Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

From Lake Charles to Houma, Louisiana And Bon Creole

Another wonderful day to travel Southern Louisiana and the lowlands. We stop at one of our favorite places, Saint Martin’s Lake.

00StMartinsLake

Near the factory burning cane, I see an old abandoned house. There are a lot of old abandoned houses on the backroads of Louisiana; rich pickings for series like HBO’s True Detectives.

00LAHouse

The air was so clear you could see every atom of smoke as this factory burned off chaff grinding cane into cane sugar syrup:

00BurningCane

Just in time for lunch, we hit New Iberia, where my friend Dave Robicheaux hangs out. Last time we were here, we went to a wonderful Place, Bon Creole, but we remembered it was hard to find. Even with my smart phone, we drive right past it, and have to go around the block and look again. This is not a place that makes itself KNOWN; you have to know where it is, and you have to really want to find it, LOL!

00BonCreoleSign

The interior is a hunter’s dream.

00BonCreoleInterior

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At the table near us, a group of local women are sitting and one is holding court, saying “You never know about so-and-so; she is so SECRETIVE!” and I am thinking that she would call me secretive, too, that I would be very careful about telling anything about myself that she could be spreading to all her friends – and everyone else in the Bon Creole who cared to listen.

Thank God, our food is ready, and I start with my gumbo, thick with shimp. Oops, I forgot, the gumbo comes with potato salad.

00BonCreoleGumboAndPotatoSalad

And more grilled shrimp – this time on my green salad. So many shrimp I couldn’t eat them all!
00BonCreoleGrilledShrimpSalad

Poor AdventureMan! “Why didn’t I just order a 6″ Overstuffed Oyster Po’Boy???” These oysters were the old fashioned kind, fresh, dipped in corn meal and deep fried, just the way he likes them, but no, no, he couldn’t eat them all. I had one, and there were still many left, so many fabulous oysters!

0012InchOysterPoBoy

As we were leaving, we stopped two residents who were leaving and asked them if we could get to Highway 90 by continuing down the road we were on, and they offered to let us follow them to Franklin. Franklin is like 25 miles down the road, imagine. They were willing to be so gracious to perfect strangers. We gratefully declined, and used their instructions and our smart phone to get us over to 90, en route to Morgan City and Houma.

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 5.24.05 PM

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Beauty, Cooking, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cajun Country Swamp Tours

The Cajun Country Swamp Tour out of Breaux Bridge, LA, was such a highlight of our trip that we did it twice, once at sunset, and then again in full daylight the next day. The first night, we were with Butch, the owner, and the next day with Shaun, his son. Both were great trips.

Now here is the thing – there is more than one swamp tour company, and you have to be sure to get the right one (this one is the right one.) It’s not like Florida, where you look for the sign. When you get to Lake Martin, where this tour takes place, there is no kiosk, nothing except a tour boat coming in, but even this boat doesn’t have a sign on it. You have to know who you are looking for.

These people were so helpful in getting us booked. We really wanted to be with an eco-tour kind of exploration; some of the swamp tours are purely awful, and exploitive, hard on the animals, disruptive of the environment. We read the reviews; Cajun Country Swamp Tours is the group we wanted to be with. Our sunset cruise was delightful, just us, Butch, who is a wealth of information, and a family of five, the youngest of whom fell asleep almost as soon as the boat left the tie-up. The second day we took a private tour, and they gave us a good price. We like being able to watch the birds, watch the light change, wait for the right shot – it’s worth it to us.

Lake Martin is beautiful, in a lowlands kind of way (it looks a lot like parts of Pensacola.) Taking photos was fun, and also a challenge. Here is the challenge; sometimes the camera doesn’t really understand what it is supposed to focus on, so you think you are shooting a heron, and the camera is busy focusing on the tree two feet behind the heron. Sometimes you want to capture this exact light, but the camera sees ‘this exact light’ a little differently than you do.

This is what the tour boat looks like – very shallow, so it can get into very shallow places, and so it can drift over logs in the swampy areas:

Focus examples:

Now, just settle back in your seat and enjoy the swamp and bayous with us on St. Martin’s Lake:

This is a special bird, the Black Crowned Night Heron, only rarely at St. Martin’s Lake:

Lots of gators, soaking up sun before their long winter’s hibernation:

You might think this is a stump, but you would be wrong. This is Shaun’s duck hide; he built it himself:

This little anhinga lost one wing, probably to an alligator, but has figured out how to climb this tree and then plunge down when he sees a fish. He can’t really fly anymore, but he is managing:

Thousands of birds perched in these trees, the ‘rookery:’

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, ExPat Life, Photos, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments