The South 2
“Sir.” ‘U A’ll should just step back into your room”. “It’s on account of the dog sir. – that dog..”
This is the Lighthouse Motel, just off the Interstate (I-10), Lafayette Louisiana. The dog was in the company of six, black-suited officers of the law who were positioned in an arc around the stairs outside our room. Having seen attack dogs in action before, Paul immediately withdrew. – Stuff the washing… Five minutes later, the car park was empty. No dog. No cops. All was quiet. Just another night in a budget motel in the USA!
Our slackness in maintaining our diary over the last few days can be easily explained. We were in N’awlins. (New Orleans) and the ‘Good Times Rolled!” The French Quarter is a maze of narrow streets, Jazz bars, (other bars), antique shops, restaurants, galleries and hotels – we saw every one! The streets are full of life. Even on Christmas Day, people wandered the lanes and the ‘buskers’ staked out every corner and square. The music is what it is all about. Last night, Boxing Day, we found the Maison Bourbon. Drinks cost a queen’s ransom, but the music was well worth it. To square the ledger, we walked uptown and had a few ‘Taco-Bell’s’ takeaways.
Christmas night we had a full Cajun feast. Sorry to report, it was foul, all grey and brown, deep fried and heavy. Grits (a wheat porridge) for breakfast is fine. But the rest is for the birds. When you think about it, this is the food that the very poor ate 150 years ago. We wonder why we want to eat it now – and at outrageous prices!
Avoiding the Interstate Highways, we followed the Mississippi south today to the swamps of Louisiana. Sugar cane fields, sugar mills and chemical plants lined the river for hundreds of Kms. Town after town cower behind the levee banks rebuilt from early 19th Century beginnings and completed during the late 1940’s. The levees are engineering marvels that protect this valuable farming and urban land from inundation during regular Mississippi floods.
Some of the original plantations still remain in southern Louisiana. We visited Nottoway Plantation outside Baton Rouge. Interestingly, it is owned by an Australian who bought it sometime in the 1980s for $US4M. A bargain. The sun was belting down while we toured the beautifully maintained house and grounds, which are largely as they were before the Civil War.
Friday, December 27, we record the funeral of Mama, Janita’s grandmother, who died (Brisbane time) on Monday, December 23. Mama lived a full and happy life and was 101 when she died. She is sadly missed.