Breakfast and Gospel service before heading out.
We were a bit nervous driving to Abbeville hoping the rain would stop for the Giant Omelette Festival we were about to embark upon. Our prayers at our morning Gospel service worked! It turned out to be a beautiful day.
If you have never been to Abbeville for the Giant Omelette Celebration, you need to go! We were there early to grab our seats for the procession of chefs, eggs and bread to the Giant 12 foot skillet where fun and follie are the order of day for those preparing the "5000 Egg" Giant Omelette.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the Grand Marshall, who advised us of the day’s schedule.
We started with lunch at Midway on the Square, a family run business whose hope is that many other families will make Midway a place where they gather to enjoy a great meal and great company. Many of the day’s chefs came in to greet us. What celebrities we were! Lunch was chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, or stuffed shrimp with Tasso cream sauce.
The preparation for the parade and omelette cook off was a sight to behold.
How many chefs does it take to make an omelette? Well, if you are making a 5,000 egg omelet, it takes A LOT!
Preparing the fire and getting the Giant pan on the fire is a morning affair.
Cracking all those eggs is another morning affair.
Then came out the electric drills to scramble the eggs.
Once the pan is hot, out comes the butter.
Then the onions and green pepper.
THEN the eggs.
Then everyone gets to eat. There was even a Jr. omelet prepared. What a unique celebration!
Since we had a delicious lunch, topped off with an omelette, we had a light dinner back at camp of………PIZZA!
What an Eggcelent day!
After a beignet breakfast, we headed out in our loyal first class coach ride to Mardi Gras World where we toured the 300,000 square foot working warehouse. This is where floats are made for Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. It offers a behind the scenes look at New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions to see the year-long float building process.
Roy and his son Blaine built their first Mardi Gras float together on the back on a mule-drawn wagon in 1932. Unable to pay his mother’s medical bills, Blaine offered to paint a mural in the hospital, which caught the eye of a surgeon who was also the captain of a Mardi Gras Krewe. This captain invited Blaine to design and build floats for his Krewe, and Kern Studios was officially founded in its current form in 1947. One float led to another, and before long Blaine became the city’s leading parade designer and builder, working with Rex, Zulu and other legendary krewes.
Blaine Kern traveled throughout Europe to apprentice under the world’s leading float and costume makers. He brought these ideas to New Orleans and developed the monumental scale and lavish ornamentation of today’s spectacular Mardi Gras floats. Blaine Kern was instrumental in the formative years of some of New Orleans’ biggest parades and “Super Krewes” and is still known as “Mr. Mardi Gras.”
He brought these ideas to New Orleans and developed the monumental scale and lavish ornamentation of today’s spectacular Mardi Gras floats. Blaine Kern was instrumental in the formative years of some of New Orleans’ biggest parades and “Super Krewes” and is still known as “Mr. Mardi Gras.”
The backstage tour was the bomb. Intimate parties are held in this area. What a treat that would be!
Always time for a photo op.
We made a memory, a Mardi Gras mask, you gotta have a Mardi Gras mask!
What fun that was! I feel sorry for whoever had to clean up our mess. Glitter and glue was EVERYWHERE.
Po-Boy and Cajun Jambalaya lunch was served on the pier with the entertainment we also had while making our memory. Can’t have too much entertainment
Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium with more than 50 live exhibits and numerous multimedia elements, the 23,000-square-foot facility is the largest free-standing American museum dedicated to insects. You’ll discover why insects are the building blocks of all life on our planet and along the way, you’ll be shrunk to bug size; wander through a mysterious Louisiana swamp; join the active audience of an awards show for bugs, by bugs; and be captivated by thousands of butterflies in an Asian garden.
While in the butterfly room, they were everywhere.
And of course, always time for a photo op.
or a rest
The rest of us waited for the Creole House for dinner. It is the oldest existing building on Canal Street, recently updated for your dining pleasure. Creole House offers Cajun and Creole cuisine, serving up true southern classics and future New Orleans staples to dazzle your taste buds. We were served shrimp & grits, Canal Street Redfish, crabcake and shrimp alfredo, ribeye steak, or fried fish and shrimp platter. Dessert of course was New Orleans Style Bread Pudding.
