Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Good Times Keep Rolling

We arrived at Betty's RV Park on Friday, February 2nd, so my blog posts have been running from Friday to Friday. The last post included two days of our time with Tom and Georgie and this week continued with much more music, great Louisiana food and typical fun times.
We started out at Shuck's on Friday evening with me, Nanc, Georgie, Tom. Richard, Lynn, Dan and Merlene. We had to wait for a table so we......
....gathered around the table with a few adult beverages and swapped stories.
After dinner we went to Kelvin's, a neat, local bar we have never been to. Alligator Blue, a swamp pop group, had the place rockin'. Rock music with an accordion is very cool. The accordion player had seven Martin Accordions, each in a different key. We did not know it then, but our week also ended with going to listen to Alligator Blue. 
On Saturday we were up early and on the road to Breaux Bridge for a full day of different styles of music. Our first stop was Buck and Johnny's for the Zydeco breakfast. Here are a few of the sixteen people from Betty's: David, Kathy, Sue, Dan, George and Cathy.
The rest of the group from Betty's: Tom, Georgie, Nanc, John, Merlene, Dan, Lynn, Richard and Sharon on the dance floor dancing with one of the locals.
We did hit the dance floor for a couple tunes.
This week the band was Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band. As always, they had the place rockin'.
Buck and Johnny's is a much bigger venue than Cafe' des Amis which is where we used to go for the Zydeco breakfast. It is big enough that they don't make you give up your table after you are done eating.
Georgie really got into the Zydeco scene with a clip on tie rub board. We have been to the Zydeco breakfast many times and it has never disappointed. It is always a great time that should not be missed if you are near Breaux Bridge on Saturday morning.
Just down the street from Buck and Johnny's is Joie de Vivre, a neat little coffee shop that has an old time Cajun jam session every Saturday. The music is all acoustic with fiddles, guitars and a wash tub bass. This is very different from the other jams we have attended. 
The group at Joie de Vivre: Dan, Merlene, Lynn Richard, Jim, John, Sharon, Georgie and Tom. Not only was the music great so were the beignets.
Another first for us was La Poussiere, an authentic Cajun dance hall that has been having dances since 1955. La Poussiere comes form the French for "the dust," because after an evening of dancing on the hardwood floor that rested on a dirt floor the wood would be covered with dust. The floor still vibrates with all the dancers on it. Here is Nanc with Richard making some dust.    
The day we went was the 17th annual tribute to Cajun musicians, with five different bands starting at 10:00 AM and going to 5:30 in the afternoon. We only stayed for a couple bands, but it was a fun time with people of all ages dancing.
Saturday was St. Patrick's Day but since there was so much music happening that day, at Betty's we celebrated on Sunday with an Irish potluck complete with corn beef, cabbage and a big variety of sharing of the green.
Everyone waiting for Betty to give the word to eat. It was a great dinner followed by a great happy hour.
On their last day we took Georgie and Tom to Palmetto Island State Park just south of Abbeville. The park is on the banks of the Vermilion River. 
The park has a nice nature trail through the swamp. We saw a few flowers and turtles, but no gators, snakes or armadillos. It is an easy place to get an up close look at the wetlands of Louisiana. The next morning we were up at 4:00 AM to get Tom and Georgie to the airport in Lafayette. We had a great visit and a fun time sharing a bit of Cajun culture with them.
Another project at Betty's. Three years ago Dan, Merlene, Nanc and I painted new signs for Betty. Unfortunately, they did not hold up in the humid Louisiana weather so Betty ordered new signs two years ago to replace the ones we painted. Guess what?  They did not last either so the company sent new ones that we put up for her. Sure hope these ones last.
On Thursday evenings this time of year in Abbeville they have Sounds on the Square with a different band each week. The band this week was The Wayback Ramblers. Their music was so way back it was not just country but country and western, not our favorite music.  But there were many people there who did enjoy it.
A few of the people from Betty's: George, Cathy, Dan, Merlene, David and Kathy.
And here are Jean Paul, Celine, Dan Sue, Richard, Lynn, John, Sharon, Nanc, Chari, Lou, Denny and Val.
While the Wayback Ramblers were not our cup of tea, at Midway on the Square Alligator Blue was playing, so we went to hear some fun swamp pop. Even a couple of the Ramblers came over after their show was done.
David, Kathy, Merlene and Dan joined us for the music. When we are at Betty's we love all the music and great Louisiana food. There is something going on every day of the week, so who knows what next week has in store!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

