Sunday, March 17, 2013

Street Festival in New Roads, Louisiana

When we first entered the state of Louisiana we stopped at the Tourist Center at the state line. I picked up a bunch of tourist brochures and maps, then spent a few hours looking through all the new information. With our basic route set, we looked for interesting things to do along the way. That was when we saw the street festival advertised for New Roads. It was a car and motorcycle show, offering food, entertainment, and crafts to boot. So the calendar was marked for New Roads on March 16.

I was looking forward to the street festival, and Ward was quite excited to see what sort of cars would show up for the event. It was the 4th annual street festival for New Roads. Last year they had about 200 cars show up and were expecting more this year.

We found the perfect spot to park the RV, just around the corner from where the street festival was to take place on a small residential street in the historic district of town, securing the spot the previous evening and spending the night there.

Prior to parking we spent some time driving through the town and walking along Main Street, which of course is in the Historic part of town.

We did a bit of a tour through the cemetary in town. They have above ground crypts similar to the cemetaries in New Orleans. Some of them have several individuals in a single crypt. It was explained to us while in New Orleans that the crypts work similar to ovens, turning the deceased to dust after time, and allow several people to be placed in these crypts.

By 9:00am we heard the cars pulling up and could see them parking along Main Street. The music had also started. There was a band playing 50s music in front of the Court House, about 500 feet away from us. So, we finished breakfast and headed out the door to check out the car show.

Main Street was blocked off to traffic and the cars lined both sides of the street as well as several parking lots. There were well over 200 cars in attendance, including street rods, classics, antiques, lots of corvettes (new and old), even a couple of rat rods.

1928 Auburn
Flat Black Chop Top
Ford Chop Top
Ford Hotrod
Jet Bike
Old Semi Car hauler (Tom Waits drove one of these in the movie Mystery Men)
The owner calls this one 'shotgun'
Ward says it;s a corvette with a 'big ass' motor
Voo Doo Rat Truck

After walking through the lines of cars for over an hour it was time to check out the food. We walked through the food concessions and chose one offering jambalaya. While waiting in line Ward struck up a conversation with some of the people working there. We were told this is not the jambalaya you get from New Orleans, it's the real thing. And boy it was good, slightly spicy but not too much, and filled with sausage and pork. We picked a nice spot down by the river to enjoy the food. And of course Ward struck up another conversation with some folks from Baton Rouge who had come down for the car show as well.

I didn't mention before about the geography around New Roads. It has a crescent shaped lake beside it, called False River. The lake was once part of the Mississippi River before the river changed its course. The Mississippi River is now about 4 miles away from False River, and the town itself is a very nice upscale cottage community, just a stones throw north of Baton Rouge.

After sharing a bowl of jambalaya we decided to try one of the deserts they had and picked the bread pudding. It was almost a custard, with a creamy caramel topping. I was glad that I was sharing it with Ward because it was very dense and quite sweet. It seemed like a small portion but I could not imagine anyone finishing anything larger on their own.


While enjoying the bread pudding we bumped into the only person we knew in town. It was the insurance lady next to the closed tourist information center we attempted to go to. She was kind enough to provide us a map of the town which she used for her business. And we spent several minutes talking with her about our travels and Louisiana. She is a real Cajun, with her roots coming from Canadian Cajuns migrating down to the south. Food came up in conversation, of course, how could it not in Louisiana. She talked about growing up eating squirrel, rabbit, gator, and all sorts of food from the land. And she asked if we had had a crawfish boil (except she pronounced boil as boll, and it took us a minute to figure out exactly what she was talking about). She recommended two different places in town that had a good crawfish boll, I mean boil, but we never managed to indulge ourselves yet. It has been stressed to us by several people that we are in the middle of crawfish season and this is the only time that the crawfish boil is available. Everybody seems to be pointing it out to us. We have actually tried to get some, but went to a restaurant during lunch. It is offered only for dinner. We'll keep trying, one more box to check off.

We took a final walk around the street festival, then off to the other side of the Mississippi River, to Plantation country.

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