How did we do all this in one day?
Brave the R.E.D. Friday!
We were HONORED to have Morgan City High School Army JROTC present colors for our “flag retirement” program.
Lieutenant Colonel Cory Williams has done a fantastic job with these young adults. We cannot wait to see what they have in store for us in 2019.
Our flag retirement was a success. We had so many flags donated for our presentation.
Then it was off to the Greenwood Gator Farm. We took a trip through the back swamps of Houma with Tim “The Gator Man.” We learned the history of the Louisiana swamps.
We learned ALL about alligators. They mate in May, build their nest in June, lay eggs in July and hatch in August. The mother lays 30-80 eggs and guards them for 9-10 weeks until they hatch. The nest can be 10 ft. in diameter and 4 ft. deep. She will use the same nest year after year, UNLESS the “egg harvester” takes too many eggs…. See that “stick” the lady is holding in the photo below? That is the only means of defense the “egg harvester” has against a mother alligator when he approaches her nest to “steal” some of the eggs. Maybe I should say “borrow” as the alligator farm releases a certain percentage of their alligators into the wild when they are big enough to fend for themselves.
Because alligator embryos attach to the top of eggs, they will die if eggs are accidentally turned over. So can you imagine what that “egg harvester” has to do to make sure he does not accidently turn the eggs over? He also has to make sure it is a fertilized egg (yes, there is a way to tell) because he is charged by the landowner for every egg he takes. ALL while still making sure mama doesn’t get him!!!!
On the farm, the temperature of the incubating egg will determine the sex of the alligator. A temperature of 90 degrees will yield 95% males “bulls.” Below 90 degrees will yield 95% females “cows.”
Louisiana has the highest wild alligator population in the U.S. approaching 2 million with an additional 250,000 on alligator farms. WHO KNEW!?
We were also able to hold and meet a live alligator face to face!
If they find any “handicapped” alligators, or should I say “challenged” alligators, they keep them in the pond on the grounds to live out their life.
Lunch and dancing on the farm, yes you know music is the Rivoli Rallies way. And no, they did not serve alligator….
There is always time for a photo op.
We spent the afternoon at the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum. The collection highlights the legacy of Louisiana aviation pioneers Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams, who formed an air service together in 1928 in Patterson, LA. Both men became nationally prominent during the Golden Age of Aviation. Although both Wedell and Williams perished in plane crashes, their legacy lives on in the memorabilia and planes on display in this collection.
State-of-the-art displays include numerous aircraft, such as the famous Miss Patterson #44 and the Gilmore #121. Also on display are Wedell-Williams’ 1930s air racing trophies and memorabilia. The David J. Felterman Theater features an exciting air racing film that visually transports you to the heart of the 1932 Cleveland National Air Races.
The Cypress Sawmill Collection documents the history of the cypress lumber industry in Louisiana. Lumbering became the state’s first significant manufacturing industry. As a result, cypress lumber harvested and milled in Louisiana was shipped in mass quantities throughout the U.S.
Patterson was once home to the largest cypress sawmill in the world, owned by Frank B. Williams. In 1997, the Louisiana State Legislature designated Patterson as the cypress capital of Louisiana. The exhibit features a variety of artifacts, photographs and film that tell the story of this important regional industry.
We enjoyed dinner at a local favorite, Morgan’s Restaurant.
Laid-back Cajun buffet dishing up familiar fare like gumbo & po’ boys
Check out that bread pudding! Remember, you can’t have too much bread pudding in Southern Louisiana.
Jungle Gardens is a 170-acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary located on Avery Island, Louisiana, was next on the list after our “homemade” breakfast egg muffins. Our introduction to the gardens was the beautiful flowers, birds, wildlife…
As well as the Buddha, a magnificent centuries old statue. What a serene environment.
