Tuesday, February 27, 2018

More Music, Food, Fun and Friends at Betty's

Wow, it has not slowed down at all here at Betty's. I guess that is why we love this place. There is always something happening, new places to eat, new music venues, new festivals and, of course, many new friends.
We found a new place to have boiled crawfish, the Park Restaurant in Abbeville. The last time we were in Louisiana I became ill after eating mudbugs so this time I opted for the boiled blue crabs. Both were very good and I did try a couple of Nanc's crawfish. I did not suffer any side effects, so maybe I will eat a few more on our next visit. 
On Saturday we went to the Fin, Feather and Fur Cook-Off in Henry, less than ten miles from Betty's, with Merlene, Dan, Jim and Deb. The admission was $5.00 which allowed you to try a big variety of food from nearly twenty vendors.   
We had a couple different kinds of gumbo, boneless stuffed chicken wings, buffalo burgers and much more. Here I'm having turkey neck and oyster gumbo while Nanc has a baked potato topped with shrimp etouffe. On the right I'm having something I have never had before, nutria sauce picante. Nutria is a large rodent that is an invasive species in Louisiana. It was really pretty good.  
If it is Saturday, it is the Cajun jam session. This week it was held at the Museum Cafe just down the road in Erath. Here are Dan, Sue, Kathy, Dave Ollie, Nanc, Dan, Merlene, Deb and Jim.
This is the French connection: Celine, Sue, Dan and Jean Paul. Many French Canadians come to Acadiana because of their cultural ties to the Cajuns.
The band, including California Cajun Dan on the right.
Sue and Dan did a day trip to Pierre Part to see the wood sculptures created by Mr. Adams in his yard. She found this guitar shaped piece of cypress that she wants to string and play. There is a link to our post about our visit to his place in 2013.
On another day we took a trip to Baton Rouge to see Richard and Valerie. We met them in 2007 at RV Boot Camp in Goshen, IN. We have crossed paths many times over the years even after they bought a stix and brix in Charlottesville, VA and sold the RV. Last year they decided they were going to travel more and bought this beautiful 2008 Itasca motorhome.
They wintered in the South and are now in Baton Rouge near their daughter. They are staying at Farr Park, a nice park just over the levee from the Mississippi. We had a great time getting caught up and are looking forward to seeing them on the road now that they are traveling again.
The new week brought in new people. Kevin and Lin are Canadians who just came south after spending much of the winter up north. 
On Wednesday we went to Touchet's for the Cajun Culture Association meeting. We have been to the meeting before and this time decided to show our support and join. They meet once a month and always have great music. This week it was the Fa-Tras.  
They got people on their feet and on to the dance floor.
Many of the people there were from Betty's. Here are Richard and Lynn, Dave and Kathy, Dan and Sue and Dan and Sue. Yes, there are two couples with the same names at Betty's. 
Nanc, Deb and Jim enjoying the music.
Rudy and Bev and Maurice and Sandy having a fun time. While attendance at the association meetings has been down, they still work hard to celebrate and keep their culture alive.
Sue has started a morning group with all invited to participate. Many people have taken advantage to start the day by getting a good stretch. 

It is hard to believe we have been here for three weeks, but at Betty's, time really flies because there is so much to do.

Here are a couple more RV traveler blogs I have added to our list. Valerie and Richard's Home is Where the Condiments Are has been started again since they are traveling more.  The other one is Palamine by Toni Laird. We have never met the Laird's but we have many mutual friends. Hopefully, we will cross paths one of these days.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mardi Gras, Chicken Run, Food, Music and Friends

