Our home this past week was on the “westbank” at Bayou Segnette State Park. It was conveniently located just a few miles away from New Orleans, yet mostly insulated from its craziness.
We took Tuesday afternoon to go exploring, which started with a ride on the Algiers Ferry to cross the Mississippi river.
We had planned on renting some bikes to cover more ground, but once we got downtown the idea of riding bikes in a crowded setting like New Orleans was a bit overwhelming to the girls.
Still, we got to see some of the sights, mostly of the French Quarter:
We ended our afternoon with a treat of beignets (pronounced ben-YAYS) and café au lait. Yum:
On the ferry, heading back to the car on the westbank of the Mississippi:
Amy and the girls took a side trip on Wednesday to Jean Lafitte Nature Preserve. There they learned what those things sticking out of the swampy water are (they’re the “knees” of the Cyprus trees…parts of an elaborate root system that help it breathe and withstand the hurricanes.)
There are fresh and broiled seafood shops everywhere (even McDonalds and Wendy’s push their “seafood” entrees down here.)
Remnants of Mardi Gras:
The campground provided free use of washers and dryers, so laundry was a major theme of the week:
Keeping with our custom of partying hard on Friday nights in rowdy cities, we took a final spin through New Orleans at the end of the work/school week. Our first stop – and arguably most important one – was at Southern Candymakers to get a box of pralines (pronounced PRAH-leens).
There have been a couple times on this RV trip where I’ve eaten something so delicious, it moves me, changes me. Tasting these pralines was like seeing a beautiful new color for the first time. Once you have one, the $22.95/lb price tag becomes irrelevant.
The infamous Bourbon Street:
We wanted some local flavor for dinner, but the “Po’boys” sandwich place that we hunted down turned out to be at the back of a bar (read: no kids). So we got our sandwiches to go and walked to the nearest park bench to eat.
We walked around a little more after that…
…and ended the evening with more beignets and café au laits. Yum again.
I loved the waiting area for the ferry. It had that warm, friendly, incarcerated feel to it:
A final view of New Orleans from the ferry:
One of the most unsettling things about New Orleans is how it’s bracing itself for the worst (though I can hardly blame them). This levee outside of our campground was a continual reminder that this place is perhaps just one hurricane away from being wiped off the map.
Hope you’re on the right side of the wall when this bad boy closes:
Last night we landed in Eunice, Louisiana. We obviously didn’t camp there for the scenery, but rather to be near some local Cajun happenings (thanks for the tip, Tawn).
First we stopped by the Acadian Culture Center in downtown Eunice and caught the last few minutes of a Cajun music showcase: [Listen]
Then we heard a guy give a cooking presentation on “cracklins” (we tried some samples; they’re sort of like chewy chunks of bacon.)
The main event was seeing a local live radio show — the Rendezvous des Cajuns — at the Liberty Theater on Saturday night. The dialog was hard to follow, as it toggled randomly between English and French, but the live Cajun and Creole music was fantastic.
(Note the 12-year-old kid on accordion in the photo above as well as this sound clip. He was amazing; the Justin Bieber of Cajun, one might say.)
Today we made it back to Texas:
We stopped at Big Thicket National Preserve to get in our Sunday morning walk. It wasn’t anything breathtaking, but it felt good to be outside. We saw some more cool Cyprus knees…
…and some pitcher plants. I’m not a big plant person, but a plant that eats insects is just plain cool. There are only five types of carnivorous plants that grow in the US, and four of them can be found at Big Thicket (the Venus flytrap is the lone decenter).
We’ve settled in for the week in Willis, TX at a campground we were at about this time last year. It’s hard to believe we’ve been on the road long enough to be a repeat customer anywhere.