Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!


Everyone have a Safe and Happy New Years!

We are having a quiet night by ourselves. There is nothing happening in the RV park and Bourbon Street would be a nightmare for a couple of 70 year olds. So.. a nice dinner and watch the ball fall on TV.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Beignets and Causeways

Yesterday we decided to head out to the Cafe Du Monde for beignets. These delicious little squares of deep fried dough liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar may not be the best breakfast but they sure are delicious! We searched Google Maps for one of the cafes and found one in a mall near the start of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, a 24 mile long bridge that crosses the huge lake. We decided to take this drive after breakfast.

 
The route back home took us through Sidell, LA where we stopped for a few groceries. It was a nice day, a little warmer than it has been here.



We added three days to our time here at Jude Travel Park to get us past New Years but were told we would have to change spaces. I was not looking forward to this because of the difficulties of setting up the StarChoice with the many trees and buildings here. As I was disconnecting this morning (thankfully before moving the dish) the owner came over and told us she had a cancellation and we might be able to stay put. It worked out and I re-hooked the water and sewer.

Today we might take a drive downtown where they have a new T Mobile Prism II SmartPhone on sale for $49, marked down from $115. It has mixed reviews with most of the negative comments based on it's inability to play some of the new games, something I never do. As long as I can make phone calls, do email and a little web surfing with it, I will be happy.


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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bourbon Street

We finally made it down to Bourbon Street! We discovered the shuttle service was the RV park owner simply driving us downtown for $5 per person so we booked him for 2:00. It was a good deal and he gave us a short tour of Now Orleans before dropping us off a short walk from the tourist area.

We were a little early and had about a half hour to kill before the music started in the many bars along the street. We stopped at a place that bragged about having "the best mojitos on Bourbon Street" and sat at a streetside table sipping our drinks and people watching. This was the only place we found that did not have 2 for 1 drinks which was a mixed blessing. It was easier on the budget but limited the number of places we could visit. We ended up visiting four venues plus the original street side table. If you are counting, that is nine drinks each with very generous pours!

 


Some of the signs along the street.
 
 


Norma learning the steps to the "Cupid Shuffle".

To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right
To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left
Now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick
Now walk it by yourself, now walk it by yourself

This young woman was very nice. She was actually a singer in the band and was waiting through the DJ music for her set to come up when she decided Norma should learn the dance.


Zydeco!
 


We had a blast before taking a taxi home at about 7:30. The evening cost us about $120 everything included, not cheap but afterall it IS New Orleans!
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

A NOLA Preview

We have been lazy for the past few days. Norma has not been feeling all that well and we have just been content to sit around in the RV. After all we do not have to be anywhere until April. Today we decided to take the car down to the French Market and drive along Bourbon Street. Taking the car down there is not a great idea. Not because of traffic but because of parking costs. Even today on Boxing Day, parking is $20 per day. We found one of the very few free parking spaces on the street across from the French Market and walked around. We will come back without the car. The shuttle from the RV park drops off and picks up near Bourbon Street for the same amount as it costs to park and that is what we will do. You have to go in a few bars and that means a few drinks so, no driving.

Hopefully Norma will be feeling like walking around a bit tomorrow but in the meantime here are a few photos to whet your appetite.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Dinner

We thought about going out for dinner tonight but we had no reservations and suspected it would be a hassle neither of us really wanted. We had a large wild Sockeye Salmon fillet in the freezer so we thawed that out. Norma made some stuffing, cut the salmon fillet in half, piled the stuffing on one side and put the other half on top. She wrapped it in aluminum foil and we put it in the "Half Time Convection Oven". We have never used this oven for anything more adventurous than reheating leftovers and cooking pizzas and frozen dinners so this was a bit of an experiment. We guessed at 375 degrees for 25 minutes and it came out perfect! The fish was moist and delicious. We topped it off with mashed potatoes, green beans, cream corn, cranberry sauce and a glass of wine.

Wow! I am stuffed and we still have half the fish left over for another meal, In New Orleans, LA on Christmas Day, Life Is Good!


