How I have adapted to a life in self-isolation.

Day 1275

     Here we are, still in Louisiana, as we sit and sit and sit and sit. Louisiana has closed its boarders, we can’t go out, and no one can come in. Currently this is in effect until May 1st.

     Although it’s not the end of the world, it most likely is a tectonic shift.

     Barbara is so excited – it’s time to take out the garbage. She couldn’t decide what to wear?

     I must confess, a couple of weeks ago I went to Walmart and hoarded some essentials: Ice cream, pop-corn, coca-cola, candy and cookies.

     Now, I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

     My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.

     Most of the people we were playing games left the first of the month before the travel band.

     We even had to give up our wife swapping club.

     It seems a shame to have this blog and nothing to write about. I am open to suggestions. When I was working, (can you believe that has been 4 years ago?), I wrote many articles for the County law bulletin, and some magazines. However, I don’t think you would be interested in law related items. No doubt those articles are no longer relevant, as the law has changed much in those 4 years, and I certainly haven’t kept up to date.

     Well, time to go, I think I will make myself a strawberry milkshake, sit outside in my rocking chair and watch movies on my iPad. 

All Dressed Up, and No Place To Go

Day 1255

     It is time for us to make a decision. Where to go from here now that the warm weather is arriving. Our choices are Disney World with our family; Branson, Missouri with the group we went to Alaska with; Death Valley (my choice); or the Pacific Coast from California to Washington State. Because of the Chinese Virus, we are going nowhere. 

     All Federal and State parks are closed, including Death Valley (I guess they don’t want you dying of the Chinese virus in Death Valley). Disney World is closed. All museums and tourist venues are closed. In fact, some of the States we would have to travel through have closed their borders.

     So, here we stay. At least they are giving us a break on the price. Nevertheless, all the attractions that bring RV’ers here, including the pool and lazy river, are closed.

     This park has 210 sites. With Easter break coming all these sites were booked. Now, 

they are mostly empty. 

     Looking optimistically to the future, the park is building an additional 25 sites. 

     We do get together with a group of people here to play cards and dice. They, like a lot of other people still here, are leaving at the end of March to go home. Since these are the same people that have been here for a number of months, they are already isolated in their RV’s. Don’t tell the Governor we are congregating.

Cough! Cough!        Sorry, did I get any on you?


Hanging out in Louisiana

Day 1248

     Chicken Little says: The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

     Because of the China Virus, everything is closed, and therefore no blogs have been posted recently, as we have been relaxing in the RV Park. Even here, all activities have been cancelled.

      The most exciting thing going on is we got a new toilet seat, you know, the one that closes slowly. Watching that is facinating.








Fat Tuesday, Louisiana

Day 1227

Today is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras day,

the last day of the carnival celebration,

and the last day of parades.

 The parade attendees go all out, so let’s look at them:

Even the Pope showed up

Don’t ask me

They came in all shapes and sizes

Some people really get into it

and some had better seats than others

No one was there with a long face, except maybe this horse.

Have you seen this man?

Does she color? Only her hairdresser knows for sure

Some look better from behind

Is this a man or a women?

What a clown

These are only the people around me,

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. This is definitely a fun time of year.  

Mardi Gras Boat Parade, Madisonville, La

Day 1217

     We attended the Madisonville boat parade last year (see day 883). 

     Since it such a unique thing, we did it again. 

     Madisonville is located on the Tchefuncte River. Access is controlled by a bridge that carries Rt. 22 traffic. Unlike most bridges, this one pivots and swings out to let boats pass. 

     You might have a dog in your front yard. Here is the Deep South they have hogs.

     The second best view of the parade is from a drone

     The best view is a bird’s eye

50 Mardi Gras Parades, Louisiana

Day 1216

     There are over 50 parades in the New Orleans area during Carnival Season. 

     Since we have been here during Mardi Gras a number of times, we will only go to 2 or 3 parades, as they become redundant.

     We went to this night parade in Mandeville, Louisiana

     There were marching bands

     Lots of Floats

     Dancers – These are the milkmaids

     And, of course, the gift shop

     Throw me something, mister!

     Barbara kidnapped this little boy. Notice she is wearing a lighted crown. I stayed away from her, so as not to be embarrassed.

     We saw the lazy-boy recliner motorized group

     We will probably go to the Boat Parade next.

It’s Party Time, New Orleans

Day 1212

     In Maryland, the day before Ash Wednesday is called “TUESDAY”. Here in the Big Easy, the day before Ash Wednesday is called “Mardi Gras”. Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday.

     Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

     Mardi Gras season became a prelude too Lent, the 47 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard, cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.

     Mardi Gras this year falls on Tuesday, February 25. However the parades of Mardi Gras began here on January 6th.

     So, you might ask, who builds the floats, and where are they stored until parade time? Today, we searched out that answer.

     We visited Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. Kern Studios was founded in 1932 as a float building company for New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parades. Roy Kern was a local New Orleans artist who worked his way through the Great Depression by painting signs for barges and freighters in the Port of New Orleans. Roy’s son, Blaine Kern, was also an artist and in 1932 father and son were invited to build a float for one of the krewes for the Mardi Gras Parade. They have been doing so ever since. Today, Kern Studios builds parade floats for 18 different krewes.

      We found the workers hard at work:

     The floats start as a nondescript piece of styrofoam that is shaped into the various pieces of the float.

     It is then papermached to become a seamless piece

     and then painted.

     Plywood pieces are painted with various designs

     and then cut to be placed on the float.

     There are a gazillion accessories that are available to add to the float

     even spare body parts.

     The floats are completed by being placed on a chassis (sort of like the one the Sphinx is on) to be pulled by a motorized vehicle.

     These completed floats will be delivered this week to the various Krewes that ordered them to be in their respected parades. The cost of the float, from conception to completion, is between $100,000 and $250,000 each. 

     Well, I will post my next blog when pigs fly:

Bored In Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Day 1208

     Since we have been at this campground 7 times, I am running out of new sites to see. So what do we do? Gamble.

     Drove just over the Mississippi line to the Silver Slipper Casino. 

     Now, I can not just stay home and be bored, but I can stay home and be bored broke. 

     Actually, not that bored. There are many activities at the campground we are located, but I am anxious to get back on the road. 

Reunion Lake RV Park, Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Day 1191

     We have reached our winter destination. It took us 6 days to cover  the 1,372.9 miles. This is the 6th time we have stayed at Reunion Lake. We will winter here until tax day and then move on to our next destination. Barbara’s brother, nieces and nephews live in the area, plus other RV’ers we have camped with in the past are here at the park. Since we will be here for Mardi Gras, we will go to New Orleans for the parades. 

Technical Stuff:

Chattahoochee, Florida to Ponchatoula, La: 355.7 miles

6 hours 32 minutes

10.0 MPG

Diesel: $2.83

Abita Spring Brewery, Abita Springs, La

Day 971

     Jim Patton, born February 24, 1953, was a cultural anthropologist (a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans) and craft beer brewer. Considered one of the pioneers in the craft beer brewing industry, in 1986 he founded the Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana, which we visited. 

     The company brews its beer with water from the artesian wells in Abita Springs (see Day  874). An artesian aquifer is trapped water, surrounded by layers of impermeable rock which apply positive pressure to the water contained within the aquifer. A well sunk into an this aquifer would cause the water to rise to a height where hydrostatic equilibrium is reached. This is supposed to be the purist of water (no fish poop).

