Saturday, June 7, 2008


These trees are all over southern Louisiana. I don't know what they are. They seem like the southern answer to lilacs, except they have no discernable odor. We left Baton Rouge and wanted to find alligators or a place to stay.

We stopped at this park, the site of an old lock that had connected to the Mississippi (just over the horizon). The chamber of commerce, next door, had already closed for the day, and the park visitor's center was about to close when we got there.

I was so excited to spot a Sonic drive-through that I made N turnaround so we could order something there. I am not usually excited by fast food, but this seemed iconicly Southern to me. (I have since been disappointed to discover that Sonic is planning to expand into Wisconsin.) I ordered an iced mocha because I was getting cranky. It was exceedingly sweet, but did the job.

These little egrets are all over the place, at least wherever cows are to be found. A park ranger later told me that the birds flew in from Africa a few years ago and decided not to go back. They like cattle on their home continent, too.

I don't think the artist intended for this to remind me of an Advil commercial.

We encountered these chicken-duck-vulture crosses by the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center (also closed) in Thibodeaux.

And this turtle. Moss grows on a moving turtle.

By nightfall, we were both starving and exhausted and couldn't agree on what to eat. We checked into a hotel south of New Orleans and went searching. Driving down Bataria Boulevard, we both spotted this place and, for some reason, we both wanted to try it. Unusual fortune, since N generally thinks that any restaurant labeled "family" is unlikely to serve decent food.

N ordered fried catfish. Look at that crispy breading!

And this was the sauce, which was as thick as the stew and had little crayfish in it and was also very tasty.

I had the best fried chicken and cornbread and collards of my life. I couldn't believe how many collards they gave me -- that's a dinnerplate, not a sidedish one.

The cook saw me taking pictures and came out to talk to me because no one had ever taken pictures of his food before. The pictures do not do it justice.

And then we said farewell to the best meal ever ...

And went back to the hotel.

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