Happy Elf Dance

From Croft, Norma, LindaLee and Brooks.

video

Thanks LindaLee!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas From Croft & Norma



Good Friends and Family, Wherever in the World Today,

We wish you Peace, Love, Health and Happiness! 

So; Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joyeuax Noel, Feliz Navidad from the bottom of our hearts.

Love Croft & Norma (In New Orleans awaiting the arrival of Papa Noel)

Monday, December 23, 2013

New Orleans!

The weather broke yesterday and the tornado never happened so we headed down the highway towards New Orleans "gnaw-lins". NOLA is outside of Cajun Country so we will not be able to expect the same quality food from now on. We told Betty we would be back and we will be! Her park was a great find! Thank you "The Boondocks".

We took the back roads out of Abbeville towards NOLA and eventually ended up on US 90, a concrete road with a bump in it every time you cross a joint. Very annoying. The rain started about twenty miles from our destination and was soon coming down in sheets, slowing traffic down to 30 or 40 MPH on the highway. We found our exit and pulled into the Jude Travel Park on Chef Menteur Highway, a place recommended by Chris and Juan. It is a reasonable $195 per week as compared to the fancy (and admittedly better located) French Quarter RV Park we stayed in last time which is charging $99 $108 per night over the holidays.

It was pouring rain when we arrived so we quickly hooked up the essentials and hunkered down with local cable. We will set up StarChoice this morning.

The weather is calling for rain again today but so far, so good. There is a $5 shuttle to the French Quarter and there is also a bus stop ($.40 seniors) on the street outside the gate. A taxi is about $15 plus tip each way so however we get around it is still a substantial savings over the RV park downtown. We are thinking of just making this a "lay around" day and saving Bourbon Street for Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Imagine

This will make your day! - Imagine by John Lennon -   Misc


How To Speak Cajun

One of the Cajuns in the RV park gave lessons at Happy Hour. "Cajun looks a little like French but sounds different. You don't use periods, commas, exclamation points, question marks or parentheses. You leave no pause between words and you drop any letters you think are unnecessary. A paragraph should sound like one word. Now you are speaking Cajun"!

Suire's Grocery


The one place everyone said we HAD to go to here was Suire's (rhymes with beer) Grocery and Cafe. This is where true, authentic Cajun food is prepared and served. It is a small, nondescript store about six miles away on a country road. Everything about it says, "Cajun". The clientele could have been straight out of Duck Dynasty! As soon as we walked in we were met by a gentleman who pointed out everything in the store and told us that the cafe would make anything we wanted but that their picante turtle sauce was so good it had been written up in the New York Times! It turns out this man was a local hunting guide / sometimes reality TV host who simply loved the place. We thought he was the owner.

He also pointed out the Pistolettes which he was eating at the time. What are Pistolettes you might ask? You take a large dinner roll, hollow out a space inside which you then cram full of a mixture of creamy sauce and either crab, shrimp or crawfish. And then what do you do? Remember you are in the Heart Of Cajun Country. Well, you deep fry it of course! The result is delicious! A crusty bun stuffed with about a quarter pound of lava hot (temperature, not spicy) deliciousness! I had two, a crab and a shrimp, and almost had to use a toilet brush on my arteries after! I would go back for seconds any time! Norma had the "Plate Special", a huge serving of spaghetti and meat sauce with egg rolls (?), bun and desert. We bought a huge slice of pecan pie to take with us.

 
 
 
 
 


Before we left we raided their freezer full of prepared dishes and took home several frozen portions of true Cajun delights as well as a bag of desert portions. When you are down this way, do not miss Suire's! The food is delicious, the conversation priceless and their prices are much less than the fancier places in town.

The thunder roared, the lightening flashed and the rain came down in many brief cascades last night but the storm passed over us safely and is now east of New Orleans so today is a travel day. Stay tuned, Life in Cajun Country is good!
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tornado Warning

We are under a heavy rain and tornado warning here in Abbeville right now. Although if you look closely at the map, Abbeville is down in the very lower right corner of the affected tornado area. The green is rain and it is headed this way.

