Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No Swimming With The Aligators Please

We are now in the state of Louisiana on our slow journey back to Canada. Originally we were planning on going to New Orleans for Beignet and Cafe Au Lait from Cafe Du Monde and a muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery, but we changed our minds. The last two times we were in Louisiana it was to go to New Orleans and we really have not seen any other parts of the state. So this time we are going to the smaller towns to see what the rest of Louisiana is all about.

Our first stop was at the visitor center at the Louisiana border, and our first lesson on survival in Louisiana was to not go swimming in the swamp.

After picking up several tourist brochures and maps of the state we took a walk on the protected boardwalk over the swamp behind the tourist center. Unfortunately, there were no aligators to be seen, but we did spot a small snake.

Our first night was spent in the town of Sulfur, where we spent the evening looking over all the tourist information obtained, trying to decide on our route through the state. Both Ward and I were interested in checking out the plantations of Louisiana, but we did not want to go any further south than I-10. Unfortunately most of the Plantations are located along River Road between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which is of course to the south. Another topic of interest would of course be the music, and the third would be the food.

After an evening of reading we think we have a plan that will allow us to see small town Louisiana and learn more about its history, enjoy some good music, and get ourselves some boudin, beignets and cafe au lait.

While in Sulfur Ward and I visited the Brimstone Museum to find out how Sulfur got its name and learn a bit about the process of mining sulfur, which of course was the towns main industry being the main supplier of sulfur to the world.

The Cultural Center was right next door to the museum and had an exhibit of grade school kids art projects. The kids were hand picked from several local schools to be mentored by local artists. We found the works to be quite amazing, especially because most were done by young children (grades 3-10).

Then we were off to Lake Charles, about 6 miles down the road to visit the Gator Pond. Finally, real aligators. The sign at the pond stressed the importance of not having food or drink with you when viewing the aligators, even though they were behind a fence. I guess they take their aligators pretty seriously around here.

We took a drive through the historic downtown area of Lake Charles and down Lakeshore Drive, both recommended as scenic drives. The downtown area had old historic buildings and Lakeshore Drive was filled with large Victorian style Antebellum Mansions.

Tomorrow will have us travelling down Hwy 90 in search of more Louisiana culture.

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