A visitor in my own state – A Road Trip down the bayous in Terrebonne Parish, Southern Louisiana

About a year ago, Hubby and I took a road trip (date day) down the bayous of Terrebonne Parish in Southern Louisiana. I had expressed an interest in seeing where the bayous intersected with the gulf. It was an interesting drive as we navigated the little roads along and through the marsh and bayous, and we literally drove to the end of the road on three bayous.

There were a number of houses that had been raised due to flooding. Each of the houses you see in the pictures flooded at least three times. Unfortunately, that is the criteria set forth by the government. I can’t imagine flooding and rebuilding three times, but each of these families did just that. It is amazing to see entire brick homes raised ten, fifteen, and even more feet, slab and all. Where garages once were, french doors can be seen. There are now porches around some of the houses. It truly is an odd sight.

We passed by LUMCON (The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) was formed in 1979 to increase society’s awareness of the environmental, economic and cultural value of Louisiana’s coastal and marine environments by conducting research and education programs directly relevant to Louisiana’s needs in marine science and coastal resources and serving as a facility for all Louisiana schools with interest in marine research and education.
Watch the full-length overview of LUMCON

We traveled on a road built on a ridge between two bayous. These are just a few of the pictures I took; just normal everyday life. I hope you enjoy a little trip down other little bayous in Southern Louisiana. I post many pictures from Bayou Lafourche in Lafourche Parish. Terrebonne Parish is the adjoining parish. The culture is very much the same along the bayous – fishing boats, hunting, trapping – alongside industry. Enjoy an inside look at bayou country.

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Balloon Festival, Natchez, Mississippi

It’s been three years (October 2013) since our trip to Natchez, Mississippi with Father Scott for the balloon festival. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend going at least once. Besides the prospect of seeing so many balloons floating majestically overhead, it is also the excitement of actually seeing the balloons fly. What I mean by this, is the weather conditions have to be perfect for ballooning or they will not take them up.

That was what our weekend was like – full of anxious waiting! Friday night did not favor ballooning and that was disappointing. This was followed by watching all the trucks pulling trailers with balloons and gear across the Mississippi River and along the levee to a field – should I mention here that the field was NOT visible from the Natchez side of the river – and waiting and waiting and waiting, only to be disappointed that the weather, that had once been conducive to flying had changed its mind.

Sunday morning is the last day of the three-day festival and we were hoping to see balloons that morning. So, me (who is NOT a morning person) and everyone else at the Bed and Breakfast rose at the crack of dawn and headed back to the waterfront. The balloons were not being launched there, but this is normally the best viewing spot.

Our long wait on Sunday was finally rewarded when we spotted a couple of far off balloons. Then, nothing. Then, more balloons! We soon found out what “chasing the balloons” meant and we were off. The romanticism that I had envisioned – standing on the banks of the beautiful river watching a mass of balloons float by was not our reality! We ended up parked in a K-Mart parking lot. Could anything be further from my vision? I think NOT!

The balloons were a beautiful sight and really worth the disappointment and wait. There is so much more to take in when visiting Natchez. The historic downtown area features walking tours marked off on the sidewalks in different colors. We had experienced this type of walking tour in Boston and I was excited to have the chance to do this type of tour again.

Natchez is a beautiful little town and what held so much fascination for me is my family history is deeply ensconced in the Catholic church located in Natchez. Upon our arrival into Natchez, we stopped at the Welcome Center where I was able to read about Bishop William Henry Elder (1857-1880) and his church, St. Mary’s Cathedral. I have to admit I felt a great sense of pride that my family was involved in establishing the church. I think I remember reading that he was a little difficult to work with. Oh well! No one is perfect.

We had the opportunity to visit the beautiful church the next day and of course, I took loads of pictures and I’m about to bore you with them. The church is located on a street corner and is absolutely beautiful inside. The stain glass windows are brilliant and the woodwork is extraordinary.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you ever have the opportunity to visit Natchez, please do. It’s beautiful and Southern and quaint.

 

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Up the bayou. Down the bayou. 