Then it was off to a much less serene location. THE TABASCO FACTORY, which has been produced by the McIlhenny family since 1868. The guitar, shown below, was owned by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, was stolen from the New Orleans restaurant in 1999 and recovered 11 years later.
Avery Island is a natural paradise located in southern Louisiana where the world famous TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce has been produced. In 1905 a second Tabasco Sauce factory was built on the island and a village was constructed nearby for the factory workers. They had their own dancehall, where workers socialized and did the tango, a popular dance of the day and eventually became the name of the town. Many of the company’s employees still reside in Tango.
The pepper mash is aged in white oak barrels for up to 3 years.
Salt evaporated from brine springs on Avery Island since 1791. When they hit solid salt at 16 feet down in 1862, mining operations began, the first of this type in North America until destruction by union forces in 1863.
Tabasco sauce has a close relationship with the U.S. military since John Avery McIlhenny joined the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War and his son, Walter, served in the Marine Corps Reserve during World War II. The sauce’s popularity among the troops became apparent when aviators in World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War used the word “TABASCO” when nicknaming their airplanes. BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT!
All seven family favors are made right here on Avery Island.
We had a tour, cooking class & lunch with their Master Chef. mmmm mmmm good.
We learned the Cajun secrets on how to make crawfish etoufee the “Cajun Way.” Something you will NEVER learn from a book or someone just handing you a recipe. Dessert was homemade ice cream with a secret ingredient. That ingredient was…you guessed it, TABASCO SAUCE! I have to say, it kicked it up a notch.
Little River Inn dinner. Richard Hurst is taking on his grandfather’s legacy. From snowballs to hamburgers to famed “Poor Boy” sandwiches, Hulo’s business expanded and prospered. With input from his wife, Eugenia, and relatives and friends, the menu grew to include seafood and steaks. Our menu was your choice of Ribeye Steak, Catfish Acadienne or their famous House Salad served with twice baked potato and of course, bread pudding with bourbon sauce.
In 1946, he opened the first completely air-conditioned restaurant in Lafayette and enjoyed continuous success until his death in 1958 at which time his son-in-law and only daughter, Larry and Kathlyn Hurst, took over the management of Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn, and prospered on the same premise that brought success and respect from the community to Hulo - quality in food and perfection in service.
In 1977, Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn moved to its present site where the Hursts began to groom two of their four children to manage the restaurant. In 1985, under the guidance and watchful eye of their parents, Richard and Elaine took over the operation of the restaurant. Richard and his sister made an outstanding brother/sister team, and so on….
The International Petroleum Museum & Exposition the only place in the world where the general public can walk aboard an authentic Offshore Drilling Rig!
It was established for the purpose of educating the general public, and the next generation, on the significance of the offshore oil and gas industry and its affect on the local area, the state, the nation, and the world.
It is a tribute to the pioneering men and women of an industry that developed a culture based on initiative, perseverance, creativity, and hard work. It is a living reminder of the positive contributions, the technological advancements and the world-wide influence of an industry that began in this sleepy, fishing village community.
Through the efforts of the rig museum, everyone has the opportunity to experience the real oilfield. It tells the story from the view point of the participants; the hardships and heroism, the challenges and conquests, the problems and solutions. It is an accurate depiction of life in the offshore oil business.
Lunch at Achafalya at Idlewood Golf Club. Here you can enjoy Louisiana’s most unique golf experience, with championship design surrounded by the wildlife and incredible beauty found only in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin.
The Atchafalaya at Idlewild is as close as you can get to Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin while enjoying a spectacular round of golf. We didn’t play golf, but we did have lunch at their club.
Note to self, DO NOT sit close to Juanita or you will find her digging into your desert.
We had the afternoon off to prepare for the “Day of the Dead” Costume Party. Kibitzing started with shrimp cocktail, graveyard 7 layer taco dip, and mini crawfish pie.
We loved watching everyone as they arrived. What creativity!
Even Bartender Bill dressed up.