Wow, it is hard to believe, but week two at Betty's RV Park was crazier than week one. Most of what we did were the same things we do here: food, music, friends and great fun.
On Friday Cordell did a turkey in this unique cooker. There is no oil, just heat surrounding the bird. It was done in two and a half hours and everyone brought a dish of their choice making for a great meal. The standard for food at Betty's is very high. 
On Saturday Rick and Denise flew in for a long weekend of Mardi Gras fun. We gave them beads and new tees for the celebration.
Dodo had the perfect outfit for her to go to the chicken run, leggings with dodo birds that could also pass for chickens.
Miss Kate and Betty are ready for the chicken run in Church Point. Kate and her husband Brian invited everyone at Betty's to watch the events of the day on their property. This was our third chicken run and we have been at a different place each time. 
The day dawned cool and overcast, but fortunately it did not rain. We arrived in Church Point a 9AM and the party began. Here are Nanc, Rick and Denise enjoying a mimosa to start the day.
Like any event in Acadiana food plays an important role. Everyone from the park brought a covered dish and Kate and Brain provided meat and gumbo. Left, Nanc, Denise and Rick are checking out the Cajun microwave, a stainless steel cooker in a wooden box with the fire on top, and they are also staying warm. Next, Nanc, Betty, Denise, Angela and Dodo appear to be in awe that there were two pigs in the cooker. Brian and Bob cooked this huge pot of gumbo and someone else was making jambalaya, so there was plenty of food for all.
The whole group from Betty's with Brian and Kate. Only in Cajun country would people invite almost thirty strangers to their home and feed them.
The chickens getting ready to run in hopes of not becoming part of the next pot of gumbo. Here is a link from our first Chicken Run.
The tradition of the Cajun Courir du Mardi Gras or Chicken Run dates back to Europe when the peasants would not have much food after a long winter so they would go beg for food and money. Here the Captain meets Brain to ask permission to come on his property.
After they get permission, the Captain signals that they are allowed to enter. These revelers with ragged outfits dress to mock the rich who dress in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power. 
The revelers start early in the day going from farm to farm to chase the chickens to make gumbo so by the time they got here they had had a "few" beverages.
The chicken is released and the run is on. It was very wet in the field because of several days of rain so there was a lot of splashing.
This bird escapes the first group of revelers and flies away.......
.....only to be captured by the next group. I don't think any ever go uncaptured.
A happy reveler with his bird.
After the Chicken Run they have a traditional Mardi Gras parade. Nanc, Denise and Barb are ready to catch some beads.
There are many revelers on horseback as part of the parade.
Bernie, Denise, Rick, Nanc, Jim, Deb, Barb, Jean Paul, Dan and Dave are ready to shout out, Throw me something mister".
Let the gathering of beads begin. Many of them ended up on the ground and because it was muddy this is where the stayed.
This is a typical Chicken Run float.
The signs did the job. The ladies were weighed down with many beads. Nanc usually keeps a few of the nicer ones, yes there are some beads that are just okay and others that are very neat. Betty uses beads as a neat ground cover at the park and many local organizations recycle them. The Chicken Run and Cajun Mardi Gras is something that should be on every one's bucket list.
Even after a long tiring Sunday of fun the good times don't stop at Betty's. Monday started with a Zydeco pot luck breakfast and then a couple hours to rest before the afternoon and evening fun began.
Several local musicians and some from the park play into the night. Here are Dan, Wayne, Dave, Kristy, Joe, Dave and Barb.
Denise did a set on the scrub board while Rick sat in on the drums. 
Everything was fine until Bernie brought out the Fireball. That lead to some strange adult behavior.
Dave having a great time celebrating his birthday.
Rooster got down on the guitar while Dave sat in on the drums and Deb got out the Mardi Gras mask.
Then Dodo and I hit the dance floor.
Betty and Monica sang a couple songs and.....
Celine and Jean Paul donned their Mardi Gras hats.
Without a doubt the highlight of the evening was Denise and Nanc singing Hotel California. They soon became an Internet sensation. Here is a link.
The evening ended with a man dance that proved it was time to go home. It was a fun filled day.
While some people from Betty's went to another parade on Fat Tuesday a few who were to tired found a new use for beads, the first of its kind Betty's RV Park bead toss.
On Wednesday Denise and Rick headed home after a very busy few days of Cajun food and Mardi Gras fun that included some of those great Louisiana oysters. 
Wow, Mardi Gras was over and it warmed up enough to have the first outdoor happy hour of 2018. Here in Louisiana it looks like spring has arrived as the long range forecast is all warm temperatures.
Another Betty's tradition is gathering to say good-bye to our friends who are leaving. On Thursday five couples: Bernie and Dodo, Jim and Bobbie, Dave and Kathy, Heinz and Angela and Rick and Barb all left. While we are sad to see our friends depart we always say, if you don't leave you can't come back.
While there were several empty spots, they soon filled with new rigs so we will be making more new friends and seeing old ones. Like we always say, making and meeting friends is the best part of our full time lifestyle.

I have added Dave 'n Kathy's Vagabond Blog to our blog list. Many people we know no longer blog so it is nice to find another one to add to the list.