Saturday, March 17, 2012

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Let The Good Times Roll in Cajun French, is the title of this post.  For us, it's: zydeco, bread pudding, happy people, po-boys, community coffee, LSU fanaticism, alligators, pig roasts, the swamps and bayous, crawfish, Huey Long's statue, drive-in daiquiri stores, the state's capitol building,  swamp tours, pirouges, boudin, gumbo and ettoufee ... we love it all. We even say "nu-awlins" instead of New Or-leeeens.

We love Louisiana. Mostly because of Baton Rouge where we lived and loved living for five years during the mid-1990's.  The friendliest people, the best food and the most festive atmosphere made us feel this way, despite mosquitoes the size of small horses.

Home for the next few days, or maybe a week, turns out to be Lakeside RV Park near Livingston, about 15 miles east of Baton Rouge, just off I-10.  What a nice little gem and favorite campground this turned out to be. Clean and well-designed with manicured grounds and campsites surrounding a large lake that's suitable for fishing. The weather is hot and humid most days even though it was downright cold the Saturday we arrived here for the first stop in our new Endie.
Looking across the lake to the other side of the campground. 

This is our campsite across from the lake.
Even though the sites are close together, they are laid out in a way that feels  private.
There's a large white swan who resides anywhere it chooses at Lakeside RV Park and I really believe this 30 pounder could easily kill Lexie and Ozzie with it's huge wings, without even having to use that massive 12" neck or "spatula sized" beak.  We steer clear of the swan, known 'round here as "Snowflake" -- yea, I bet.
Snowflake came by our campsite for a visit to dump a pile of swan do-do on at least one occasion.

Snowflake gets really comfortable, really fast. 
Snowflake also leaves a "cow-size" black poop pattie.
Eating is a favorite pastime for us while we're in Baton Rouge. The first few days here we didn't get to enjoy much in the way of culinary goodies, but on Saturday, Al Lemoine, our sales representative at The RV Shop, brought a surprise foodie bag to us from his nearby favorite place, Jerry Lee's.
One the left: Hog's Head Cheese (ooohhh, so good but full of cholesterol)
The links (right) are another favorite: Warm Boudin! Yum.
No visit to Baton Rouge is complete for us without a morning stop at Coffee Call for an order of beignets and/or fingers.  Coffee Call is BR's answer to Cafe du Monde in New Orleans.  The location has changed since we lived here but the inside looks the same and the beignets are still just as delicious!
Nicer looking from the outside that the old location...
Beignets were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. Beignets are fritters, fried usually in cottonseed oil, served either as three rectangular biscuits or fingers covered in powdered sugar. 
Inside it's the same as it always was. 
Powdered sugar everywhere.  Oh joy.

Beignets are made at this station. The preparation is a sight to behold.

These beignet "fingers" have already been scooped out of the cooking pot and are being heaped onto plates.

The end result --- after the sugar dump.

Another day we stopped in at a "hole-in-the-wall" eatery for lunch of.....
Fried catfish! Louisianans cook it better than anybody!

Wayne always loves an Oyster Po-Boy. This one was exceptionally good.
Another morning we drove north on Airline Highway to Franks Restaurant and Smokehouse, another weekend favorite of ours when we lived here.  This is one of those big open two-room family restaurants that cooks and serves great home cooking.  While I didn't get a picture of our actual plates, we both had platters of eggs, bacon, grits, home fries and "grilled biscuits" -- they slice the biscuits in half, butter them and lay them on the grill 'till they are golden brown.  Oh yum -- I'm gaining weight by the tens of pounds, I fear.
Inside one of the dining rooms at Franks.

Really inconspicuous, Frank's Restaurant can easily be missed.

Because we ate such a huge breakfast so late in the morning, we felt like taking either a nap or a walk and opted for the latter in a moment of sanity.  We drove around to see some of our old haunts, including a ride downtown Baton Rouge and past a few of our old haunts.
Wayne's office looked over the Mississippi River from some of the windows above.  It was Hibernia Bank then.

The old Louisiana State Capitol.

From River Road, south of the city.
Through the fog, the Mississippi River Bridge (I-10) can be seen.

A later view of the bridge, the levee and some gas lines along River Road.

Frostop is a local landmark.

This was our home in Baton Rouge. We bought it brand new and loved it. Great floorplan.

A ride around campus and a decent shot of Tiger Stadium through the fog.
Louisiana's Capitol is a good place for Lexie and Ozzie to take a walk and we're ready to throw off a few calories from breakfast so we parked the car and strolled the grounds.
Louisiana State Capitol

Wayne is walking Lexie along the sidewalk on the capitol grounds.
Beautiful old live oak in the background. The trees here are beautiful.

Huey P. Long looks over the capitol.

Ozzie is learning to lift his leg. He usually squats.

Lots of interesting smells for Lexie.

We had a great day, the fog finally lifted, the sun came out bright and hot and we were exhausted by the end of the day. 

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