My daughter once asked how do you know what is up the bayou and what is down the bayou. I told her it was all relative. Wherever you happen to be standing, one way is up the bayou and the other is down. It is as simple as that. A couple of weeks ago, we took a little ride down the bayou from where we live. This past Sunday we headed up the bayou. The pontoon bridge was open due to the high water level in the bayou and we knew we would not have any difficulty in getting through. These are the pictures I took along the way.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a little ride down the bayou from where we live. This past Sunday we headed up the bayou. The pontoon bridge was open due to the high water level in the bayou and we knew we would not have any difficulty in getting through. These are the pictures I took along the way.

There are many sunken trawl boats along the bayou. I love taking pictures of them. They all have a story about how they ended up as bayou trash and the haunting desolate structures beckon you. At one time, each boat represented a bustling business. The seafood business here in Southern Louisiana isn’t what it used to be even twenty years ago. Many trawlers have been put out of business with the imports being allowed. It really is a shame. Our country should first protect its own.

Bollinger Shipyard has been contracted by the Coast Guard to repair ships so there were a few at the dock. It is common to see the vessels coming and going in the bayou.

Many people have little wharfs and enjoy spending their Sunday’s fishing and barbecuing. Some wharves are long forgotten and overgrown. A few look like little secret hideaways, something a child would enjoy.

I included pictures of the open pontoon bridge about a mile and a half up the bayou from our home. There aren’t many left and we are lucky to have a little bit of history floating in the bayou near us.

As our dock came into view, I was surprised how unkempt it looks from the bayou until you get really close. The neighbor’s bayou side is a mess and from our view in the bayou, it looked like our boathouse was in the midst of an unkempt lot. I assure you it is not. I would be too afraid of the snakes and alligators. Our wharf spans the width of our property (approx. 96 feet) and it hasn’t been uncommon in the past to spot an alligator sunning himself on the wharf or swimming in the bayou close by.

Hope you enjoyed the trip down a Southern Louisiana bayou!





In search of Red October…

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OpenStreetMap Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, we are still on the hunt for our “perfect” boat. Actually we already know that boat does not yet exist. We are looking for a boat that we can make our own. Being DIYers, we have our own ideas about what we want in a boat and how we want it to function. It’s just a matter of finding the right hull for the right price and we may have just done that on this two and a half day driving trip we just completed!

It was a whirlwind, hit-the-road road trip through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and back to Southern Louisiana! Now that’s logging a lot of butt miles! Out of all the boats we looked at, we think our boat is now sitting in Northeast Kansas and we live in Southern Louisiana!

This has been an educational journey if nothing else. I’ve learned about transoms and ribs and flying bridges, and sewage treatment plants, and outlaw rigging (some people do not follow codes) and bunk rooms and Volvo engines and Chrysler engines, two engines versus one and one versus two, and I could go on but you get the idea.

English: Map of the Arkansas River watershed i...
English: Map of the Arkansas River watershed in the south-central United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We think we’ve found the Affrikann Queen. Yes, that’s my Hubby’s spin on the name. You would have to read the story to understand how the name came about. After we started with the name, no other name seemed appropriate. We also knew after all the AQ name calling, if we actually named the boat something else, we’d still be calling it the African Queen. So there you have it.

In case you were wondering, we really did do 2,000 miles in two and a half days. We traveled through some beautiful country which made traveling pleasant. There were a lot of rivers and lakes and little creeks and as we passed each one, we talked about meandering up and down them in our boat.

Our little boat is sitting at a little marina located on a huge lake in Kansas. The man told us that the lake actually freezes in the winter and they use aerators to keep the water moving so it doesn’t freeze around the boats. I told you the journey has been an education. It is hard for us Southerners to understand how such a huge body of water freezes in winter. All we’ve ever seen is slush!

The man at the marina hopped in his golf cart and welcomed us aboard. Well, he welcomed Hubby aboard and looked at me as I checked out the steep hill he wanted to climb and back at him. He was patient and after another look, I decided to ride on the back seat looking backward so hopefully the view of the lake would distract me – that and I could pray without him noticing! I tried not to think of which route he would take back down to the marina. We had to traverse a pretty steep curve on the way down in the truck so I was hoping for the quick ride down over the curvy road.

