Well, here we are, our final farewell breakfast. Our chef, Virginia, has become part of our family and we will miss her terribly. BUT it is not goodbye because we will see her again at future rallies. Come join RiVoli Rallies when we embark upon Southern Louisiana in 2019!
We at Rivoli Rallies find this day the hardest. All of you are such an important part of our lives, and we enjoy every minute with you during these rallies.
Our very own scapegoat took his job seriously and graciously accepted the blame for anything that went wrong. Who will be our scapegoat in 2019?
It is so difficult for each and everyone of us to say goodbye, although we know it is not goodbye – but a “so long” until we see you at the next rally.
But until then, we bid you farewell, safe travels …. until we see you again.
Our final “full” day here in Southern Louisiana. It is hard to believe we have done everything there is to do in these two fun filled weeks, but we did! It is NOT hard to believe we ate it all. Wining and dining at the best of the best.
Virginia outdid herself on our last day by preparing pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit for breakfast. What else could you possibly want?
Final Lunch with this Crazy Bunch. Crawfish etouffee, vegetable soup, shrimp and corn soup, and chicken pot pies. What!? And this was just lunch. Check out that chicken pot pie!
Ice Cream and Memories. Orange and root beer floats while we reminisced.
As always, we end our rallies with a “shoot the bull” so that we can get your feedback so that we can improve our rallies in the future. We want to please “you.” While we “shot” that bull, we munched on bacon wrapped spinach bites, crab dip, and crabmeat remoulade.
Last Night Bootylicious catered dinner by our very own Virginia. Prime Rib, baked Italian chicken breast, baked potato, green beans and carrots. I said “And” not “Or.” THAT is A LOT of food! Look at the size of that prime rib!
Dessert, did someone ask about dessert?! Well now,
Our Custom Made Day of the Dead cake! IT WAS THE BOMB!
Kay and Ron entertained us like there was no tomorrow. Everyone hit the dance floor.
How low can you go?
Hands in the air, like you just don’t care.
Not to forget the RiVoliRallies Train!
OR the prizes!
Final Fanfare Farewells is always a difficult moment. Even though we STILL have a morning breakfast before parting, we know some are anxious to get on the road early and their final farewells are in the evening of our final dinner.
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….