Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 4, Fred's, Jams, Boudin Festival, Rip Van Winkle Gardens, Avery Island, and Friends

WOW, as you can see by the title this was a super busy week filled with our favorite things here at Betty's; music, food, friends and fun.  Tom and Georgie arrived on Friday for a visit and we had a great time showing them around Acadiana and sharing a bit of Betty's wonderful hospitality with them.
It being the first of the month the week started with many changes of RVers who had been here for March heading out and being replaced by new friends.  This is a rare shot of Betty's patio without an RV in front of it.  The first time we came here only the section on the left was covered.  Betty expanded the roof and later added a deck to accommodate all her friends.
We were up early Saturday morning and off to Fred's Lounge in Mumou.  KVPI has been doing a French language radio broadcast from Fred's since 1946.  As you can see it was standing room only and despite the sign there were plenty of dancers.
We have been to Fred's before and this was by far the biggest crowd we have seen due to the Cycle Zydeco bike ride passing through Mamou with over 300 cyclists.     
Saturday afternoon we went to the Museum Cafe in Erath for the Cajun jam.  Our friend Ollie was at the door dancing and cutting up.
A couple of people from Betty's joined in with the band, Barb on the scrub board and Dan on guitar at far right.  These jams are always a fun, fun time with great music and many friends.  The Museum usually gives everyone a free meal after the jam but this week in typical Cajun fashion they asked for a donation and had an auction to help with the funeral expenses of a patron.  
On Sunday the fun time continued at the Scott Boudin Festival with great music and food.  Merlene had a big turkey leg and Tom found a funnel cake.  Look what I found, a mix of Western PA and Cajun country, a boudin stuffed cabbage roll.  It was fantastic. 
In addition to the food we wanted to hear Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie.  We saw Geno on our first visit in 2008 and always try to hear him every time we are here.  Richard and Nanc hit the dance floor.
You never know what kind of music you are going to hear at Betty's.  On Monday several people from the park had a jam where Pat and Len entertained with their dulcimers.  The dulcimer has its roots in the Appalachian Mountains and in many ways is similar to Cajun music.
Wayne, Lynn, Barb, Dan and Richard entertained everyone all afternoon.  So many people with so much talent.
A few of the new people who arrived at Betty's. Top are Richard and Connie and J.C. and Gloria.  Richard and J.C. both have been reading our blog for some time.  Bottom are Penny and Steve who we have heard about, but are meeting for the first time and Marlene and Wayne who we have seen several times at Betty's.  
Tuesday afternoon we had lunch and visited the Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island.  The house was built in the late 1800's by Joe Jefferson a popular actor of the time who made is fortune playing the character Rip Van Winkle.  We toured the house, but no pictures were allowed. 
We strolled the gardens that have many oriental statues.  In 1980 65 acres of land, several greenhouses and the home of the owner were destroyed when a rig drilling for oil on the lake drilled into a salt mine causing all the water to drain into the mine along with all the drilling equipment.
A few of the blooming flowers.
Another big attraction at the garden is the peacocks.  Since it's spring they were really strutin their stuff.  This guy was dancing around as a peahen stood by and watched.  After we walked away we heard some loud squeaks and when we returned he was just laying along the path.
More peacocks and peahens in the garden.  It is neat getting so close to these beautiful birds.
Tuesday was Betty's son Reid's birthday.  He is so evasive that I did not get a picture of him, but as you can see someone (who is that trying to escape unnoticed) did a job on his house.
If it is Wednesday it is half priced seafood at Black's Oyster Bar and the whole crew went out to dinner.  Look closely at the bottom picture and you will see that Rick who is in Ethiopia even joined in as Flat Rick.
Thursday was a super busy day starting with a tour of the Tabasco plant on Avery Island.  We have been on this tour before, but it has changed a lot since last year.  You now get to see and smell the barrels of pepper mash that are aged up to three years.  You also see the mixing room where the vinegar is mixed in with the pepper mash.  In the past you only got to see the bottling room.  They also have a section to show the salt mine that is under the plant.  The tour used to be free but now they charge a fee of $5.50. 
Also on Avery Island is Jungle Gardens, an area set aside by Tabasco founder Edward McIlhenny as a garden and refuge to save the snowy egret from extinction.  As you can see we saw a few small alligators in the garden ponds.
The Buddha dating from the reign of Emperor Hui-Tsung is some 900 years old.  It was given to the McIlhenny family in 1936.  The temple overlooks one of the many ponds in the garden.
Bird City still attracts thousands of snowy egrets.
The racks were built for the birds to nest and be protected from predators.
The rookery has been very successful in bringing the egrets back from extinction.
Here is a nesting pair with their young chicks under them.  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.
We took Tom and Georgie for another Louisiana tradition that we have not seen anywhere else, a drive through bar.  It is illegal to have an open container in the car so keeping the paper on the end of the straw counts.  Go figure!
Thursday evening we did one last thing with Tom and Georgie when we went to hear Stop the Clock Cowboy Jazz Band in the square.
They were so good that even Tom and Georgie got on to the dance floor.  We had a wonderful visit with them and kept them real busy.  We did play euchre and the results of four evenings play resulted with the ladies winning the championship.  


Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Good post and great egret images. The cabbage rolls sound great!

Sharon Del Rosario said...

I love living vicariously through your adventures. Too bad you now have to pay for the Avery Island tour, but getting to see (and smell) more is probably worth it. Give Betty our best and continue enjoying Cajun country!

Joanne Godwin said...

The fun is never ends at Bettys! We miss you and Nancy, Lynn and Richard, and of course Betty! We can't wait to go back some day. Where are you two heading next? We're in New Mexico for the next few weeks.