A beautiful, sunny day...which grew warmer as the day progressed.
ZOO OF ARCADIANA
The zoo is located a short distance south of the campground. When we arrived at the parking lot there were 15 school buses parked along the perimeter of the lot. We saw a few of the children and adults in the zoo, but they were mostly ahead of us, so we weren't in any huge crowds.
The zoo is small and some of the habitats seem small, but everything is clean and all the animals look healthy and contented. We expected to see only regional animals, but there were those and exotic animals, too.
Once again, our membership card from the Nature Center in Asheville meant that we got in for free...a savings today of $17.00.
Pictures of some of the animals are included with this posting.
We had lunch at Cafe Vermilionville which is located in an old house built in 1830. The building was interesting and the food was wonderful. We both stared with crab bisque that was almost as good as Felix's Fish Camp in Mobile. I had a shrimp and crab neopolitan. The shrimp and crab were layered between four medallions of eggplant that had been crusted and fried. All that was placed in a pool of a cream sauce with bits of ham in it. Drool on! John had crab cakes with thinly sliced and sauted zucchini. Desert was pecan pie and vanilla ice cream (John) and a chocolate torte laced with liquor (probably bourbon) for me. Luckily we had to walk a lot at our next stop.
Vermilionville is a living history museum showing the life and culture of this area between 1765 and 1890. Multiple buildings have been moved to the location or reproduced to represent homes, businesses, and a church. In some of the buildings people in period dress demonstrate some of the crafts of the time. We met a lady spinning wool. Another lady was making baskets from pine needles.
We learned that the Acadians orginally imigrated from France to Canada. When the English took over that part of Canada in the mid 1700s, the people were kicked out and relocated all along the east coast of America and into the Caribbean. Some of those people ended up in the Louisiana territory. The Spanish took them in and helped them because the Spanish were looking for Catholic settlers to help them settle the territory and keep it.
We learned that Spanish moss can be cured which leaves a springy black material that was used to stuff mattresses. Henry Ford contracted with the Acadians to supply the moss to him for his automobile seats. He insisted that the cured moss be shipped in boxes made to his specifications with holes in certain places. When he received the moss, he used the wood from the boxes in the manufacture of his automobile....the wood had been cut to meet his needs so it was ready to go into the cars as floorboards. Any wood left over, he used to make charcoal, founding Kingsford charcoal to market it.
ST. MARTINVILLE - BIRTHPLACE OF ACADIANA
We drove about 8 miles east to St. Martinville which is the 3rd oldest town in Louisiana.
We went to the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site. Being old, we did not have to pay the entrace fee. The historic site encompasses what was originally a cattle ranch and later an indigo plantation. A wealthy Creole family acquired the property in the late 1700s. It was inherited by in the early 1800s and turned into a sugar plantation. The house was built in 1815 and is still standing in good condition. We took a tour of the house. The foundation is brick which was made by the family slaves. The wood in the house is cypress which is rot and termite proof. The floors on the front and back porches slopes away from the house walls to allow rain to drain off.
After we toured the house, we drove back into St. Martinville to visit the church. St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church was founded in 1765. The church building was erected arount 1844. In the side yard of the church is a statue of Evangeline. Evangeline was a prototype of the many young Acadian women who were forced to leave Canada. Evangeline (according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem) lost her father as they were forced out of their home and lost her fiance when they were placed on separate ships. She spent her life looking for her love. After many years, having grown old and wary, Evangeline entered a convent and devoted herself to caring for the sick. One day she discovered that on old man who had been brought in on the verge of death was her own love. He died in her arms. Tradition says that they are buried side by side somewhere in the land that she had searched for so many years. They could not be together in life, but were together for eternity.....
Household chores come right along on our trip with us. I spent some time doing laundry. There was a place outside beside the laundry room with a nice breeze where I could sit and enjoy some quiet time...if having a four lane highway on one side and a baseball field full of kids and parents onthe other side can count as "quiet".
We did a bad thing today...we ate out for both lunch and dinner.
Tonight we ate at The Original Don's Steak and Seafood Restaurant in downtown Lafayette.
John had seafood gumbo and fried catfish. I had to be a glutton and order the Ashby Special -- Crawfish Bisque (soup), Italian Salad, crabmeat au gratin (best thing on the plate), crabcake Landry (with crab and eggplant), a stuffed shrimp, crawfish etoufee, and a stuffed potato (double baked potato with chives, bacon and cheese). Oh, my goodness, what food. And, no, there was no dessert tonight.
We rolled on out to the car and headed home to walk the pups and sit up until supper settles.
A very busy and good day.
Tomorrow we plan to go to Avery Island to the tobasco sauce plant.