Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back to da' Bayou....Happy New Years Chere!

     The one thing you can always count on with Cajuns, they NEVER need a reason to throw a party.  "Buy a new pair shoes, Chere?   PARTY!  The typical Cajun party includes something for every member of the family, regardless of age.....just fun.  A very family setting.  Now, let's blend New Years Eve into the mix.....

      Once again this winter we visit Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  This is the Heart of Acadiana.  This IS NOT New Orleans with it's renowned Creole Cuisine and Culture.  This is South Central and Southwestern Louisiana, the Belly of the Cajun Beast.  We fell in love with this suburb of Lafayette during our last trip.   Breaux Bridge and the surrounding area has everything you want to experience Cajun.  We stayed at Poches RV Park just NE of town.  This is a very nice RV park with full hookups, pool, laundry, showers, several free fully stocked fishing lakes, a club house, and small store for a 'set' price of $40 per day.  Good Sam Club members are discounted 10%.  A bit pricey, but centrally located and WE LOVE THE AREA.  The people here are some of the friendliest you'll find anywhere. 
      We were a bit surprised to find the RV park not even half full upon arrival.  They said the economy has really hit rock bottom in the area and they haven't been full since last winter.  Even the famous Café des Amis closed it's doors recently.  This small building has been in existence since 1890 undergoing several remodelings with the current café open since 1992.  Even though we had reservations we pretty much had our choice of spots along the lake so we chose one on the far corner fairly isolated from others yet still on the water.  I had a hook and line in the water catfishing within an hour of our arrival, but with temps at 50 with a stiff North wind it was not to be.  Still I enjoyed my Barley Pop with Roux and I enjoying a nice sunset; not a bad beginning.
Photo courtesy of Poches
       Our first day we headed into Lafayette Camping World to pick up a short hose and a battery cover lid.  (Don't ask)  First, I stopped at Poche's Market and picked up a bag of my favorite snack, cracklins.  Of course these aren't the healthiest food around as they are made from the fried skin and outer meat layer of pigs as they are butchered.  But, boy ARE THEY TASTY!  Their cousin, the Pork Rind, is nowhere near as good as these are fresh.  They cost about $4.90 for a 1/2 pound bag.   If you get them in the morning right after they're put out, you can enjoy a crunchy exterior followed by a soft, warm meaty interior with the flavor of the best bacon you've ever eaten!  The Bomb!!! Yeah, I know.....insert the sound of hardening arteries here. 
Food of the Gods
Then we toured about looking at other RV parks in the area and their monthly rates.  In the end we pretty much like the place we're at.  The monthly rate here is $600.  We stopped at Crawfish Town U.S.A for some Crawfish Etouffe and Catfish lunch before stopping at the market to order some fresh turtle to pick up in a few days.   I have to admit that as much as I love Poche's Market, Crawfish Town has some delicious food as well. 
    We dined about every other day at Poche's Market and Lunchroom.  The daily lunches at their in-town market are to die for!  Crawfish Etouffee, Red Beans & Rice, Gumbo, BBQ Chicken, Pork Steak, Pork Backbone Stew, Smothered Rabbit, Stuffed Pork Chops, Beef Roast, Fried Fish or's all here, Chere!  The best Cajun food in Acadia!  In another life, I think I was actually born Cajun.  This is the heart of Cajun Country complete with thousands of acres of Crawfish Farm Ponds.  This was a comfort zone stop for us.
      As such our stay included stocking up on several specialty meats we love or wanted to try in the future RICH KITCHEN adventures:  gator, andouille, tasso, crawfish, boudin, and this time rabbit and turtle.  This took a bit of coordination as we shopped in Breaux Bridge, Henderson, and Carenco to fill our freezer.  We both love Cajun cooking and this will really diversify our larder for the trip to Alaska this coming summer.  New Years weekend was very, very wet as it rained nearly all the time.  In fact we got nearly 5" of rain.  It didn't really dampen the spirits of the locals who came out with their families for a good time.  Roux and Bones.....not so much. 

Don't ask me why, but they decorated this tree...yes, those are Mardi Gras beads.

There were several large bonfires during the day/evening which made a great backdrop for the NYE fireworks. 

Everybody gathers around one of the many viewing areas for the fireworks.  This one is the clubhouse/fishing pier on the far pond.  Amazingly it did not rain for about 90 minutes around midnight.

      In the end New Years Eve turned out pretty good.  I had gone to bed earlier, but with these festivities who could sleep?  I discovered that an area around the antenna coax junction on the roof had developed a small leak (much like last winter) that always drips through an electric outlet in the kitchen roof.  Not exactly where you want it, but I dried it up again and sprayed some more Rescue 911 Spray Rubberized Leak Sealer.  I figure that with all the work a couple weeks ago installing the new TV antenna a moving coax developed another crack in the junction seal.  I am going to build up this seal a couple of times during the next couple of days before our departure.

      In addition to the local fare, I prepared Stir Fry, Alaskan Whitefish Corn Tortilla Soup,  Pork Stew, and Crockpot King Ranch Chicken.  
Whitefish Corn Tortilla Soup
Crockpot King Ranch Chicken
      We did a bit of research on taxes here and were a quite surprised.  Property taxes for $155.000 home run only about $500 per year, CHEAP.  But, Louisiana more than makes it up in other areas.  The state sales tax is 5%, but each Parish and local municipalities add their own tax as well.  St. Martin Parish and Breaux Bridge's sales tax is 15%!  The state income tax for Barb's and my income runs 6% which equates to about $5233 per year!  Then, of course.......there's Federal Tax.  Texas is looking so good these days. 
      Unfortunately it rained about half of our week here with some severe storms and tornado watches, but we had a relaxing time nonetheless.  I did manage to find the same seasoning that a couple of the local places cook with for my spice closet.   Our last day we just walked around old town Breaux Bridge taking in all the antique shops and coffee shop/bakeries.  I got a few more decent BW shots too. Diesel was a low of $2.38/gal and we averaged 13.5 mpg during the trip down here.  Great food, great times, and great people.  We'll be back. 

"Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have been told to" 
                                                                         Alex Keightley

WiFi courtesy of Verizon MiFi

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