On the road, from Dallas to Lafayette. We missed my friend Mary F. Edmiston in Avinger TX by an hour or so, but will catch her another time. It's the first time we've driven the "new" interstate from Shreveport to Lafayette; we avoided all those little towns which made the trip faster, although I did miss some of the local spots I'd remembered.
We settled at the KOA in Scott, under oak trees, and right across from a small lake. Looks like home to me! Oh, wait, it is!
First on the agenda was to meet with Billy Thibodeaux of Premier RV, Inc. to order cockpit shades, a new refrigerator, and a stabilizer. The shades have to be specifically made in Texas and will take several weeks. We will have the work done when all is in. Billy, his wife Helen, and Donna are the office personnel, although Billy does some of the work too.
They, a rescued dog and two rescued cats share the space.
Anyone coming for business is warmly greeted by all; some even willing to share your lap! These animals just showed up, knew a good thing when they found it, and stayed! The KOA is close to Billy's, another reason we chose this spot.
Claire deGravelles Cloninger, my sister-in-law from Fairhope, was in town visiting her mother for a few days. When we found this out from Spike, we arranged to go to Virginia's, then out to lunch at Alesi's.
Alesi's is one of the good old places; the place many of us had our first pizza, especially our high school class. Jerome Alesi was a classmate; he's now a dentist. Mike, his younger brother, runs the business -- and it's as wonderful as ever.
We drove a round a bit to see some of the expanded Lafayette, especially the River Ranch area. A new development of homes of all sizes, styles, and shapes. Some huge -- reproduction antebellum homes, Italian villas, French mini-castles. I was amazed, really. Crazy. And, all the shops, restaurants, and services to support it all.
And, in between exploring and checking out old haunts, we've eaten delicious boudin from several places - have to taste compare!
For Valli I took a photo of the train station, now the Rosa Parks Transportation Center.
It's where Valli and I went every morning about 5:30am to pick up newspapers from Baton Rouge for our paper route. This was a route we had while in college. Valli drove; I mostly threw the papers. Our boss never got our names right; he called me "Ugga." "Ugga, you got a good arm!" We were half asleep and looked forward to a cup of coffee and donuts with the cops at Shirley Donuts.
Another day, we had to try viva La Waffle van.
Yes! Find them; they park in different places and let you know on their Facebook and web pages. LaWaffle
Oh, by the way, the chef and owner is my second cousin, Collin Cormier. He and his wife Jasmyne own and operate La Waffle.
Collin was the chef at Blue Dog, Tsunami, and other fine places. We took our "Roscoe" and "Figgy Piggy" to Girard Park to enjoy, while Soleil hunted down squirrels.
We also took a jaunt to Avery Island and visited the Tabasco factory, explored the island a bit, and enjoyed the huge moss strewn oaks. Beautiful place!
The factory tour has been sanitized; previously, you could go into the factory, see all the barrels, and cough and tear uncontrollably when they took the top off of a fresh barrel of mash! It's still a community unique to itself. Tabasco
Friday evening we enjoyed a Cajun music jam at La Maison de Begnaud, the Scott Heritage and Tourist Center, located in an old Acadian house. LaMaisondeBegnaud
What a wonderful evening! Hearing folks of all ages playing the accordion, guitars, fiddles, and the triangle and singing old and new Cajun tunes.
About 12 people played at one time; others coming in and out, taking turns and breaks.
There was only one accordion player at a time -- a boy, next an elderly man, finally another guy. The elderly man was given much respect, "Mr. Don."
He is Don Montoucet, a well-known accordionist. There could then be as many fiddles and guitars as there were people. So very lovely to see old traditions and generations coming together for music, stories, and laughter.
Another day, we went to 1255 South College Road, where our family home used to be. It's no longer there; it was razed after our parents died, beyond repair. Now, there's a physician's office and space for more.
Nothing to remind me of home; all the beautiful trees gone and the backyard hill behind the pool flattened. One of our old neighbor's house is still there in between the lofts and a parking lot.
The "loft" townhouses that were to be there are on the property a few "houses" down, looking quite out of place, but ok.
At the Jockey Yard Flea Market we met a guy who makes birdhouses resembling Acadian houses, drilling rigs, barns and silos. Beautifully made -- reminded me of my Dad's (Dobbin's) Acadian houses and churches he made from cigar boxes.
The only other thing worth anything there were the gorgeous fresh veggies. Fresh from the garden!
Oh, and another fun thing was shopping at Rouse's Market - a wonderful market! While there we saw Joe Horn, former Saint, hawking his Cajun Bar-b-que Sauce.
And, we bought some for a chance to attend a Saints ball game with him. We didn't win.
Saturday, we got together with my cousins. The most fun! These are cousins, all from Lafayette, some still living here, from my Dad's side. We had lunch, lots of laughs, catching up, stories, and astonishment at how we've not changed a bit!! Gay Cloninger Lauck organized it. Thanks! We met at Robert and Susan Cloninger's home. Robert is the son of Frankie and Maxie Benoit and have a daughter, called Maxie. Love it. Robert (aka Robbie) and Susan's home was formerly the home of Barney and Coonie Cloninger, parents of Gay, Chook, and Tommy. Tommy came from New Orleans; his son Corey stopped by for a visit and lunch.
A good lunch too -- po boys: shrimp, oyster, ham, beef, Zapp's chips, and praline King Cake. Yum! So much fun to see them all!