Today is “Alligator Day” with Rivoli Rallies! We enjoyed the entire day with Bruce Mitchell, his wife, Janet, and their friends Wayne & Patty. Bruce is now one of the main reality stars on History Channel’s hit show Swamp People.
“Alligatorman” Bruce & Janet Kliebert met when they were in Jr. High. In 1980, Bruce married Janet Kliebert. You may recognize her name from Kliebert's Alligator & Turtle Farm. Bruce began working at Kliebert's around age 20 and moved on the farm property when he married Janet. Over a period of thirty plus years, he learned from his father-in-law, many aspects of the business and was able to take on more responsibility. With Janet’s help, they ran the business together with Janet's father for over thirty years.
While working at the farm, Bruce was asked by the A & E Network if he would like to participate in a documentary on the History Channel. Being that the History Channel was (and still is) the most watched network in the Mitchell household, how could he say no? From there Bruce and
Swamp People were connected.
In his honor, and because we were in “Gator” country, we had a morning of gatorgames. It got a bit confusing today because we also had a guest by the name of Bruce Mitchell. I know, crazy - right?
And, yes, there were prizes. What else, but GATORHEADS.
Everyone was able to get them signed by Alligatorman. How cool is that?!
Speaking of alligator heads, that’s what was for lunch.
Muffuletta, pasta salad, gourmet cookies, Voo Doo chips and a big old fashion dill pickle; remember the ones you used to get out of a barrel when you were a kid.
Before Bruce, aka alligaorman, got ready to cook us dinner, we had to make sure he got all of his energy from an ice cream social. Not just any kind of ice cream, but a banana split with your choice of flavor.
While settling our stomachs from all that food, we engaged in a Black Jack class to get us ready for that next casino.
Once we were comfortable that we could “beat the house” on our next casino visit, we joined Bruce outside who was cooking pastalaya for us, along with our appetizers of shrimp boulettes, twice baked stuffed petite potatoes, crawfish pie, and gourmet cheese board.
What a treat. Many of us helped with the stirring, while his wife, Janet, was busy on facebook Live. We had people from all over the world watching Bruce entertaining Rivoli Rallies.
We thoroughly enjoyed Bruce, his wife, and friends as well as the delicious food they prepared for us. They are such down to earth “real” people. This is how caring they are; one of our guests ended up in the hospital the day before and Bruce drove with Ron, 1 hour away, to visit him.
Bill was so happy that he was able to meet Alligatorman in person. How many celebrities do you know who would do that?
BRAVE the R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed) Friday! Muffins, croissants, bagels, king cake, and yogurt.
We were honored to have the local St. Mary’s Parish High School JROTC present colors. A big thank you to Lt. Col. Cory Williams for his dedication to these young men and women.
We also enjoyed a program by Steve Alvarez, who is part of the Louisiana Sons of the Confederate Veterans.
He must have brought at least 25 flags portraying the development of the Louisiana State Flag to show us. We could have spent an extra hours listening to him, but we had to hop on the bus and off for our day of touring.
Today, we enjoyed the lighthouses in the area. Stopping first at Southwest Reef Lighthouse, located on the western bank of the Atchafalaya River in Berwick, Louisiana, the centerpiece of the Everett S. Berry Memorial Lighthouse Park.
In 1987, the lighthouse was lifted from the screw piling - where it sat since before the Civil War - in an attempt to preserve the historic structure for future generations.
This historic structure is 1 of only 3 easily accessible lighthouses in the State of Louisiana.
The square, pyramidal tower constructed of iron plates was first lit September 1, 1859 and was decommissioned in 1916. It remained abandoned until 1987 when it found a new home in Berwick Bay.
The original Canal Lighthouse was built in 1838 on a foundation of sheet piling filled in with shells. The tower was octagonal, built of cypress, about 28 feet high. The tower deteriorated badly and was replaced in 1855 with a square wood dwelling on screw piles with an iron lantern and a 5th order Fresnel Lens. In 1890 the structure was again replaced, with the light being raised to 49 feet. The 1890 structure was substantially rebuilt in 1901. It was damaged by hurricanes in 1903, 1915, 1926, and 1927 and moved to its current location in 1910. After the 1927 damage it was raised on new concrete piers and in 1936, the breakwater surrounding it was filled in, putting land under the structure for the first time.
This famous NOLA landmark is the fourth lighthouse on the site. The historic New Canal Lighthouse at West End on Lakeshore Drive was severely damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The first floor had collapsed and its cupola had fallen off. It was disassembled and the building was put into storage. Reconstruction of the lighthouse began in February 2012 and was completed in 2013.
We were split into 2 groups for a guided tour of the lighthouse and museum.
Lunch was at the Amelia belle casino, a steamboat, where we had plenty of time to eat and try our luck on the slots, as well as photo ops. All I can say is they have the best peanut butter pie!!!!!!!
Finishing our day at the French Food Festival, located in Larose, where we were met by a welcoming committee upon our arrival.
WOW, they made us feel that we were celebrities. We enjoyed over 20 local special dishes along with dancing and music.
In Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, food is a big deal and has been for generations. Local chefs and cooks served up some of the best Cajun food in Louisiana. To satisfy your craving for Cajun food, you’ve got to wander of the beaten path, which is what we did!