     Tidbit of Information: Artesian wells were named after the province of Artois in France, where many artesian wells were drilled by Carthusian monks from 1126.

     Some of us were not wearing proper footwear and therefore had to wear these blue booties. 

Gramercy, Louisiana

Day 967

     Gramercy, Louisiana, is one of the small towns near us. It was originally a trading post between the Indians and French settlement. Although settled around 1739, it was not incorporated until 1947.

     It’s distinguishing mark today is The Colonial Sugars Refinery. Founded in 1895 by a group of financiers from Gramercy Park, New York, from which the town gains it’s name, the refinery is still in operation and currently owned by Savannah Foods.

Ok, I know, not very picturesque. It’s a slow day. 

Oh Good, Another Church

Day 966

     As you have probably noticed, Barbara is fascinated by churches as we have been traveling around the country. Something about beauty, style, and symmetry.

     Since we have been staying in Convent, Louisiana, we have been to Thibodaux a number of times, as it is the only sizable city in the area (and has a Walmart). By “in the area” I mean an hour’s drive.

     This necessitates us crossing the Mississippi River.

     Barbara has been driving recently, as we are sharing that responsibility. I get to be passenger.

     Because of it’s position on the Mississippi River, Thibodaux was an early settlement in the area, and attracted people of many faiths. Therefore it has quite a few churches (I don’t recall seeing any synagogues).

     The most notable is St. Joseph Co-Cathedral. The original church was built in 1819, then rebuilt in 1849 and destroyed by a fire in 1916. The present church was begun in 1920, and completed 3 years later. On March 2, 1977 Pope Paul VI established the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, and the church became a Co-Cathedral. 

     I can go over the architect style, but it bores me, so I know it will bore you. 

     The main feature in the interior is the 34 foot high Baldachin in the apse.

     The most curious item in the church was this

which is The Relic of St. Vitalis of Milan.

     I do have a question that you might answer. I notice that in some churches, like this one, Christ is depicted on the cross with legs crossed and one nail through both feet.

     In other churches his legs are parallel with a nail through each foot. Why the discrepancy?  

     Down the street was The Calvary United Methodist Church, dedicated to and built by the freed slaves of the Civil War in 1867. 


Plantations on the Bayou, Louisiana

Day 965

     Before the Civil War, there were over 200 plantations along Bayou Lafourche in Louisiana. When I think of Southern Plantations (you never hear of Northern Plantations), I think of Tara, or even Pouché Plantation, where we are staying.

     In fact, most plantation houses here are what I refer to as farm houses, that is, not mansions, but houses for everyday people. Such is the case of E. D. White’s Plantation House.

     This house is situated on the banks of the Bayou Lafourche near Thibodaux, and was the residence of two of Louisiana’s foremost political figures: Edward Douglass White, who was governor of Louisiana from 1835 to 1839, and his son, Edward Douglass White (what an original name), who was appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1894 and served as chief justice from 1910 to 1921.

     There are 2 ways to get to E.D.’s house, take US 1, that parallels Bayou Lafourche, or boat down the Bayou. Of course, we took the boat.

     Edward Douglass White, born March 3, 1795 in Maury County, Tennessee, was the illegitimate son of James White, a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was the tenth Governor of Louisiana. The house was built in 1825 by Guillaume Romain Arcement, born January 6, 1772 in St. Suliac, Bretagne, France, and is an example of Creole plantation architecture. Eddie bought the house and plantation in 1829.

     Edward Douglass White Jr. was born in this house on November 3, 1845. Following in his father’s footsteps, he was politician and lawyer. He served in the confederate army during the war. After the war, he was a United States Senator.

     In 1894, President Grover Cleveland appointed White as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. In 1910, President Taft elevated him to the position of Chief Justice. White served as Chief Justice until his death in 1921.

     Barbara served coffee (made with chicory) and corn bread in the replica kitchen outbuilding.

     Tidbit of Information: Do you know what U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice was a former President of the United States? Tune in next week for the answer. Only kidding. It was William Howard Taft. Oddly enough, it was Taft that appointed White to be Chief Justice, and when White died in 1921 it was Taft who succeeded him.

     Ah! The good old days, when you could drink water off your roof:

Bayou Lafourche

Day 964

     Took a boat ride on the Bayou Lafourche. Although the boat holds 22 people, their was only us and one other person, as a large group that booked did not show. 


     The word “bayou” is almost exclusively used in Louisiana as it originates from the Louisiania Indian Choctaw word “bayuk”, which means “small stream”.

     Bayou Lafourche is 106 miles long and flows from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. 1500 years ago this bayou WAS the Mississippi River. During that period of time, because of hurricanes, storms, and flooding, the Mississippi has migrated at some points more than 50 miles, creating 5 distinct deltas.  The name Lafourche is from the French word for “the fork”, and alludes to the bayou’s large outflow of Mississippi River water.

     Nice, leisurely ride, birds but no alligators.

Houmas House Plantation, Burnside, Louisiana

Day 956

     We followed the Mississippi River, passing alternating plantation and factory, until we reached Houmas Planation. We were told this plantation, and it’s gardens, were the most lovely along this part of the river.

     The name comes from the Houmas Indians who inhabited this area when the first French settlers, Alexander Latil and Maurice Conway, arrived here in 1774. The plantation was part of the Louisiana Purchase, and passed through many hands over the years. The current mansion was built in 1840. 

     We toured the mansion and surrounding buildings, where we were met by the woman of the house.

It contained some interesting things,

like this voodoo death mask,

This Lincoln carving 

was done by Gutzon Borglum, who carved Mt. Rushmore (see day 168)

Complete with spiral staircase

And the usual chandelier 

There was a formal dining room

But you had to dress to the nine’s

Dine in the Marie Antoinette tradition 

The gardens and fountains were neat

bet those Muslim congresswomen want to have this statute removed.

This is the remains of a southern torpedo boat, built about 1863 to attack the ships of the Northern blockade. I don’t know why it is here.

No frogs on the Lilly pads, but I did find a turtle.

For some reason, turkeys were roaming around.

The grounds contained this 500 year Oak

with birds wandering around

Don’t worry, I won the battle.

We came upon this caged cockatiel, all it would say was “Rita”.

Hope you don’t get behind in the readings of my blog.

Life on the Mississippi River – Part Two

Day 955

     Mark Anderson is a great story teller. He told us of the ghost of Poché Plantation, a black ghost (unlike Casper, a white ghost that could walk through objects and walls, this black ghost could not. Instead if it walked into something, it would back-up and go another way). Mark does not believe in ghosts, however a number of guests told him that during the night they heard one moving around upstairs (when Mark first fixed-up Poché Plantation, he rented it out as a bed and breakfast). Finally he decided to track the ghost down. One night he went searching for what he thought would be nothing. Then he heard it. He peered into the rooms, and in one room he saw 2  glowing eyes looking at him. He jumped, so scared he thought he might die. A cat then jumped out and ran away. But he still heard the noise. Trembling, he carried on. Then he found the black ghost, and trapped it under a bed. Reaching down he grabbed it. It was an IRobot, programed to clean between 11:00 PM and 2 AM. At 2 AM, it would return to it’s docking station. One of Anderson’s helpers had purchased the item. 

