Lafayette Louisiana

As I mentioned in the My Background and My Methods post, it seems like people in Wisconsin have a shock collar when they get 30-40 miles away from their small town. Another unwritten rule of Wisconsin is you don’t move more than 50 miles from where you grow up. This is evidenced by both sides of my family living in under a 20 mile radius from Marshfield. The only exception is one uncle that lives in Lafayette, Louisiana. My parents actually also did a short stint in Louisiana when the economy was bad in the early 1980’s and there were no jobs around Central Wisconsin. Upon jobs opening up in Marshfield, they promptly moved back.

Besides my uncle, my brother and I also broke that 50 mile rule and moved to Austin. Since Lafayette is about 6.5 hours away from Austin, it was still within an impulsive traveling distance for a weekend trip. For this trip I planned the date a few weeks in advance to make sure everyone was around. For the plans for the weekend, when I was asked what I wanted to do, I just said, “Let’s play it by ear and just see what happens.” Those are always the best trips and usually how I “plan” my trips anyway.

When I got done with work at 4 on Friday, I quickly went back to my apartment to grab a few things and then hit the road. It definitely took the whole 6.5 hours to get there. I arrived around 11PM. My aunt had went to bed, but my uncle was still up. I brought a bottle of Tequila from my Mexico trip and some Shiner Bock for them to get a taste of Texas beer. I also brought a case of Lone Star (also Texas beer) and my uncle and I cracked a few open and then BSed until about 2:30 in the morning. It was definitely good to catch up since I’ve only got to see him on a every here and there while growing up.

The next morning I slept in and we all had a late breakfast. It was a traditional Cajun breakfast of boudin, craklins, French bread, and mimosa.

After breakfast, I got a tour of my aunt’s dog boarding business. They are currently celebrating their 10th year in business and it’s amazing how much the dog boarding business is booming. Come next weekend, for Easter, the kennel would be full due to people traveling for Easter.

I know it was Saturday and tours are only on Wednesday, but I lucky got the family exception to take a tour:

Here is a view of the kennels:

This is the outdoor play area:

You can definitely tell you’re in Cajun Country when a dog’s name is spelled like this:

My uncle does a lot of hunting and has quite a setup for butchering meat:

After that tour, we decided to take a tour of the local area. The terrain is definitely flatter than Hill Country of Austin or Wisconsin:

There are a lot of narrow roads that are referred to as “substandard” roads. This is an example of one of those roads in a wooded area:

There are many oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from them:

Louisiana is a major oil producing state. There are plenty of wells around the area that blend in with the terrain. It is actually amazing how well the oil wells and equipment blend in with the terrain. If you look closely in the middle of the picture on the left side of those rows of trees, you will see some tanks for a well:

We then stopped by one of my uncle’s friend’s place and got to see some Louisiana ingenuity in taking some old scrap wood and creating a tree house from it:

We also watched the sheep being chased:

After a while, everyone was getting hungry and we planned on getting something to eat. My cousins were also going to drop by to meet us and I was going to be able to see everyone that was in town. We decided to go to Landry’s in New Iberia:

We first ordered some shrimp and alligator bites. I know this sounds stereotypical, but alligator does really taste like chicken. It is very good.

I decided to get the buffet and sample everything a Louisiana seafood buffet had to offer.

Of course I had to eat some crawfish:

In the meantime, a Cajun band started warming up and provided up some entertainment.

Listening to Cajun music reminds me of the polka played in Wisconsin but unlike the polkas that have a German and Polish twist, Cajun music has a French twist to it.

Everyone was line dancing to the music:

After we were done eating, we went to my cousin’s house and I got the grand tour. When my cousin’s daughter was enthusiastic to show me her room and toy collection. I was happy and proud to say they are bringing her up right when I saw a cheese head and a Packer finger.

After a while of talking, it was starting to get late and time to get back to my uncle’s place. We got back and sat around a bit but then hit the bed as we were all tired. I got a good night’s sleep and then in the morning before I left for Austin, we went to Mel’s diner. The line was going out the door and the place was packed.

After eating, I hit the road and drove back to Austin. It again took the whole 6.5 hours. I just had enough time to do laundry and then start preparing for the week since I will be going to Lubbock for work and after coming back from Lubbock, I’ll be heading up to Wisconsin for Easter.

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