel.  Cleaned up, hitched up, slide-in, tanks emptied and filled.  Tonight is the final banquet, a long-standing tradition of these caravans.  Of course, in the not too distance past these were formal affairs, with dinner jackets and long formal dresses.  Thankfully, this is a thing of the past…

We gathered at an old Lafayette institution – Don’s Seafood and Steak house… We started with happy hour…

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Then dinner and pronouncements…

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We were joined for the evening by a fellow Airstreamer, and a local Cajun himself.  Beaudreau is a common term for any Cajun, but this just happens to be his name. (Sorry – no picture)  He was the originator of this caravan and he lead it for many years.  He also told a few jokes about people named Beaudreau and Thibodeau… Ask me later if I remember them…

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We were entertained by our own caravaners who had brought their instruments along…

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We bid our farewells to our new friends, some of which we will see again in two weeks in Kentucky…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-09 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Carencro and Lafayette, LA

We began our day again with a nice walk around the perimeter of the campground… Yesterday I posted this field of colored weeds.  Today the horses were out standing in their field…

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The swamp is looking as swampy as ever…

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Today we have our last official caravan outing.  We carpooled out to central Lafayette to the Vermilionville Historic Center.

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This is the Vermilion River or Bayou.  The river has a reddish hue.  The town was originally named Vermilionville after the river; in the early 19th century the Catholic Church created a new parish in this area called Lafayette, so they renamed the town… This location is not the original city center – the Cathedral we saw  yesterday was at the original city center.  This land was originally one of the many plantations surrounding the city, and the buildings we saw were either moved here or they are re-creations of typical buildings of the era.  This place is very much like the Rural Life Museum that we saw in the first days of the caravan, so I will try not to repeat information here…

We spent about two hours walking the various buildings.  Again, the guide was really not interesting to me, mostly talking about the families, weaving, crocheting, and nonsense like that.  I wanted to know more about the architecture and construction techniques I was seeing, but she was clueless…

But the buildings are interesting in their own unique way…

This is a large Acadian plantation or ranch home from the early 1800s .  It was very substantial, obviously owned by a prosperous land owner.

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It did have an interior staircase…

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I immediately noticed the shutters.  Some are hinged like doors, and some are hinged at the top.  I asked if this was just a personal preference or was there a functional reason to use one or the other?  The guide was clueless – I don’t think she understood the question, maybe she never noticed that they were different, or maybe she didn’t know what shutters were… All the houses had different configurations:

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As we walked amongst the houses several opinions and ideas were expressed, but as soon as we thought we had a good theory going the next house proved us wrong… I guess that just did whatever they wanted…

This next house is an urban house, built in central Lafayette in the 1880s, post-Civil War.  What was neat about this was that the original house is in tact, but they were also showing the additions, made in the 1920s, of a indoor kitchen and bathroom…

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Another interior stair…

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1920s bathroom:

(I have the same bathtub in my 1905 house…)

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The kitchen:

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We strolled near the swamp.  Wait!  Is that a… an alligator!

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He seemed harmless enough.  Alligators are not naturally aggressive – he slinked away into the lake as we walked nearer.  (Crocodiles ARE very aggressive…!)

This is the church and the pastor’s house…

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This next house has an interesting floor plan, and it helps to explain some other features of these various houses we have seen on the caravan…

Note the layout here in this exhibit:

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The center front room is the “great Room” for living, dining, and entertaining.  To the right is a bedroom for the younger children; to the left is the room for the parents and infants.  Behind the parents’ bedroom is a bedroom with no door except into the parents’ room; this was for the older daughters.  Behind the children’s room is a bedroom with no door except a door directly onto the rear porch.  This was for the older boys.  All older boys had jobs, either on the plantation or ranch, or as an apprentice at a local tradesman’s place.  The boys slept here, but they often had their own schedules that might have been different than the family’s; also, they may have taken meals away from home.  Thus they needed their own entrance so that their comings and goings did not disturb the family…

Door to the older girls’ bedroom directly from the parents’ bedroom…

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Door to the older boys’ bedroom directly on the rear porch…

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This concept also explains why these exterior stairs that we have been seeing also made sense – the older boys slept upstairs, but they had their own entrance…

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One mystery solved, another mystery still unsolved…

At the Rural Life Museum I had asked about these weird ridge shingles.  I asked here again, to no avail… Some houses have them, some don’t; they face all directions, so prevailing winds wouldn’t determine anything.  There was no consistency between Cajun, Creole, French, or Spanish influences…  I guess we’ll never know…

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This is the school house from the 1920s.  Note the Spanish Moss in the trees:

Also note:  It is not Spanish, nor is it Moss.  It is an air plant an (epiphyte), which takes its nutrition from the air.  It is not a parasite, and it does not harm the tree… Its proper name is tillandsia usneoides.  It is a bromeliad—a perennial herb in the pineapple family, and most bromeliads, including Spanish moss, are epiphytes.  So there you have it…

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In 1916 Louisiana banned the speaking of French in the public schools.  Here we see on the blackboard that some student had to “write lines”.  They read, “I will not speak French”.

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Not that I’m dating myself, but the two-room schoolhouse I attended in my early years had desks exactly like this…

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Some other utilitarian buildings:  The boat house:

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The trapper’s cabin:

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After over two hours of wandering amongst these great old buildings we enjoyed lunch in the museum’s cafe – Red Beans and Rice, Chicken Gumbo, and Shrimp Po-Boys.  Very good!