     Being the entrepreneur that he is, Anderson went to local restaurants and convinced them if a customer came in and said they saw the Robo Ghost at Poché Plantation they would give them $5.00 off. Sort of a verbal coupon.

     He bought a couple of pianos for the house, one of which was a grand piano which he placed in the corner of one of the rooms. The floor was so weak that the weight of the piano broke though and landed on the floor below, shattered. Always looking for an opportunity, he had the legs of that piano made into this piano stool.

     Interesting observation: Judge Poché built the house in 1867, after the Civil War and at a time when Carpetbaggers were raiding the area, and poverty was everywhere. Nevertheless, this magnificent house was built, using materials that were in scarce supply, and containing fireplaces that were made before the Civil War (which means they probably were looted from other houses).

     The rumor is that Felix Pierre Poché was a Northern Spy. While other Plantation Houses were being burned and looted, his was being built. 

     Adding to this conspiracy theory, it was learned that during the war, Captain Poché kept a detailed daily diary. The diary was found hidden in the house 20 years later. Poché wrote the diary in French (so it could not be read by the confederates if found?). The diary was translated and published into this book: 

Life on the Mississippi River – Part One

Day 954

     Because of the recent heavy rains, we again walked the levee of the Mississippi River across from our campground. The river is 12 feet above it’s normal level. Controlled by 3 gates, this dumpster would normally be on dry land.

     In the early 1900’s this portion of the river was the slowest and most shallow, because of the bend in the river at this point. I was surprised that the Mississippi was not a straight river, as it appears on maps. Actually, it winds around and around. Here, at Convent, you could walk across the mile wide river. At that time a rope was strung across the river and for 1 cent you and your horse could walk from shore to shore. 25 cents if you had a wagon. 

     Plantations grew up along River Road, which provided transport to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Today, you see a plantation, then a factory, a plantation, then a factory. These are no small factories, covering 30 acres or more. Next to the plantation we are staying is a fertilizer factory. After the next plantation is a coal shipping factory. Coal is brought in by trains and transferred to barges. 

     If there are 2 houses together and a church, that is a town. Convent is the Parish Seat because there are 4 houses, a church, and a courthouse. 

     Fact, fiction, or plain bull crap. You never really know. We have now traveled around the Country for 954 days. I document in this Blog where we have been, what we have done, and the history of places we stayed and visited. I rely on the local townspeople to supply this information. 

     We are staying for the month of May at Poché Plantation in Convent, Louisiana. I retold the history of Judge Poché and the Plantation House and grounds as told to us by the campground manager, who was our tour guide. 

     Today, we took another tour of the Plantation House, this time our guide was the owner and lifelong resident on the Mississippi River, Mark Anderson. His family has grown sugar cane here for generations

     Mark, himself is an amazing guy. At a young age he invented and patented a mold for making cement pathways that he sold for a profit. He owned over 28 local newspapers around the country, which he ultimately sold. He is a national foosball champion. He owned a string of muffler shops. He has developed a number of RV parks, and owns several historic buildings that he is renovating for public display. On April 29, 2013 he won $70,000 (after taxes) in the Louisiana Scratch-off lottery. 

     He originally went to the auction of the Poché Plantation House to buy a rug for his RV. They auctioned off all the contents of the house, and moved on to the house itself. No one put in a bid, the price kept dropping until Anderson said it was a steal. 

     In giving us a tour of the house he told us what I suspected in tours of other mansions we have seen. On Day 946 our tour guide told us since the contents were auctioned off prior to the sale to Anderson, he acquired furnishings for the house from the same era, 1800’s. Anderson informed us every single item in the house he got at an auction, cheap sale, or donation. For example, this chandelier in the dining room he saw for sale for $85,000, but he bought this one on e-bay for less then $10.00.

     This cabinet he purchased at an auction after Katrina for $200.00, which was an amazing price for this beautiful artwork. A short time afterwards the police arrived looking for items stolen from houses after the storm. Evidently they were not able to confirm if it in fact was stolen. 

     He acquired beautiful red wood lumber from Brazil that came to the US, but the entry fee was not paid. He got a good deal and then had craftsman David Oubre make this tester bed. 

     You might ask, why is there a cross on the bed? The answer is, to cover a hole in the covering. 

     He informed us some of the rugs in the house he purchased on QVC. A short time after he restored this property, he had a party for those in the area to put together the history of the Plantation. He found that the stories he was making up were far more interesting. 


Donaldsonville, Louisiana

Day 948

     Across from where we are camping, on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, is Donaldsonville. In 1806, William Donaldson subdivided a farm which he owned, and platted the city which would adopt his name. The Louisiana legislature incorporated the city on March 25, 1813. For a short period, January 1829 to January 1831, Donaldsonville was the Capital of Louisiana. 

     Strolled through the “historic district”. While there were some unique buildings.

     Most were just old and run down.

     I guess “historic” means “dilapidated”.

Poché Plantation, Convent, Lousiana

Day 946

     Our current campsite is located on what use to be a sugar cane plantation in Convent, Louisiana, on the east bank of the Mississippi River.

     Felix Pierre Poché was born May 18, 1836 in St. James Parish, Louisiana, to a family of French Acadian origin. A Confederate Captain in the Civil War, he was a Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court from April 5, 1880 to April 5, 1890.

     The Judge Felix Poché Plantation House was built in 1867. When Judge Poché built the home, the land was already the site of a 160-acre sugar cane plantation. Poché maintained the plantation as his main residence until 1892 when he sold the property and moved to New Orleans, where he died a few years later. The property passed through 6 other owners until it was bought at auction on December 15, 2004 by Mark J. Anderson, a self made millionaire, who restored the Plantation House and turned the grounds into an RV Park.

     Over the ensuing one hundred and thirty seven years since Poché lived here, the plantation house had come to ruin. However, restored with furnishings from the era of the mid to late 1800’s by Anderson, it is now very impressive.

     With 13′ ceilings and floor to ceiling windows,

     You just don’t find craftsmanship like this today:

     or this dresser (there she goes, touching again).

     Outside were fountains sparkling in the sunlight:

     Servants quarters extended from the rear of the house:

     I bet Judge Poché was really proud when this surrey with the fringe on top was brand new:

Convent, Louisiana

Day 945

     The community in which our current RV park is located was first settled in 1722 and named Baron after one of those first settlers, Canadian Pierre Baron, who remained here until 1739. In the late 18th Century it was renamed St. Michel. In gratitude for the Sacred Heart Convent opening in 1825, the name was changed to Convent. 

     St. James Parish is located midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River. The original settlers carved this parish from a wilderness on both banks of the river. It is one of the state’s nineteen original parishes, created by an act of the Orleans Territorial Legislature on March 31, 1807. The original seat of government was the community of St. James on the west bank of the Mississippi, but this was moved in 1869 to Convent, on the east bank, where we are located.

      St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church was built in 1809, and is located within walking distance of the Sphinx. It’s hand carved altar is from the 1889 Paris World’s Fair. 

     Behind the altar of St. Michael

is the Lourdes Grotto. Since 1876, Catholics have come to the grotto to pray and leave personal items when their prayers are answered. The grotto is unique because its altar is made of shells collected from the Mississippi River. The “rocks” which make up the Lourdes Grotto are actually bagasse. Bagasse is a product of the sugar-making process, which is an important industry in the area.

