Abbeville, LA (Cajun Country!)
Apr 22, 2011
|2011 April 22, Abbeville, LA
The trip to Abbeville, LA, was a last minute diversion initiated by the discovery we had RV friends (from Virginia) camped not far off our route to New Orleans. Located just south of Lafayette, Abbeville would suit us nicely and affect our schedule not in the least. After all, hooking up with friends on the road is one of the best parts of RV’ing!
We cruised into Abbeville RV Park early Friday afternoon and set up camp in an exceptionally pretty location. The entire park is surrounded by woods with a fine network of hiking trails. By the time we had the slides out and had grabbed a quick shower, a knock on the door let us know Julia & Wiley had returned from their day trip. Time to party!
They invited us back to their site for cocktails and appetizers from the grill. The visit started out a little rough when Julia’s cat, Tucker, decided to snack on my thumb. He bit me pretty deep and they insisted we visit the Emergency Room the following morning. After a few days on antibiotics, the damage was gone and the affront had been forgotten (at least in my mind -- J&W felt bad for much longer, bless their little hearts).
Camped next door to Julia & Wiley were Bobby & Mary Gail. Turns out they were also from the same area of Virginia as J&W and, thus became new, instant friends. They are also full timers and travel with two Harley Davidsons…very cool people, indeed. We hung around together the rest of the weekend and had tons of fun. The first night we went to Dupuy’s Oyster Shop -- established in 1869 -- which served the best oyster’s we’ve had since we left Apalachicola, Florida.
As I mentioned, the park is surrounded by woods and a stream runs by about a 100 yards off to the North. This park hasn't been here as long as the wildlife, which explains why a long lived turtle would be digging a nest in my backyard. A good sized Mobile Bay Cooter was blithely dropping eggs into a hole in the soil just behind our coach. She spent several hours digging, depositing eggs and then covering the nest. When we came back later, you could hardly tell where the eggs were buried. The camp hosts quickly protected the nest and will keep an eye on it until they hatch in about 100 days. If you’re there around the first week in August, 2011, keep your eyes peeled at Site 32 for hatchlings!
We spent the rest of the day exploring the hiking trails and taking photos of Historic Abbeville. Formerly known as La Chapelle, it was founded in 1843 by Father Antonie Desire Megret, a native of Abbeville, France. Located on the river Vermilion, it became the Parish Seat of Vermilion in 1845 (the term ‘parish’ means the same as ‘county’ in other US states). The area is best known for cattle, rice and crawfish farms. Oh, and lots of alligators.
That afternoon we caught a late lunch at Shucks Louisiana Seafood House – tasty. Later that day, everyone came to our place and we grilled steaks & lamp chops with all the fixings. We spent the rest of the evening laughing, teaching our new friends to play our favorite dice game, Zilch, and listening to Wiley tell the funniest jokes. It was a ‘lucky, lucky, lucky, LUCKY, lucky time. Yeah, you had to be there to understand that one!
Sunday found the six of us driving over to Breaux Bridge, in Henderson, for an afternoon of Zydeco music at Angelles' Whiskey River Landing saloon ("The Place to Be on Sunday Afternoons!"). It’s on the levee of the Atchafalaya River and part of the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp, the largest swamp in the US. Located in south central Louisiana, it’s a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. The river stretches from near Simmesport in the north through parts of eight parishes to the Morgan City area in the south.
After a few hours of great music and dancing, we headed back over the levee to Pat's Fisherman's Wharf. The place is huge - it's actually a series of disconnected buildings containing the restaurant, large zydeco dance hall, and small motel - all on a swampy pond, of course, complete with alligators just off the deck. This was where Julia taught me to eat crawfish – it was the beginning of my love affair with those little red bugs!
On Monday, we all packed up and headed off to different points on the compass. We’ll be hooking up again, down the road, I’m sure. Good times! From Abbeville we headed off to New Orleans for Jazz Festival. See you in The Big Easy!