Blue People, Red State - Winter 2010 travel blog


My father, a second generation German/Austrian American graduated from high school in the depths of the Great Depression. It was hard for anyone to find a job in those days and his stress was heightened, because he ended up being the sole support of his family. He hated bureaucracy and organizations and was glad that his position in the family prevented him from being drafted for quite a while. Although obviously no one can condone what Hitler and the Nazis did, I'm not so sure his feelings about fighting the Germans were as clear cut as they would be today. But eventually he was drafted despite the exemption and he was sent for training by the Army to Utah and Lake Charles, LA. He complained about dust seeping in everywhere while he was in Utah, but he REALLY complained about Lake Charles, Louisiana. He called it lousy-ana. You would have thought that it was hell on earth the way he carried on for forty years after his stay there. For a man who hated heat and humidity, it probably was. The name of this town always stuck in my mind and when I saw that our route took us right by, we researched the town looking for a reason to stop. The campground reviews on the web were uniformly negative and scathing and except for a casino, there seemed to be nothing much to do there. So we passed right by, with my father’s words still ringing in my ears. The reputation of Lake Charles remains intact.

Instead we headed to Betty’s Campground, in the middle of Cajan country. We’ve heard a lot about this tiny 17 site campground, because Betty works so hard to expose those who stay with her to the Cajan way of life. Sometimes when we’ve traveled, we’ve had a hard time accessing the culture without knowing a local. We’d heard so much about the music and pub life in Ireland, but when we’d pass a pub, it would look dark and dingy inside and the last thing we wanted to do was go in and buy a drink. And so we missed out.

We told our friends George and Judy who we’ve traveled with in Mexico about this spot and they beat us here and liked it to much they extended their stay. It will be great to see them again and get in touch with this unique area.

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