     Artistic representations of the Lamb of God are common in Catholic churches (of course I know this because I am Jewish). But, the lamb above the altar in St. Michael is different. It looks like it’s looking at you. All the time. No matter where you walk in the church.

     The graveyard of the Church was begun in 1827,

however the locals had already used this area for burying their dead 20 years earlier. Unfortunately, these old graves made of brick have deteriorated. 

     This sign makes note of this:

     “Drove my Sphinx to the levee, but the levee was dry.” We hiked up to the levee of the Mississippi River, opposite our campsite.

     At this point on the river, cargo from ships are transferred to barges for further travel on the river. Today a Russian cargo ship was unloading pot ash to the barges.

     We are on the east bank of the River,

     so we saw the sun set in the west.

Technical Stuff: Ponchatoula, La. to Convent, La: 70.7 miles

1 hour 50 minutes

11.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Easter In Louisiana

Day 940

     We are in Louisiana at Easter. What do we do? Go to a Louisiana Crawfish Boil, of course.

     Crawfish are from the lobster family, but much smaller. 

     Tidbit of Information: Louisiana supplies 95% of the crawfish harvested in the US.

     Our host got 35 pounds of live crawfish

     He brought his pot of water to a boil.

     Put in the screaming crawfish.

     Then put in seasoning,


     and his secret ingredient.

     Checked periodically.

      When they were done, added ice to stop the boiling.

    Then added corn, sausage, potatoes and finished cooking.

     Took out a crawfish to make sure they were dead.

     Their is nothing worse than bitting in to a crawfish and finding out it is still alive.

     Then the feasting begins.

     Next time: Charbroiled Oysters.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

Day 932

The annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival was this weekend.

There were so many people, the police were going around in circles.

As I mentioned in post Day 296 on Ponchatoula, the train goes through the center of town. The parade had to stop as the train did not slow down.

There were the usual floats,

and characters

Every Parade around New Orleans (Ponchatoula is 1 hour north) is Mardi Gras.

Plenty of food.

And, of course, funnel cakes.


and dancing

I was going to win a cupie doll for Barbara, but no room in the Sphinx.

Plenty of rides (can you see Barbara”s feet?).

Everyone had a great time.

Jefferson Island, Louisiana

Day 929

     Joseph Jefferson was born February 20, 1829 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He became famous for his adaptation and portrayal of Washington Irving’s story of Rip Van Winkle, presenting over 4,500 performances.

     In 1869 Jefferson bought a place called Orange Island in New Iberia, Louisiana. There he built his winter mansion. The site is on a peninsula on Lake Peigneur; the peninsula became known as Jefferson Island in his honor.

    Jefferson Island is not really an island, but one of five salt domes in this area that rise 75 to over 100 feet above the surrounding landscape. The water from an ancient sea that once covered parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi evaporated leaving behind large salt deposits. The deposits were then covered by thousands of feet of sediment. Salt, which was less dense than the sediment, found its way upward in the form of bulbous columns. The rising columns of salt formed the 5 Louisiana “islands” that exist today.

     A worker in 1923 unearthed three boxes under these oaks filled with gold and silver coins. The treasure is believed to have been buried by Pirate Jean Lafitte between the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

     President Grover Cleveland was often a guest of Jefferson, and would nap under this live oak, now called The Cleveland Oak.

     When Jefferson died in 1905, his heirs held onto the property for a while and eventually sold Jefferson Island and the 2,000 acre plantation to John Lyle Bayless. Bayless was not interested in the mansion, but in the salt that lay beneath adjacent Lake Peigneur. He and several partners began mining salt.

     In the late 1950s, John Bayless’ son and heir to the estate, began developing gardens around the mansion after selling the salt mine. In 1980 he built a multi-million dollar dream home on the shores of the lake. Nine months after moving in, on November 20, 1980, a Texaco oil-drilling team on a platform out in the lake (oil is frequently trapped in the rock strata surrounding salt domes) accidentally drilled into the Diamond Crystal Salt Company salt mine under the lake. The 14″ drill bit punctured the roof of the mine that created an opening in the bottom of the lake.

     The lake then drained into the hole, expanding the size of that hole as the soil and salt were washed into the mine by the rushing water, filling the enormous caverns that had been left by the removal of salt since 1919. The resultant whirlpool sucked in the drilling platform, eleven barges, a tugboat, and 65 acres of the surrounding land, including Bayless’ home. All that’s left of John Bayless’ new home was this fireplace, which was on the second floor,  and now shows above the waterline.

      The damage to the island took 4 years to recover and rebuild, and is now open to the public. We toured the mansion.

    And viewed the gardens.

     Flowers were in bloom.

     This fountain is made from cups used to mine the salt.

     At the entrance to the property was a bird sanctuary.

     And guess what? We saw birds.

     Don’t ask me to name them, who can remember?

     The water was infested with alligators.

St. Tammany Parish

Day 923

     The State of Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes (French: paroisses) in the same manner that 43 other states of the United States are divided into counties, and 6 states (including Alaska) are divided into boroughs. Nine of the parishes are named for Saints. St. Tammany Parish is named after the Delaware Indian Chief Tamanend, born in 1628, who made peace with William Penn at the time Philadelphia was established. Among the nine Louisiana parishes named for “saints”, St. Tammany is the only one whose eponym is not a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, Tamanend is not known to have been a Christian, and was certainly not a Roman Catholic. However, he became popularly revered as an “American patron saint” in the post-Revolutionary period.

     Tidbit of Information: An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or after which something is named. You see, you learn something new every day.

     Lacombe, located in St. Tammany Parish, is a Creole colony first visited by Pierre le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville in 1699. It is a very small town near us, so we decided to visit. We get most of the information for this blog from the local people, like this gentlemen, who helped establish this museum of Lacombe a few years ago.

     He informed us that Lacombe was established because of it’s clay. At that time New Orleans would burn down every 5 years or so because everything was made of wood. Someone got the bright idea to build the structures of brick. That brick came from Lacombe.

     Well, got to go, today is wash day.

Bayou Lacombe, Louisiana

Day 910

     Traveling around this part of Louisiana, we came across a vendor selling shrimp right off the boat, so we stopped to buy.

     Barbara beat the pelican to the front of the line, with a crane coming up to be third. Yogi Bear told us to wait for him.

     With spring finally arriving, Barbara heard azaleas were in bloom down by Bayou Lacombe. So, off we went.

     Richard Webster Leche was born May 17, 1898 in New Orleans. He was a dirty, rotten politician who ultimately became Louisiana’s 44th Governor. Corruption was to become the major feature of his administration. Shortly after becoming Governor, he claimed “When I took the oath of office, I didn’t take any vow of poverty.”  He served from 1936 until 1939, when he resigned as a result of criminal charges. Convicted on charges of misuse of federal funds, Leche was the first Louisiana chief executive to be imprisoned, but not the last.

     The estate and gardens we visited today were purchased by Leche in 1946 upon his release from prison. The land and buildings were acquired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1998 and opened to the public. Governor Leche’s house was not very impressive:

     The gardens were nice, with the azaleas in bloom.

     Hiked down to the Bayou, no frogs on the lily pads.

     Spring is here.

Another Mardi Gras Parade, La

Day 889

     During the day we lounged around at Reunion Lake. We will be here for a month in the warm weather. It’s snowing in Maryland. 

