Arriving in Louisiana from our whirlwind trip to the awesome Northeast was rather exhausting but I was still pretty amp’d up from all of the fun we had. We would spend several days in the husband’s home town which would include visiting family and friends and a fantastic small town Étouffée festival.
The festival was everything I wanted it to be. In a field, sun shining, breeze blowing, live Cajun music playing, and the amazing vendor booths. The smell of crawfish and southern food was incredible and it only took a few minutes for me to pull the husband over and say feed me some of that!
There was a cookoff and many different etouffees to try along with other specialty foods from the region such as crawfish cornbread and huge popcorn balls smothered in caramel. There were vendor booths selling local crafts and services. It was a really nice day!
I will say though, of all the different etouffee I tried that day the husband’s is superior. Lucky Me! (by the way, kudos to the community for not having a fit at me for asking for no rice with my portion)
Monday we drove to the Army base to take care of my step-daughter’s passport and such since she is planning on moving out with us after the Summer. Just back for more family visits that day.
Tuesday we packed up AGAIN and started making our way to New Orleans (about 2.5 hours away) but decided to make a detour to the Tabasco Factory. Did you know Tabasco sauce is made in Louisiana? Yep! The factory was fantastic actually, we could smell the vinegar/pepper in the air before getting there. My mouth was watering. We took the self paced tour which was well marked and easy to follow. There was so much great information and history about the area and the family who created the sauce. They still own and run it. Did you know the plants are grown and harvested, jarred and distributed right there? Also, interesting to me is it is a natural salt mound they are settled on so it adds to the flavor of the peppers and they mine the salt for the sauce on the grounds. Pretty cool I thought.
The husband isn’t really a fan of the sauce but he was game to check it out and really enjoyed the tour. We went to the gift store of course and picked up a couple of things for me (I love the stuff) and had lunch at the little cafe on the grounds. All of the food was made with one of the sauces of course!
Now we were back on the road to Nola. The first full day we had planned two tours because while both of us had been there before (more than once) neither of us had done much of the touristy stuff … other than getting drunk … so we did the cemetery and voodoo tour in the morning – super interesting stuff about the area and its history as well as the why and how of the way people are taken care of after they die in that culture. Our guide was wonderful showing us Marie Laveau’s tomb and explaining the European/Italian history in the area which I had no idea about. Then in the evening we did the haunted tour which had us walking around the French Quarter to several destinations where we got the terrifying and often tortured stories of the people who had died and apparently haunted the said area. It was a lot of fun. The last night we packed up AGAIN and moved to a hotel in the French Quarter so we could stroll down Bourbon Street, have some drinks, enjoy the nightlife, and apparently turn in fairly early because we are old people now… ? (I hit my limit around 10:00 pm haha)
A side note on being in New Orleans post Katrina. We passed the Superdome several times during our few days, it was very sobering for me and to pass over the bridges where we watched so many languish for so long on the news coverages. There were some memorials and one place we stopped that had a wall map showing how much flooded and where. It was a time of reflection.
Friday morning we packed up .. AGAIN.. and drove to Houston to visit with a friend and my father-in-law and his wife. Both lovely visits! Then the next day we packed up AGAIN drove back to Louisiana for the final days of our very LONG trip in the states.
Laundry and more packing basically.
Finally our big flight day was upon us!
We flew from Lafayette to Atlanta, then to Norfolk then the big one ~ Italy Bound!
I hope you didn’t mind my lengthy post, I wanted to get as much down as possible. It was a hectic and wonderful trip.