Lafayette, Abbeville and Erath, Louisiana
We spent the weekend exploring our surroundings. Here at our Vermilion Parish Campground we started Saturday by hiking the nature trail that takes you into the surrounding marshland forest. The water table is very high here- makes sense because we’re at sea level or a little above – so the trail goes through some marshy areas. For most of the way, we walked on a beautiful green carpet of moss.
The Nature Trail at Vermilion Parish RV Park
At the end of the trail, we took the campground road back and met a couple from Missouri who are also staying at the campground. We couldn’t help noticing that they were both carrying 6-foot tall walking sticks ….hers was a branch with a fork at the top.
Ted smiled and asked, “What are those sticks for?” The man chuckled and said, “To fight off the bears.” We all laughed, then he said, “No really, they are snake sticks”.
This couple has been here all winter and they have seen few cottonmouths snakes on the campground road and also on the nature trail. They gave us the cliff notes on cottonmouths: highly poisonous, aggressive and 2-3 feet long; and they love wet marshy areas. The sticks are forked and long enough to get the snake and “fling” it away. I don’t know what is more dangerous…. A highly poisonous, aggressive, big cottonmouth snake…..or a Really Angry highly poisonous, aggressive, big snake that has just been “flung” up in the air. They went on to tell us that they saw us go into the woods along the path and they were really worried for Andy.
Guess we’re going to have to go back in the woods one more time to cut us a couple of forked snake sticks!
Saturday afternoon we drove into Lafayette to experience the Krewe Des Chiens Mardi Gras parade. Finding the parade route was easy; we just found a parking space in town and followed the steady stream of people with dogs dressed in purple, green and gold. This is a big annual fund raiser and all dogs are welcome to march in the parade for a $35.00 donation. We found our way to the staging area where there were lots of venders with pet items and of course, lots of Cajun food. We browsed the booths, munching on fried catfish, looking for some accessories for Andy so he’d fit in…. all of the other dogs were in costume you see.
Getting Andy ready for the Krew des Cheins parade.
Some netting, a couple of beads and, C’est Magnifique!
Pretty in purple!
Andy did not march in the parade but he was definitely best in show! He may not look real happy here but after a few minutes he started to “prance” as usual!
The streets were packed with floats, marching kids and lots and lots of costumed dogs!
It was a great Family event. There was another, bigger Mardi Gras parade being held that night. They were setting up for it when we left town at 3:30 and people were already lining the streets, making jambalaya, grilling hamburgers and boiling pots of crawfish.
Crawfish are big business around here. They are on every restaurant menu and in most Cajun dishes. Farmers raise fields of crawfish, and everywhere you go you see signs along the road for “boiled Crawfish”. People set up roadside stands and you can buy them by the bucket….good thing because you’d have to eat a bushel to fill-up. I’ve tried them many times and frankly, I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my life in Mystic, Connecticut where we catch and eat “real Lobster”; or maybe it’s because I just can’t bring myself to “suck the head” as everyone tells me to do. Every time I look at a boiled crawfish I am tempted by that wonderful spicy aroma ….. till I remember what those mudbugs look like in a field or in someone’s backyard.
Crawfish hole – taken at Fontainebleau Louisiana State Park.
This is a crawfish hole. You find them everywhere. In fact, on the way to town today we spotted this vacant lot that was covered with them.
Crawfish holes peppering this vacant lot in Abbeville, Louisiana
Another big crawfish cottage industry is “Getting Rid Of Them”. Homeowners fight a constant battle with these little mudbugs. Just think of it, you spend several hours on your lawn – rolling over and squashing the mounds and then go out to dinner for crawfish pie!
For dinner, we stopped at a local supermarket/deli and bought quarts of spicy shrimp/seafood gumbo (I know there was probably crawfish in there). On the way, driving through Abbeville, we spotted these large storage silos for Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup. Ted hit the brakes….we had to stop!
Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup. Made in Abbeville, Louisiana.
Steen’s is made right here in Abbeville. It is a southern staple; a “must have” for corn bread, glazed hams, pecan pies, popcorn balls and biscuits. Their tagline is, “Comme delices du gourment, il n’y a rien de meillieur” (For a gourmet’s delight, there’s nothing better!) Wish we could get this stuff up north.
Tomorrow, we’re going to visit the only place on earth where Tabasco Sauce is made!
Thanks For Riding Along,