     In the evening we went to the Krewe of Orpheus Parade. It started off with bubbles 

     The Krewe of Orpheus derives its name from the mortal Orpheus, son of the god Apollo and the muse Calliope.

     They had some weird floats



Global Wildlife Center, Folsom, Louisiana

Day 885

     So, where can you find the largest totally free-roaming wildlife center in the United States?

     It is in Folsom, Louisiana. The Global Wildlife Center has 4,000 animals, most from Africa, on 900 acres of land. 

     So, Jay, we couldn’t go to Africa, so Africa came to us. 

     The reticulated giraffe is native to the Horn of Africa, (the Rothschild giraffe is most commonly seen in zoos).

     Père David’s deer is no ordinary deer. With two sets of  antlers (one set for summer, and the other for winter), atop a head shaped like a horse, the animal has a donkey’s tail, and hooves like a cow but with webbing between the toes for swimming. The 550 lb. animal, native to China’s Yangtze River basin, was already disappearing in the late 19th century when French missionary Père (Father) David first saw them. He thought they were a new species and managed to obtain 18 of the deer. Afterwards, because of severe weather conditions, and the boxer rebellion, there were no longer any of these deer left in China. Father David’s deer, now named for the priest, is now being re-established from those in Father David’s original possession, on reserves such as this, and are being re-introduced in China.

     The Rheas are distantly related to the ostrich and emu and are native to South America.

     I can see your eyes glazing over with my detailed description, so I’ll just say what other animals we saw:



Both 1 and 2 hump







    The animals would come up to our tram so you could feed them

and pet them (if you are into that)


Mardi Gras on the River

Day 883

     Not all Mardi Gras parades take place on land. Krewe of Hades had theirs on the Tchefuncte River.

    The Tchefuncte River is about 70 miles long and drains into Lake Pontchartrain. The name Tchefuncte is derived from the word Hachofakti, which is the Choctaw word for the chinquapin leaf, from the dwarf chestnut, a spreading shrub. The Choctaw made an infusion of chinquapin leaves to relieve headaches and fevers.

     We sat on the banks in Madisonville to view the parade. There were 14 boats in the Parade, ranging from big

to medium

to small

     Madisonville, Louisiana, was originally called “Cokie” (from Coquille, the French word for “shell”, like an oyster shell) because of the abundance of shells in the area. However, about 1811, the town was re-named for President James Madison.

     We watched the boats as they went down the river a way, turned around and docketed in front of us to throw out beads and trinkets.

It’s Mardi Gras Time

Day 882

     It is that time of year where Mardi Gras celebration is the big thing in the New Orleans area. Over the next 10 days there will be over 50 parades.

     This evening we attended the parade of the Krewe of Eve, in St. Tammany Parish.

     There were marching bands


     Large Floats,

     mostly celebrating women, like Wonder Woman:

     Some of the floats were so large,

     I had to take two photos

     The kids were enthusiastic about collecting beads and trinkets


    What did Barbara have to do to get all those beads?

     Sorry, photo has been edited for content

     A good time was had by all

Mandeville, Louisiana

Day 879

     Mandeville is located on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, across the lake from the city of New Orleans, on the South Shore (isn’t that clever?). Mandeville get’s its name from a village in Normandy, France. It means “big farm” (from Magna Villa) in medieval Norman French.

      The town of Mandeville was laid out in 1834 by developer Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, more often known as Bernard de Marigny. In 1840 Mandeville was incorporated as a town. It became a popular summer destination for well-to-do New Orleanians wishing to escape the city’s heat.

     Bernard (Bernie to his friends), was born in New Orleans in 1785, the third generation of his family to be born in colonial Louisiana. A French-Creole American nobleman, playboy, planter, politician, duelist (he participated in 15 duels), writer, horse breeder, and land developer.

     Tidbit of Information: One of the things Bernie brought back to New Orleans from his visit to England was the dice game Hazard, which became popular in a simplified form known in local dialect as “Crapaud”, what we now call Craps. Barnard eventually lost his fortune gambling and died impoverished in 1868.

     We walked the pathway along the lake.

     Once upon a time there was a beach between the breaker wall and the lake. Steps were built so you could go down to the beach.

     The lake has risen because of the building of levies. 

     Lake Pontchartrain is named for Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain. He was the French Minister of the Marine during the reign of France’s King Louis XIV, for whom the colony of La Louisiane was named. Lake Pontchartrain is an estuary connected to the Gulf of Mexico  

     Along this path were numerous live oaks, like this one from 1799:

   Because of storms and hurricanes, this tree did not weather well. You can see 3 posts that hold the branches up.  Now, this tree from 1709, faired much better:

     There were many more live oaks along our path, but they were much younger,  around 1850. Just image, these trees were here during the Civil War. 

     Also along our path were fancy estates, like the Theodore Verret House, built in 1849. 

John Preble’s Mystery House, Abita, Louisiana

Day 875

     John Preble’s Mystery House is a fun roadside attraction in Abita Springs, Louisiana. 

     John Preble was born 1948 in New Orleans Louisiana. Preble had received traditional training as a painter, and had gained recognition in the art world for his portraits of Créole Indians, but he chose to focus on work outside of the mainstream.

     Being a collector of oddities for many years, he opened up this museum in 2000, after he received financial security as a painter. Barbara heard that one of his main attractions was a 36 ft. alligator.

     The UCM Museum, pronounced “you-see-em”, is a family-operated roadside attraction located in an old 1950’s car service station in Abita.  He is not afraid to ask the tuff questions:

     Originally called the UCM Museum till its name change in 2007 because the word “Museum” didn’t actually describe what he was exhibiting.

     You are really old if you remember this:

     We did come across that 36 ft. alligator:

     Barbara wasn’t really sure if she wanted to be recognized with me:

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Day 874

     Abita Springs, Louisiana, was originally a Choctaw Indian village, who settled this area because of the artesian spring, which they named “Ibetap”, meaning “fountain”. That Choctaw word was Anglicized to “Abita”.

     In 1820, the first Louisiana pioneers settled here, seeking the medicinal powers of the springs. In 1853, Joseph St. Auge Bossiere purchased from the United States Government “all said described lands adjoining and situated in Abita Creek, in the Parish of St. Tammany, and being the same on which the Abita Springs are situated”. From there, this small town grew. 

     Tammany Trace is a 31 mile bike/walk path that stretches from Covington to Slidell. The Trace was once a part of the Illinois Central railroad and goes straight through the center of Abita Springs. We hiked a portion of this path.

Perils of Camping

Day 869

     Last night, actually 1:30 this morning, we answered a knock at our door. It was a white women, about 35 years old, who told us her husband locked her out of her RV. She had been outside for a couple of hours, and wanted to come in and have us call an ambulance, as she thought she had hyperthermia. The temperature was 45 degrees. 

     I called 911 and requested the ambulance. The police arrived about 20 minutes later, but their code to the front gate did not work. I gave them my code, and that did not work either. Fortunately, our campsite was a short walk from the front gate, and that is how they arrived. I used one of the those hi-powered flashlights you see on TV, that has a strobe setting, to signal where I was. 

     By this time, the husband was walking around the campground looking for his wife, and evidently spoke with the police. They took the young lady out of the Sphinx. I never did see an ambulance. 

     This brings up the age old question: should we carry a firearm? We had this conversation when we first set out on our adventure. We took a vote. It was a tie, so, naturally, I lost. 