More Fun and Friends at Betty;s RV Park

At the start of the week I was still not doing the greatest in my battle with the pollen. I did not do a lot over the weekend, but I'm happy to report that by Monday the sun was shining and I was feeling better. At this point I'm about 95%, so that is a big improvement. The good times continued here at Betty's and Nanc took part while I took it easy. 
On Friday afternoon, while I slept, people in the park gathered for an afternoon of games. At the top is a group who played a dice game. At the right is a game of pegs and jokers, a game that appears to very complex to me and at the bottom they are playing euchre. Hopefully, I will be ready to play if they do another games day.
Friday was also Jean Paul's birthday, so we had a big celebration including a cake. 
Everyone joined in the celebration, but only these die hards (top: Celine, Jean Paul, Sue, Dan and Dan; bottom: Kathy, David, Lynn, Cordell, Monica, Betty, Richard and Merlene and Nanc the photographer) made it to the end. I'm not there because I was in bed very early that evening. 
Saturday was the Cajun Jam Session at Touchet's and as usual many people from Betty's joined in the celebration. Here are Chari, Louie, a local, David, Kathy, Celine and Jean Paul.
Chari and Dan joined the band for a couple sets. Nanc was there, but I was still in recovery mode.
On Sunday we had a jam session, potluck and the usual happy hour. Since a couple of the musicians are still just learning their instruments, Celine made these little signs to let them know what key to play. Everyone here is always willing to lend a hand. 
Dan, Chari, Louie, Dave and Kristy having a fun time.
Dan, David, David, Dave, Richard, Kristy, Jean Paul and Joe providing the entertainment. There sure are a lot of very talented people here. I did listen to some of the music and ate at the potluck as I was feeling a little better each day.
By Monday I was feeling well enough to help with the crawfish boil we had here. This picture kind of sums up a boil. Jean Paul, Randy, Reid, and Dan supervising David to make sure he puts exactly the right amount of water in the tub of mudbugs.
They then cleaned the basket and pot and filled it with the correct amount of water. We did over 100 pounds which took three boils.
At top right we first cleaned the mudbugs that had just been harvested that morning. In the same tub we purged them by putting salt in the water for a few minutes. Next, they are dumped into the basket and then dumped into the pot. After they come to a rolling boil they are cooked for a few minutes, then the heat is turned off to allowed them to simmer a bit longer. Finally, they are put in another pot or a cooler and allowed to cool. We repeated the process three times to get the 100 pounds cooked.  
Of course, all this requires a lot of time and a couple of beverages to complete. Dan, Louie, Tom, Jean Paul, Richard, Merlene, Sue, Jeri and Cookie all gathered to watch and offer words of encouragement.  
After three hours of preparation everyone is ready to eat their fill of crawdads. Check out the neat bibs Kathy made for us. 
And look who ate his fill along with everyone else, me, HOORAY!!!! I helped cook so I decided to eat them and see how my body reacted. Great news!! I had NO reaction, so I'm thinking it was the place I ate them two years ago that made me sick.
Most of the art that hangs at Betty's has been done by RVers who have stayed here. Several people have contributed to the decor and this year a few new ones were added. I call it Betty's artists in residence program. Jeri, right, was the artist of all the work below. She also painted the beautiful portrait of Betty's granddaughter, Lucette.
Jeri has turned these discarded satellite dishes into works of art. They sure capture the essence of Betty's with happy hours, welcome sign, the swamp, Mardi Gras, getting caught in Betty's web and an old trappers cabin like Betty's family used for trapping when she was a kid growing up in Louisiana.  
On Wednesday Georgie and Tom arrived for week of Cajun music, food and hospitality. To those who recently visited us, take note that it is possible to say with us for a week without six pieces of luggage:-)
We got their visit off to a great start that evening at Touchet's for the Cajun Culture Associations monthly meeting. The band this month was Donny Broussard and the Louisiana Stars who had the place rockin'.
On Thursday we drove to Bon Creole in New Iberia, one of our favorite local restaurants. They have a great menu with po boys, gumbo and other Louisiana food.
We were joined by Louie and Chari at Bon Creole. This place does not look like much, but the food is worth the drive to New Iberia.
Our next stop was the Tabasco plant on Avery Island. We had all been there before so we just visited the store and bought some hot sauce and opted out of doing the plant tour. We did go to Jungle Gardens to see the blooming azaleas among the Southern live oaks trees.  
We saw a few gators. This one appeared to be exercising his jaws to get ready for a meal. I stayed in the car. 
The temple and the beautiful azaleas. They were a little past their peak but the colors were still wonderful. 
Always high on our list when we visit Jungle Gardens is Bird Island. E. A. McIlhenny built the aviary over 100 years ago to provide a safe breading place for the egrets that had been hunted to near extinction for their feathers that were very fashionable at the time. 
It is a bit early in the season so there was not nearly as many egrets as we have seen on other visits. At their height, the racks and all the trees will be filled with birds.
Thursday was the first of four spring Sounds on the Square events in Abbeville. What a treat it was with The Savoy Doucet Cajun Band with Wilson Savoy, one of the best French Cajun Bands in Louisiana.
It was a little cool, so only a few RVers went to the square. They were all happy to see such great performers as The Savoy Family Band.
As always with this music, it got people up and dancing. We are looking forward to the rest of the Sounds on the Square evenings. After the music we had a great meal at  Dupuy's, one of our favorite local eateries.  

As I write we have had three more days of different kinds of music with Tom and Georgie and been to a couple more local restaurants. I am happy to be feeling much better and being almost back to my old self.