Deadly Good Catered Dinner by our favorite caterer, Virginia, who surprised us all by joining in the fun and dressing up.
What a dinner she prepared for us! Baked Salmon, Pork Chops, Grilled Asparagus, Twice Baked Potato. OF COURSE there was dessert too; Made-to-order "Day of the Dead" Cookies and VooDoo Brownies, not to forget our trick & treat candy.
Day of the Dead Halloween Party with Zydeco Music buy Grammy Award Winning Chubby Carrier & the Swamp Band.
What great foot stomping music! Even Toni got into the act.
No one stayed off the dance floor. Even our wonderful caterer, Virginia, grabbed a few guests and made it to the dance floor.
It was difficult to choose the winner of the costume contest because everyone did such a fantastic job.
The winner is ..... drumroll .....
Door Prizes galore! What fun!
Big breakfast consisting of egg and sausage casserole, pancakes, sausage, hash browns, and oatmeal served by our favorite caterer, Virginia. She is so sweet; she even cooked eggs especially for Don, over easy. She goes above and beyond!
We spent the afternoon at the St. James Cheese Company, a family run enterprise. They built an international network of cheese makers and affineurs who hooked them up with the artisan and farmhouse cheeses not found in other shops. Their name comes from their 200 year old shop in the St. James neighborhood of England where they began their life in cheese before bringing it to New Orleans in 2006.
Operating on the premise that cheese should be fun, they make each visit unique and unforgettable. They lived up to their word! It is a playground for the cheese rookie, the rind-sniffing expert, and the curd curious. Guests are encouraged to try every cheese, every day, to ensure that each cheese is being offered at its peak.
We had our own Cheese Monger,
She taught us how to pare wine with cheese. Check out the huge sandwich they provided us for lunch.
We also had an opportunity to buy some of these unique cheeses.
Our afternoon was spent at Café Du Monda and the French Market. You cannot visit New Orleans without visiting the market. The iconic New Orleans cafe is known for café au laits, chicory coffee & beignets since 1862. It is open 24/7, closing only for Christmas and hurricanes.
What is chicory coffee and beignets? The taste for coffee and chicory was developed by the French during their civil war. Coffee was scarce during those times, and they found that chicory added body and flavor to the brew. The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this taste and many other french customs (heritage) to Louisiana. Chicory is the root of the endive plant. Endive is a type of lettuce. The root of the plant is roasted and ground. It is added to the coffee to soften the bitter edge of the dark roasted coffee. It adds an almost chocolate flavor to the Cafe Au Lait (mixed half and half with hot milk). Beignets were also brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar.
While everyone was enjoying the café, we explored. Ron and Kay got it on with a street vendor singing gospel.
The market can be quite scary.
Meanwhile, at the candy store.
Do you think Kay realizes who she is about to shake hands with? KAY DON’T LOOK AT THE CAMERA, LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO DO!
All that shopping made us hungry, so off to The Country Club for dinner. It is New Orleans’ best kept secret, hidden away in New Orleans’ charming Bywater neighborhood, The Country Club offers an elegant escape from everyday living, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter.
Everyone was comfortably seated in their special section with their own special waiter. Dinner was a choice of roasted chicken, shrimp, flank steak, or penne arrabiata.
Mary discovered the indescribable restroom that we just had to photograph.
The photos just don’t do it justice.
We visited the Sanger Theatre built by Julian Saenger in 1927 for the unheard of price of $2.5 million dollars. Advertisements of the day described it as “an acre of seats in a garden of Florentine splendor.” Today, the interior atmospheric design creates a magnificent 15th century Italian courtyard and gardens, with arched surroundings, columns and decorative moldings.
The suspension of disbelief is completed by a blue domed “sky” ceiling complete with twinkling stars. Greek and Roman statuary line the walls and statues of Venus stand on pedestals along the upper rim of the auditorium.
The theatre was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and redeveloped at a cost of $53 million. It reopened its doors in September 2013.
The theatre show was put on by a special group of children. What talent they have!