Fontainebleau State Park, Louisiana

Day 862

     Went on a guided bird watch through Fontainebleau State Park, located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. This land was originally owned by Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, born in New Orleans in 1785.  He named his large holding Fontainebleau, after the forest near Paris, France. The state originally named the park Tchefuncte State Park and Conservation Reservation, after the Tchefuncte River. Who knows why they went back to the Fontainebleau name. 

     They had some 200 year old live Oak Trees:

     Most of the birds we saw were bland:

     The most colorful bird was this moorhen:

     I did see this yellow-head sapien looker. Usually in this marsh area, they are on boardwalks or dirt paths:

     The pelicans were flying in formation:


Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Day 851

     We are now back here for the 5th time (see Day 605). We really enjoy this campground, especially when it is snowing in Maryland. The problem is that we have seen all the sights in this area. I guess we will have to look for something further out. 

Technical Stuff: Holt, Florida to Ponchatoula, Louisiana: 234.3 miles

4 hours 52 minutes

11.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.75

New Orleans, Louisiana

Day 813

     Today, Thanksgiving day, we went to downtown New Orleans, where Barbara volunteered to help feed the homeless. 

     We were under the I-90 freeway.

       It was not the best of neighborhoods. 

     She feed about 100 people.

     There were about 30 volunteers serving food with her. 

         We then had a delicious, deep fried Louisiana style turkey dinner at her niece’s house. Don’t worry, I don’t publish photo’s of my dinner plate (how tacky). 


Iowa, Louisiana

Day 608

     We are in Iowa, not the State, Iowa Louisiana. The town of “Iowa” is actually pronounced with the long A sound at the end, opposed to the pronunciation of the state of Iowa. 

     The town was established in the mid 1800’s as settlers from the State of Iowa came here by advertisements placed in local newspapers by Seaman A. Knapp, who wanted to attract farmers to the area to employ a method he had developed for farming. They named this town for their State (how original).

     Sometimes we look out of our back window and we see babbling brooks, lazy rivers, or vast vistas. And sometimes we see this:

Technical Stuff:

Ponchatoula, La to Iowa, La: 164.5 miles

3 hours 14 minutes

11.2 MPG

Diesel: $2.59

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Day 605

     We are back in Ponchatoula, Louisiana to visit with Barbara’s brother and niece, and her children. Her niece has two sons, 4 and 6, who made us these welcome paintings, which we have displayed on our refrigerator: 


     See my posts on day 280 and 296 for my comments on Ponchatoula.  

Technical Stuff: 

Meridian, Mississippi to Ponchatoula, Louisiana: 209.8 miles

4 hours even

10.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.53

New Orleans, Louisiana

Day 525

     Back to New Orleans to visit with relatives. We stayed again in Ponchatoula (see day 280).

     Went to the National WWII Museum. We started with a 4D presentation, Beyond All Boundaries. A breathtaking experience.

     The museum, consisting of 5 buildings, was divided into two sections, The European War, and the War in the Pacific. It covered all the battles of each. The museum was so expansive we did not have time to see two of the buildings dealing with the vehicles and planes used in the war, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) scientific advancements made in World War II.

Technical Stuff:

Duson, Louisiana to Ponchatoula, Lousiana: 116.8 miles

2 hours 22 minutes

12.3 MPG

Diesel: $2.40

Lake Martin’s Swamp, Louisiana

Day 524

Day 524 Lake Martin's Swamp LA7852_Fotor

     Lake Martin is one of Louisiana’s swamplands. I enjoy swamps, and so we took a swamp tour. This was done in a 16 person swamp boat that took us on a leisurely 2 hour tour. This swamp is situated between Breaux Bridge and Lafayette, Louisiana. It is composed of about 9500 acres. Lake Martin, also known as Lake La Pointe, was formed in 1952 by constructing a levee around the existing natural lake. The flooding of the surrounding area is what forms the swamp (an area of flooded, standing water).

Day 524 Lake Martin's Swamp LA7849_Fotor

We met the inhabitants of the swamp: Turtles

Day 524 Lake Martin's Swamp LA7909_Fotor


Day 524 Lake Martin's Swamp LA7878_Fotor




Rayne, Louisiana

Day 523

     The city of Rayne has a lot to croak about!

      In a small town in the middle of Louisiana’s Cajun prairie, a stone’s throw from New Orleans, is a town called Rayne, where frogs have gained iconographic stature. Frogs and Rayne have a relatively long history that dates back to the 1880s, when a gourmet chef named Donat Pucheu started selling juicy, delectable bullfrogs to New Orleans restaurants. Word of Rayne’s frog delicacies spread like wildfire, and soon attracted the Weill Brothers from France, who started a lucrative business exporting frogs to restaurants. For years, world-renowned restaurants like Sardi’s in New York boasted of offering frog legs from Rayne, Louisiana. (Plagiarized from “The History of Rayne”, published by the town)

     The city of Rayne goes back to the 1800’s when the railroad came to town. The city was first called Pouppeville, but changed their name to honor the engineer who laid the tracks.

     We are in the heart of Acadia. The Acadians were run out of Nova Scotia and a lot of them went to Louisiana, so there is a heavy French heritage down here. Those decedents are now called Cajuns.


     Because of it’s frog heritage, there are frog statutes throughout the town:

     Rayne is also known for it’s murals:

     Many murals represent the business on who’s wall it is painted, and of course, feature frogs:

Duson, Louisiana

Day 522

     Originally known as “Duson Station”, the village of Duson was incorporated on December 16, 1909, named after the legendary Louisiana lawman, Curley Duson.

     Cornelius C. Duson was born August 31, 1846 in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana  He was the sheriff of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana from 1874 to 1888. In 1906, Curely Duson was appointed to the position of US Marshal for the Western District of Louisiana by President Theodore Roosevelt. He and his brother, William W. Duson, played a leading part in the development of southwestern Louisiana, including the town of Crowley, whereby an extensive area of almost worthless marsh lands has been transformed into the largest rice-producing section of the United States.

     We visited the town of Crowley which was born on January 4, 1887 with the construction of the town’s first building. By virtue of the town growing to 5,000 residents, it was officially declared a city on December 16, 1903. The town was named after Pat Crowley, an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad, who was persuaded by the Duson brothers to lay a spur from the railroad to their town. 

     The city government of Crowley is located in the Crowley Motor Co. building. Built in 1920, this building was one of the first Ford Dealerships. With the introduction of the Ford Model T, Henry Ford built 1000 dealerships throughout the Country. He would ship his cars by railroad to these dealerships for sale. This is only 1 of 4 left of those 1000. 

Day 523 Crowley LA7945_Fotor

     When the cars arrived, they were loaded on an elevator to be lifted to the upper floors. The elevator still works, and is now used as an introduction center for the museums. 

Day 523 Crowley LA7934_Fotor

     The City of Crowley purchased the building in 2000, restoration began in August 2006 and City Hall moved in. The building is also home to four museums, The Rice Interpretive Center, the History of Crowley, J.D.Miller Music Recording Studio and Ford Automotive Museums.

     Tidbit of information: In building the Model T, mountains of sawdust were produced daily at the factory. Looking for a way to recycle the huge amounts of sawdust, Ford in 1920 hit upon the idea of pressing it into small blocks called briquettes and converting them to charcoal which could then be burned for clean, smoke-free heat. His sideline business encouraged recreational use of his cars for picnic outings. E.G. Kingsford eventually bought the process and the familiar Kingsford charcoal has remained a staple of backyard barbecues to this day.

