Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jamie and Linda

This stop in Gramercy, La, just north of New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite places to visit.

First of all there are two special people, cousin Jamie and his wonderful wife Linda.

Next are Linda's mother, Ethyl Millet (on the right) and her family.  These four delightful Cajuns are examples of the Southern Louisiana charm and grace that make this visit so special.

Here is Linda's family's homestead where those four and other family members meet every afternoon for coffee and to share stories about the good old days--in an accent that sometimes defies translation.

Food is still grown here and I came away with a sample of the goodness..

cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes, squash, yum!

The farm originally raised tobacco and an especially rare form is still grown here.

Linda did a demonstration for us of how she spent her summers as a teenager--stripping!  Tobacco that is. I did not think the job looked that exciting.  And the backaches must have been excruciating.

Then off to the inevitable dinner of fried fish, catfish, and roast beef or fried shrimp po' boys (just look at the size of those po'boys!)

Next stop--Biloxi for the afternoon....

...and lunch at the Blow Fly Inn.

This place has really good seafood and outstanding banana pudding....

....Plus a really great view... 

Hmm, time to go.

Confession time, my cousin-in-law is a magnolia thief!

Biloxi Beach is always worth a trip.

Yes, we saw some signs of oil in that sand but not enough to spoil our visit.

And Loretta was surely having a good time.

One our way back to Gramercy we made a stop in Kenner, La,  to visit some of my favorite "Little People"...

Jamie's grand daughter, Lindsey Marie Hymel

Grandson, Michael Hymel

And charmer, Andrew Hymel.

As you can see here, Loretta was Andrew's favorite.

Jamie and Linda, you are so lucky.

I must say, it is pretty darn nice to visit these folks.  First they fixed the tail light, 

Then Linda climbed up on the roof to inspect the damage I did when I hit the tree at Dickie's, 

And then she pulled out the mop and a hose and WASHED MY RV!  I Know!  You are all green with envy that you don't have a couple of cousins like mine.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Avery Island, Tabasco, Ducros Plantation

I know some of my family are confused--and then there are those who say, "It is Toni who is sooooo confused."  
Yes, I am now in Minnesota.
Yes, I am way behind in posting on my travels.
Yes, I am determined to document it all whenever I can get a breather or reasonable WiFi reception.

On leaving Breaux Bridge we headed straight to Avery Island where Tabasco Sauce is made.

"Roughly 150 years of tradition and three simple ingredients--aged red peppers, natural vinegar, and a dash of Avery Island-mined salt--produce the distinctive, spicy flavor that is TABASCO*Original Red Pepper Sauce."

"The process by which TABASCO* Sauce is made has remained virtually unchanged since Edmund McIlhenny created his first commercial batch in the late 1860s.  Still a family-owned business today, McIlhenny Company uses only one variety of red pepper, Capsicum Frutescens which is significantly hotter than the cayenne pepper commonly used in most other hot sauces.  The pepper is picked at the perfect shade of red, then immediately crushed, mixed with salt and aged in white oak barrels for up to three years.  The aged 'mash' is blended with vinegar for two to three weeks, and strained to remove the pepper skins and seeds.  The finished sauce is now ready to be labeled, bottled and shipped around the globe. The tabasco pepper and the unique aging process are what give Tabasco* sauce its distinct taste and ability to enhance the flavor of food"


The smell of peppers is definitely in the air.

The tour of the factory is interesting but the gardens are the highlight and well worth the trip. 

Yes, those are all birds--

 --snowy egrets to be exact.

From Avery Island we traveled to Shreiver and visited a friend of the family who owns his own plantation.  Dickie Bourgeois  is renovating the plantation with plans for it to be a great spot for weddings and parties.  Meanwhile, he invited us to spend the night.

This was what it looked like when he bought it some years ago....


....and this is what it looks like today.


And meet Dickie.  He is up on my roof sawing away the branch of the oak tree that I so ceremoniously hit when I drove onto his property.

There was little damage done to the top of Spirit but quite a lot done to my pride.  
But most of all, "Thank you, Dickie, for rescuing me."

It was a lovely night spent on the grounds of this majestic old home.

We had company...

And relaxation

A lesson in Louisiana history....

"The Winders owned Ducros Plantation from 1845 to 1872.
Van Perkins Winder died of yellow fever in 1854 leaving Martha Winder eight months pregnant with their fifteenth child.  She continued to run the plantation until she sold it in 1872."

Martha Ann Grundy Winder

Van Perkins Winder

And a tour of the home.  
This was the kitchen because kitchens tended to catch on fire in the 1800's so they were exiled to outside buildings to safeguard the house.

These verandas are on  both floors and also in front and in back.  Wow!  Think of the rocking chairs!

Some things were not part of the original.

and some things are.

 Just look at those floors!

"Thank you again, Dickie.  This was a lovely visit."