The boat was on blocks and we had to climb a ladder. That was tricky, but I climbed it. Of course, Hubby was right behind me! He is quite aware of my Lucy tendencies and if I tumbled from the ladder, I would also be tumbling down the side of a very high hill. I climbed up and figured I’d worry about climbing down when the time came. (I did climb another boat and was ready to just live on it rather than climb back down. But that’s another story!)

Overall the boat is in great shape. The transom is rotten, but that’s not big deal when you know how to fix it. Hubby inspected the outside while I was busy gutting and redecorating the inside of the boat in my head. A girl’s has to have priorities! (I probably should have been taking pictures outside as well because when we got home Hubby asked to see the pictures I took of the outside – and, well, there were none.)

To cut this story short, we liked what we saw and I put the boat out on bid for shipping. Unfortunately, USPS doesn’t deliver and you have to rely on shipping companies. There are many reputable shippers out there and as soon as the bidding process is completed, we are hoping to make an offer on the boat. It is a huge expense that has to factored in when purchasing a boat far away.

Once we make the final decision, I’ll post pictures and write more about the journey.

And what’s a road trip without a trip to DQ! Chocolate X-treme. I highly recommend it.

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From Louisiana to Walnut Mountain – It's vacation time! Part 1

We’ve been on vacation this past week. It started off with a bang – literally, and not in a good way. We were only about twenty miles from home and were going through a school zone when a man came running through the traffic waving his arms shouting, “Stop. A cop’s been shot!”

IMG_3010We were just moments behind the flying bullets which took down a deputy. He was shot in the eye, arm, and chest. Even with these injuries, he managed to get off a few shots at the assailant. When traffic was finally released and we passed the scene, five shots were noticeable in the truck’s windshield.

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While we sat in the middle of the highway only a few hundred yards away, but still in range of bullets, police and first responders swarmed in. We had a front row seat to the assailant being taken down by the police.

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What made the scene even more eerily, is this happened in a small town where I attended school as a child and the bus I rode turned in to the school in this very spot. Back then, this was unheard of. When crossing guards motioned for you to stop, you stopped. You didn’t get mad, flee the scene and return with a gun.

After an hour delay, we were on our way to New Orleans. We had just cleared New Orleans East when we came upon two company trucks, pulling road warning signs of all things. I say this because the driver of the second truck was busy texting and in the process wasn’t paying too much attention to how close he was getting to the truck in front of him. Although they were hauling road caution signs, they were not displaying much caution.

People texting while driving really irks me. While hubby drove along side the truck, I looked up the company name on my phone. Once we had the truck number, I phoned in to speak to the safety manager. He was a little surprised at the information we were able to provide. He asked what the driver looked like so he could be sure he spoke to the correct person. We not only provided a description of the driver, but the mile post, direction, time, and truck information.

The safety manager said that he was sure that the driver would deny the accusation, but also remarked that where there was smoke, there was normally fire and with the information we provided, he wouldn’t be able to easily weasel out of the problem. I guess when the driver decided to text, he wasn’t expecting a trooper to be watching. The safety manager thanked us for the information and told us he was glad we had called in.

I think we were heading through Alabama (from Louisiana) when we came across this on the interstate. I couldn’t resist clicking a picture.

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It’s not often you see this!

Our trip originated in Southern Louisiana and we traveled through Mississippi, Alabama, and then Georgia on this trip on our way to the Smokey Mountains in Northern Georgia. You see a lot of strange things out there on the interstate!

We headed through a rainstorm that insisted on following us part of the way north.

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With the morning delay, by the time we made it to Atlanta, we hit work traffic. It was a mess. I’ll never forget the first time I experienced Atlanta traffic. It was years ago. We came off of an overpass and around a curve and saw eight lanes of stalled traffic.

This was only six lanes wide.

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North of Atlanta, we ran into more rain as we headed into the mountains.

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Even with all the delays and weather, we still ended up arriving at Walnut Mountain before dark – just! These photos were taken on the mile drive up to the top of the mountain. This is actually a very steep incline.

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The fog rolled in as we reached the top.

I invite you to stay tuned for more of our adventures!

*Update – On the trip home as I was checking on the condition of the deputy that was shot, I stumbled across the name of the shooter. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that it was someone that I attended school with for five years. It is hard to reconcile the individual who picked up a gun and shot at another human being with someone I knew so long ago. Proves once again, it’s a small, small world.