Technical Stuff:

Beaumont, Texas to Duson, Louisiana: 124.7 Miles

2 hours 25 minutes

10. 8 MPG

Diesel: $2.50

Barataria, Louisiana

Day 314

Day 314 Baritaria, La 0965_Fotor

     The two major reasons that Andrew Jackson was able to defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans was the bad luck and confusion of the British and the help of Jean Lafitte. 

     In the 1800’s Barataria was generally referred to that area south of New Orleans to the Barataria Bay, in the the Gulf of Mexico. It was a haven for pirates and smugglers because of the many bayous and waterways where they could hide. The most notable of these pirates was Jean Lafitte.  We visited there and the town named after him.

Day 314 Baritaria, La 0963_Fotor

     Jean Lafitte was born in 1780 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue of French parents. He was a notorious pirate who operated in the Barataria Region. The locals liked him because he was able to provide them with goods they could not otherwise get because of the War of 1812. 

     On September 3, 1814, the British approached Lafitte and offered him riches if he would use his ships and men to help them against the United States. They thought he would help because the US Government was out to capture him and end his piracy operations. Instead, he relayed this offer to the Governor of Louisiana who informed the US Government who in turn sent Jackson to repel the British. 

     When Jackson arrived, he found he was way short of men and no supplies. Lafitte offered him his ships, guns, and men, which Jackson accepted. There is no record that Lafitte himself actually fought in the battle. 

     After Jackson’s victory, Lafitte and his men were pardoned of all crimes against the United States. However Lafitte continued his piracy. On February 5, 1823, Lafitte was wounded in a battle trying to take a Spanish ship. He died of his wounds and was buried at sea. 

     We visited the graveyard in the town of Lafitte.

Day 314 Baritaria, La 0991_Fotor

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Day 313

     Baton Rouge is French for “Red Stick”. French explorer Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d’Iberville led an exploration party up the Mississippi River in 1699. The explorers saw a red pole marking the boundary between the Houma and Bayogoula tribal hunting grounds and named this area Baton Rouge. Today, it is the Capital of Louisiana. We visited the Capital Building, which was conceived by Governor Huey P. Long.

     He died after being shot in this building on September 8, 1935, when accidentally shot by his guards protecting him from a dissenter who had a gun. Bullet holes still remain in the walls. 

Chalmette Cemetery, Louisiana

Day 312

    Chalmette National Cemetery is a 17.5 acre strip of land that sits adjacent to the site of the Battle of New Orleans along the Mississippi River in Chalmette, Louisiana. The cemetery was established in May of 1864 as a final resting place for Civil War dead, both Confederate and Union soldiers alike.

     Approximately 132 Confederate prisoners of war were buried at Chalmette until the Ladies’ Benevolent Association of New Orleans requested that these soldiers be moved out of Chalmette, leaving only Union Soldiers. Later, American soldiers of later wars were added. 

     The most unique grave is this one:

     Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was born January 16, 1843, in Bainbridge, New York. She was the oldest of nine children in the farming family. Wakeman understood the tremendous financial pressure her family was under, and without possible suitors to take on her expenses, Wakeman left her home as a man in 1862 and went to work as a boatman for the Chenango Canal.

     While on her job, she met an army recruiter offering a $152 bounty and enlisted on August 30, 1862, using the male name Lyons Wakeman. The bounty was incredible motivation for Wakeman to enlist, being far more than what she could earn as a woman. Wakeman enlisted as a private of Company H of the 153rd Regiment. She saw battle at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana as part of the Red River Campaign which comprised a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana from March 10 to May 22, 1864. She survived the battle but contracted chronic diarrhea of which she eventually died on June 19, 1864. She was buried here with full military honors. 

Battle of New Orleans

Day 311

     You can’t go to New Orleans without stopping to see where the Battle of New Orleans took place. It took place on the plantation of Ignace Francios Martin de Lino de Chalmet. Born 1755, he was a veteran of the American Revolution. He retired in 1794 and began acquiring land below New Orleans in 1805, which would become the Chalmette Plantation. 

Day 311Battle of New Orleans 0860_Fotor

     Andrew Jackson chose this site to engage the British. The plantation was bordered by a canal which ran between the Mississippi River and the Cypress Swamp. 

     Jackson’s plan was to force the British to march through the stubble of harvested sugarcane fields toward his troops. His troops enlarged the canal, allowing it to fill with water, built a shoulder-high mud rampart thick enough to withstand cannon fire with the mud from the canal. 

     On January 8, 1815, a foggy morning, the British did exactly what Jackson expected, and in the space of the two hour battle, the British lost 2,000 men while Jackson lost 20.

     Plain bad luck and bad management led to the British defeat. The British were led by Sir Edward Pakenham, a capable General who distinguished himself in the Europe and West Indies wars. It just wasn’t his day. He correctly analyzed Jefferson’s strategy, and had his men prepare flotation devises for crossing the Canal and ladders to scale the ramparts. With his 4,000 battled harden soldiers against Jackson’s 2000 men consisting of 500 seasoned troops and the rest local indians, pirates and militia, there was little doubt as to the outcome.

     General Pakenham assigned Captain Thomas Mullins, one of his officers, to build the ladders and  fascines (a rough bundle of brushwood used for making a path across uneven or wet terrain) to be the advance guard for the first column of attack and to carry the ladders and fascines which would enable the British troops to cross the ditch and scale the American ramparts. Mullins lost his way in the fog, realizing his mistake he ordered his men to turn around. They dropped their ladders and fascines so they could fire their weapons. When Pakenham’s main force reached the canal, there was no way to cross. Mullins, trying to get back, blocked the main troops causing mass confusion, all in the cross fire of Jackson’s army. They cut the British down. 

     Well they ran through the briar, they ran through the brambles and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit wouldn’t go. They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.  

Backwater, Louisiana

Day 310

     Day 310 Backwater Louisiana 0923_Fotor

     Traveling around the marshes, swamps and bayous, looking for unusual wildlife (for us). We found alligators,







Day 310 Backwater Louisiana 0902_Fotor


Day 310 Backwater Louisiana 0921_Fotor





Longhorn Cattle

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and this strange statute

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In recognition of the faithful service of the good darkies of Louisiana.


Camp Moore, Louisiana

Day 309

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     Camp Moore is located in Tangipahoa, Louisiana. It was named to honor Thomas Overton Moore, the Civil War Governor of the State of Louisiana. The Camp opened in 1861 and was the largest Confederate training camp in Louisiana. Over 25,000 men, mostly from Louisiana, passed through Camp Moore on their way to war. It was here that they would learn the discipline and drill that would transform farmers and merchants into soldiers. 

     Although no battles were fought here, 800 died as a result of two measles epidemics in 1861 and 1862. 

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     In November, 1864, the Camp was overrun by Union forces and burned to the ground. There were very few confederates here at the time and they just fled the area when the North showed up. 

Louisiana Museum

Day 307

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     The Louisiana Museum is located on Jackson Square in downtown New Orleans. It has two permanent exhibits. On the first floor the story of Hurricanes that hit New Orleans, and in particular, Hurricane Katrina.

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     Second floor houses the history of Mardi Gras.