We are scheduled to move tomorrow and as (bad) luck would have it we broke our rule and made reservations in New Orleans for tomorrow night. The heavy wind warning continues through tomorrow so we might have to phone them and see if they will let us shift our arrival time by a day or two. I think we will be better off here at Betty's than on the road in high wind conditions.


Betty's RV Park

Here is Betty's RV Park in Abbeville, LA, "In The Heart Of Cajun Country". It is a small 17 space park with full hookups, fast WIFI and lots of friendly people!

 


And now for the best part! Every afternoon at 4:30, Happy Hour starts. Betty has a large common room that holds everyone quite nicely. Everyone brings a dish and there is always enough to go around and then some. Last night someone asked if anyone was interested in pizza so we all chipped in and someone went to pick up four huge pizzas. It cost us $4.50 each and there were actually two pieces left over when we finished. It was a fun evening.
 
 
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Exploring To The South

Today we headed to the south to check out a couple of places people said are worth exploring, Jefferson Island and Shadows On The Teche.

Jefferson Island is a large estate once owned by Joseph Jefferson, the "Dean of American Theater". Jefferson was best known for his performance of Rip Van Winkle which he performed over 6,500 times! He performed all over America and Europe and had three houses in the USA. He spent three or four months per year in each house. This was his favorite and the only one he built himself.

Jefferson was very progressive for his time (late 1800's), insisting on treating his black servants as equals. Every mansion of it's time had two staircases, the main one used by the homeowner, family and guests and the other, in the back, used by servants. This mansion has only one staircase, used by everyone. This is causing problems now because the law insists that every building open to the public must have two staircases for safety purposes. The result is that everything above the main floor is closed to the public.

The grounds are very well kept with lots of flowers, plants, oak trees with Spanish Moss and peacocks. Here are some photos. Scroll down for Shadows On The Teche.







Shadows On The Teche was a Civil War mansion and cotton plantation encompassing thousands of acres on the shore of the Bayou Teche. Cotton was a crop that at the time people believed could not be grown without the use of slave labour. It was a very labour intensive crop and having to pay any form of wages would make it uneconomical to grow so Shadows On The Teche had hundreds of slaves. Every year after the crop was harvested the slaves were given two weeks with no work to do, an unheard of practice at the time. The owner was a judge and a Senator in the Confederate Government and fled when the Union forces approached. The slaves were freed although many former slaves stayed on as paid employees working for three dollars a month plus room and board. The house was saved as a historical location while the adjoining cotton farm eventually became the town of New Iberia.

The grounds here are beautiful as well and the steamboats docked right at the house when there was cargo to load or the owners wanted to travel to New Orleans. It seems that the owner knew from the start that the house would be left to the public and every record was kept. She saved every receipt for furniture, taxes, wages paid, repairs... everything. The entire attic was found filled with all the plantation records plus all of  the family's clothing. Nothing had been thrown out. Today she would be called a hoarder. In her case, she created an historical treasure. 17,000 individual records have been processed so far by the University of Louisiana.





Papa Noel

In Louisiana Santa is known as Papa Noel. Since there is never any snow, the Jolly Old Man trades in his sleigh for a piroque (a small, flat bottomed boat) pulled through the rivers, levees and swamps by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, "Te-Boy", Celeste, Suzette, etc, all led by Nicollette with her huge glowing green eyes.

In order to help Nicollette and Papa Noel find the small settlements along the waterways, residents gather on Christmas Eve to light bonfires on the shore where tradition states that everyone must bring wood to contribute to these communal bonfires. Papa Noel then leaves a small gift for each child and goes on his way.





In case you have been following the latest debate on FOX News about the color of Santa, I will throw in my opinion. Prepare yourselves. Santa is NOT white. He is descended from Saint Nicholas who was from the south of Turkey which at the time was part of Greece. Therefore he is olive skinned, probably dark olive. Sorry to disappoint, but now you know.