We returned to the truck, and Lynda found several Egrets nearby…

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We turned to the Villa.

That evening Lynda joined into the fun of Left-Right-Center…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-08 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Carencro and Lafayette, LA

Our fast-paced schedule of activities is slowing.  As we near the end of the caravan people are using their spare time to prepare for trips home or to other destinations.  Today we didn’t leave the campground until 11:30 am!

We had a chance to walk the neighborhood around the campground…

Lovely colored weeds in this field:

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More swamp – a continuation of the swamp we saw here yesterday…

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At the appointed hour, we traveled into the heart of Lafayette today, to Johnson’s Boucaniere.

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While I don’t know how to pronounce “boucaniere”, it is a smoke-house.  They sell smoked meats and sausages, including Boudin, a Louisiana specialty.  They were closed.

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But they were prepared to serve us lunch.  We had our choice of Po-Boy sandwiches: pork, brisket, or chicken.  Also included was cole slaw and bread pudding for dessert… We sat on their spacious deck, covered, of course, in case of rain.

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The old building has been nicely remodeled, with the new deck and metal siding.  Interestingly, next door is an architect’s home and office that uses many of the same materials and details…

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Lunch was quite good.  But not what I had been lead to believe a Po-Boy was.  These were just meat sandwiches.  No seafood, no lettuce/mayo/tomato.  Very good meat, for sure, but nothing special otherwise…

Before our scheduled tour of the adjacent Cathedral, we took a walk through the old neighborhood… This old house stood out as being quite remarkable…

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Other scenes in the neighborhood…

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We arrived at the Cathedral – St. John the Evangelist…

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Of course, it has its own cemetery, dating back to the early 19th century…

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While the exterior is a bit bizarre, with no discernible architectural style, the interiors were quite nice…

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The tour guide told about the history of the church.  This is the third church on this site, built in 1916, and it was extensively remodeled in the mid 1980s.  The organ was added in the 1980s remodel.  The organist was there to explain the many functions of the organ and he played a bit for our enjoyment.

Outside the church is the Cathedral Oak…

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The Cathedral Oak is almost 500 years old, and it is one of the largest is the US; the trunk is over 9′ in diameter, with a circumference of almost 29′.

And then it started to rain.  We were soaked while running back to the car.  We returned to the Villa, walked a bit after the rain stopped, and Happy Hours ensued.

Some of the Airstreamers gathered in the meeting room for a game of Left-Right-Center… Never heard of it?  Neither had I…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-07 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Carencro, LA

This is the last travel day for the Caravan – our next stop is the final one – only 4 nights left…

We walked the park again a few times, then hitched up and left Eunice about 11:30 am…  Of course, we soon were delayed by a train… And I love trains!

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It was 50 miles to Carenco, on the outskirts of Lafayette.  We stopped for a quick lunch at GoBears!

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Unfortunately, their tiny lunch room was closed – no idea why… So we walked next door to McDonalds.  They have all automated touch screens for ordering.  During the lunch rush there was one cashier, wandering around with nothing to do… Progress???

We arrived at the Bayou Wilderness RV Resort.  Nice place with full hook-ups, including cable, plus clear skies for satellite TV.  The sites are a little rustic, though…

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We hooked up, set up, checked out the store and other amenities, and walked around a bit.  There is an actual swamp out back… lots of Bald Cypress trees growing out of the water.  Those funny little pointy stumps are roots growing up out of the ground.  They are called, “Knees”.

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At about 4:00 pm it started to rain, with thunder and lightning, of course.  It was still pouring down when it was time to meet the other Airstreamers in the meeting room here in the RV park for pizza and ice cream…

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By the time we were ready to walk back to the villa after dinner it was still raining, but not nearly so hard.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

The McAnoy baseball team…

Ian, almost 5:

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Roisin, age 6:

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2019-04-05 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Eunice, LA

Easy travel day again.  At least at the start.

We drove over 50 miles today to camp at the Lakeview Park and Beach, just north of Eunice, LA.  It is a beautiful place, and, since it is Friday, the park is quickly filling up with weekenders from the local area.  There is a nice fishing lake, plus a swimming lake and beach, but it won’t open until next week…

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Along the route we passed by typical Louisiana roadside scenes:

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Upon arriving, I noticed that my iPhone was not charging – the cable would not plug in.  After several panicked minutes wondering where in rural SW Louisiana I could find an Apple store, then several more panicked minutes realizing that what I really need is an A&TT store, then remembering that I have insurance on this phone (because I do not believe in those ugly phone cases…), then a few more phone calls and we were back in the truck and off for a one hour drive to Lafayette to an Apple authorized repair shop.  If this proved to be unsucessful, I could get a replacement shipped to me – all I need to figure out is – Where will I be when the new phone arrives?

Lafayette was busy, but we found the store easily.  Five minutes and nine dollars later my phone was fully functional!  All it took was a tiny set of tweezers and knowing what to look for…

So, since we were already parked in a giant Target parking lot, we did a little grocery shopping, and headed back to Eunice.

Along the way we did see one of the better ideas to come out of Lafayette:

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Yes, the drive-thru Daiquiri stand.  Due to recent laws banning open containers of alcohol in cars they now put a lid on the plastic daiquiri cup, and a straw to poke through the little hole in the lid…

So we returned to the campground.  We had missed both the final GAM and a drivers’ meeting.  We took an evening stroll around the lake…

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After our traumatic day we retreated to the Villa and enjoyed an adult beverage or two…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And the all-dressed-up McAnoy family:

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