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     From the second floor you can look out over Jackson Square and observe all the street performers.

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     One of the cool parts of the museum is the video setup where you get the experience of riding the float and throwing beads to the spectators.



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The South Will Not Rise Again, Sorry.

Day 306

   Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard (General G.T. Beauregard) was born May 28, 1818 in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, about 20 miles outside New Orleans. He was superintendent at West Point in 1861, however, after the South seceded he resigned from the United States Army and became the first brigadier general in the Confederate States Army.  He commanded the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina. On April 12, 1861 he fired on Ft. Sumter, signaling the beginning of the Civil War.   Three months later he won the First Battle of Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. He distinguished himself throughout the Civil War. 

     He is honored by an equestrian statute in City Park, New Orleans. The corner stone placed November 14, 1913. In 1999 the statute was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

     The Jefferson Davis Monument, also known as the Jefferson Davis Memorial, is an outdoor sculpture and memorial to Jefferson Davis, installed at Jeff Davis Parkway and Canal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was dedicated February 22, 1911. 

     The Robert E. Lee Monument is appropriately located in Lee Circle, a main intersection and centrally located in New Orleans. It was dedicated February 22, 1884 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

     What is the significance of these three monuments? The Mayor and Legislature of New Orleans agreed with descendants of the freed slaves to remove these monuments as they promote racism. Last week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the City could remove the monuments. 

   This appears to be the last nail in the coffin to prevent the South from rising again. 

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Day 296


    Not all days are exciting. Today we went to Antique Stores. (Why? I don’t know, since she can’t buy anything as there is no room in the RV.)


     The show started at the old Ponchatoula Train Station, now antique stores. 


     Although the train still runs, this station is no longer a train station. The train actually runs through the center of town, and crosses 6 intersections. This train went through the center of town doing about 50 miles an hour, and didn’t slow down. 

     Keep track of us.


Nottoway Plantation, White Castle, Louisiana

Day 292


     John Hampden Randolph was born to a wealthy Virginia family in Nottoway County, Virginia on March 24, 1813.

     Nottoway Plantation, named after the County in which he was born, is located in White Castle, Louisiana, about 76 miles west of New Orleans. The plantation mansion was built by John Randolph in 1859 for his wife and 11 children, and is the largest antebellum plantation house in the South with 53,000 square feet of living

     Nottoway has over an acre of floor space spread out over three floors, with a total of 64 rooms, 165 doors and 200 windows, most of which can also double as

     Before the union troops took over, it was a sugarcane plantation. 


     After the war, President Andrew Jackson issued a proclamation (now called an executive order) that required wealthy southern supporters to travel to Washington and personally apologize to the President for supporting the confederacy and ask for a pardon, which Randolph did on February 14, 1867. 

The Shoe

Day 290


     One of the parades we attended in New Orleans was the Krewe of Muses. Organized in 2000, the Krewe of Muses is named after the legendary daughters of Zeus. In Greek mythology, muses were patrons of the arts and sciences, as well as sources of inspiration for artists, poets, philosophers, and musicians.

     The Krewe of Muses was the first to consist entirely of women. One of their prize throws is a shoe. Each shoe is hand decorated by the Krewe member, and only one is made, not a pair.  Each shoe is unique, and their number is limited. Because of this, they are highly prized among Mardi Gras goers. Unlike the other “throws”, the shoe is handed to a selected parade spectator. Barbara was fortunate enough to be handed the above shoe. 

New Orleans, Louisiana

Day 285


     We went into New Orleans for the day. We visited all the touristy locations, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, the French Quarter, the French Market, the Garden District, rode the trolley, took a ferry ride over to Algiers on the other side of the Mississippi. We will be going back here at least two more

      La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.  The city is named for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who reigned as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723. His title came from the French city of Orléans.

     We stopped by the Bank of Louisiana (see day 274). The bank was liquidated in 1867, and the building is now a police station. 


Mandeville, Louisiana

Day 281

     We are currently near New Orleans in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, where Barbara’s brother lives.  We went to our first Mardi Gras parade here in Mandeville, a suburb of New Orleans. There are about 50 different parades – most in the suburbs, very family oriented. We are going into New Orleans later for three more parades (one right after the other on the same route). Each has a theme and they are getting more and more elaborate as we near actual Mardi Gras day on Fat Tuesday, 2/28/17. 

     Our first Mardi Gras parade was in the pouring rain.


     It did not dampen the spirits of the parade participants

     Or of the spectators

     Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. In many areas, the term “Mardi Gras” has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. However, Mardi Gras is only one day. The rest is called Carnival Season, which starts 12 days after Christmas, January 6th, and goes to Fat Tuesday. (For fabulous prizes, does anyone know the significance of the twelfth day after Christmas?)

     Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and part of eastern Texas.

     In 1703 French settlers in Mobile, Alabama, established the first organized Mardi Gras celebration tradition in what was to become the United States. The first mystic society, or krewe, was formed in Mobile in 1711, the Boeuf Gras Society. It was these secret societies that first organized the parades. Today, these independent societies (no longer secret, by law) sponsor the floats of the parades. The first Mardi Gras parade held in New Orleans took place in 1837.

     You would not believe what Barbara had to do to get those breads. 


Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Day 280

     Ponchatoula, Louisiana, was originally established as a mining camp in 1820, incorporating as a town on February 12, 1861. William Akers was the first mayor and is credited with founding the town, establishing it on land he purchased from the Federal government in 1832. Ponchatoula is a name signifying “falling hair” or “hanging hair”. It was the Indians’ way of expressing the beauty of the location, with much Spanish moss hanging from the trees. 

     Because of it’s close proximity to New Orleans and this being Mardi Gras season, we will be staying here a month. Come by and see us. 

Technical Stuff:

Vidalia, Louisiana to Ponchatoula, Louisiana 138.7 miles

3 hours 15 minutes

11.3 MPG

Diesel: $2.22


Frogmore Plantation, Louisiana

Day 278

     Frogmore Plantation, in what is now called Feriday, Louisiana, was built on an enviable plot of real estate. A farmer named Daniel Morris built the farm along an early wagon trail that stretched from Natchez, Mississippi to Natchitoches—a city that, at 300 years old is Louisiana’s oldest. The trade route eventually led to the Camino Real in Texas, and all of this interstate travel meant that Frogmore’s cotton was easy to ship across the South and beyond. By the time the Civil War came to Louisiana, the once-tiny plantation had grown to a massive 2,640 acres.The plantation is named after Frogmore, England. 

     Today it is still a working cotton plantation, with a section kept as it looked in 1815. Barbara was tasked with picking cotton, but she didn’t meet her quota, and I had to leave her. 


Vidalia, Louisiana

Day 277


     We traveled from Vicksburg, Mississippi to Vidalia, Louisiana on Route 61, the blues road, named for the fact that it was the road taken by many artists going north from New Orleans to Memphis.      

     Our campground is on the Mississippi River in Vidalia, Louisiana, which is across the river from Natchez, Mississippi.


.    We walked along the river bank watching the barges going up and down the river. 


     Vidalia was founded April 21, 1798 by Don José Vidal, when he received a land grant from the Spanish Governor. This territory was under Spanish rule, before the United States acquired it in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. 

Technical Stuff:

Askew’s Landing, Mississippi to Vidalia, Louisiana 96.6 miles.

2 hours 29 minutes

11.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.17