Years ago, when my children were in the pre-teens and my daughter love Beanie Babies, the kids bought be a Beanie Babies crab named Claude. My children had a way of animating any object, giving it life and personality. Claude was given a Cajun persona, complete with a love of Cher, the singer, and a down south accent. (He) used to sit on my dashboard as we drove in my new Sentra, keeping an eye on my driving. He was frequently heard to say: Safety first Chère, Safety first! In those days, I was very anxious about driving and just being a single mother to two wonderful kids. Claude was just one of the many distraction that helped me get through it.
So here we are in Louisiana. Leon drove from Galveston to Breaux Bridge, just east of Lafayette in some of the worst thunderstorms we have seen. At one point we pulled over because the traffic had slowed to a halt, possibly due to an accident. Leon had the smart idea to stop at the nearby church so we could park and eat lunch as we watched the storm and the traffic.
As we arrived in Louisiana, we noticed the terrain was indeed filled with watery areas. First large rice fields, and then the famous bayous. If you are from Australia, you’d probably call them billabongs. Here, they are constant wet areas. Even the trees were sitting in water.
The highlight of the roadtrip was a dead armadillo on the side of the road. Yeah! I finally got to see one. Wish we could have gotten a picture.
We drove into our campsite, a beautiful setting on numerous man-made ponds. If we had the equipment, we could fish all we wanted. These ponds are stocked with all kinds of fish like bass, bream, sacalait and catfish. Well we don’t fish, but we do eat seafood. So of course we had to ask about having a crawfish boil.
The nice girl at the reception directed us to the Fruit Stand for an authentic Cajun crawfish meal. We ordered 3 lbs of crawfish, medium spice, with potato and corn. With our dinner in hand, we drove back to the campground in a terrible thunderstorm. The storm was so bad that we had time to sit and have a beer/wine for almost an hour before Leon could go out to plug in the electrical current.
Here is what we learned about eating crawfish:
- The little devils look like small lobsters. Their claws and tails have meat but you might not bother with the claws on some of the smaller ones.
- When you order medium spice, the locals mean it’s extra spicy. I love hot food, but my lips were swelling. To allow us to finish our dinner, I actually rinsed the crawfish in clear water to remove some of the boiling spice.
- Crawfish are juicy. Sometimes when you pull them apart, they splash that nasty spicy stuff into your eyes. Leon had to run to the bathroom to rinse out his eye. He suggests you always wear safety goggles to eat crawfish. I, fortunately, had my reading glasses on, so I avoided injury right off.
- There is actually meat in the claws if you want to work on them. We had some lobster utensils that came in really handy.
- The potato they serve is really just for flavour. We had one potato and a half cob of corn to share between us. It left us craving more potato. I actually boiled some potatoes in the rinsing water and they were a very satisfying after-dinner snack. The rinse water was so full of pepper that I actually choked each time I would open the lid on the pot.
Tomorrow, we plan to visit some of the local sights like the Longfellow National Historic Site in remembrance of his poem Evangeline. From there, I am hoping we will visit Baton Rouge as we make our way to New Orleans.
Laissez les bons temps rouler…
PS, we have been seeing these weird mounds on lawn all over the place in Louisiana. Today, we finally saw one up close as we stopped at McDonalds. I took a picture and Leon looked it up. You’ll never guess what it was. I’ll tell you in the next post.