Category Archives: Louisiana

Jackson

Ivan and I checked out of the hotel on March 19, 2010.  We put our backpacks into the car.

We walked to Antoine’s for lunch.  Ivan noticed the day before that they had a cheap set menu for lunch.  The set menu is $20.01 for a three course meal and also 25¢ martinis.  Ivan ordered a pepper martini and I ordered vanilla.  Ivan and I ordered two set menus.  We decided on a tasty butternut squash and shrimp soup.  We also got a plain fried crayfish salad.  The waiter gave Ivan a cosmo martini instead.  Ivan told him of the mistake and he brought a pepper martini.  I really liked the vanilla martini.  The cosmo one was good as well.  The pepper one was too weird for me – it actually tasted like pepper.

Our main courses came out next.  We got chicken with mushrooms and peas which was alright.  The trout dish was really boring.  We got two desserts: a chocolate mousse and a raisin and cinnamon bread pudding.  We really loved the bread pudding.  Ivan didn’t really fancy the chocolate mousse though.  I thought it was pretty good.

We walked back to the car.  Ivan started driving to Mississippi at 1:30 pm.  We would be staying in Jackson for a few days.  We arrived in Jackson at 6:30 pm.  We drove to Carl’s place.  He’s a couchsurfer that we’d be staying with for 2 nights.  We met Renaud, a couchsurfer from France at Carl’s apartment.  We also met Whitley who is Carl’s roommate.

Carl is a reporter on the radio.  He’s a friendly guy who’s very energetic.  He really loves music especially funk.

Carl cooked us a nice spaghetti dinner.  Ivan made the salad. 

We met Whitley’s boyfriend KJ.  He looks like Malcolm Macdonald when he played Alex in A Clockwork Orange.  He doesn’t look creepy though.

We went out.  Carl drove Ivan, Renaud and I to Hal and Mal’s.  We saw a great band there called Passsenger Jones. 

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Carl sang some karaoke.  He can really sing.

Next, we went to F. Jones Corner around midnight.  There was some people in the club.  It’s a blues club.  Ivan and I danced some.  It started getting really busy around 2 am. 

It was nice to hear some good music. 

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Carl started playing the bongos along with the band.  There was a black lady named Jackie Bell singing later on.  She has an awesome voice.  Carl played the drums on one song while she was singing. 

We left the bar at 4 am.  It was a good night.

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Cooking in the French Quarter

Ivan and I woke up around 8:30 am on March 18, 2010.  I took a shower.  We packed up our bags.  We were checking out of Hotel Le Cirque.

We put our backpacks in the car.  We started walking to the New Orleans Cooking School.  We were doing a cooking demonstration.

The class with packed with 40 people.  Our teacher was Harriet.  She’s a 68 year old French and Creole lady.  She was really funny. 

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She cooked four dishes: corn and crab bisque, shrimp creole, breading pudding and pralines.  We got to eat each dish.  I will have to try to make the dishes sometime.  The food was really tasty!

Ivan and I walked around the French Market.  I bought some souvenirs for my nephews.  We walked around the French Quarter as well.  I love the colorful buildings and the Spanish balconies. 

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We were a bit tired today.

We walked back to the car.  We drove to our new hotel the Lamothe House.  The hotel has parking for $15 per day.  The room turned out to be really big with a living room and an extra room with a small bed in it. 

We’ve had so much Cajun and Creole food in Louisiana that we wanted to something other than Cajun or Creole.  We searched for a restaurant that served something different in the French Quarter.  But, we couldn’t find anything.

We walked down Bourbon Street.  We walked to Frenchmen Street.  Ivan read that they have bars there that the locals go to.  We didn’t hear any good music so we walked back to the hotel. 

We watched a few episodes of The Inbetweeners.  Then, we went to sleep.

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St. Patty’s Day

I woke up around noon on March 17, 2010.  Ivan usually wakes up a lot earlier than me.  I seem to require 8 hours of sleep but Ivan sleeps 6 hours.

Ivan and I left at 1:30 pm.  We waited about 30 minutes in the line for Acme Oyster House.  It’s highly rated everywhere.  We shared the seafood gumbo and the fried catfish po’ boy.  The po’boy had a lot of catfish in it.  The food was alright, but nothing to write home about.

We finally got to see some zydeco music.  It was a band on the street.  A girl was playing the washboard.  I wonder if it’s hard to play a washboard.  I want to learn!

We went to the Wharf for the Cocktail Walking Tour.  Our tour guide was named Joe.  Our first stop was Napoleon House.  Napoleon House is a very old bar.  The tour doesn’t include any drinks at all.  Joe recommended the Pimm’s Cup at this bar.  It was my first time trying it. It’s like a summery iced tea just like Joe said.

Joe told us about New Orleans.  He told us that the buildings are actually created by the Spanish.  So, the balconies are actually Spanish architecture.  Joe showed us where the first cocktail was created.  An apothecary named Antoine A. Peychaud put bitters in a French cognac for his friends.  He placed it in a coquetier (an egg cup).  The name was mispronounced and became the cocktail.

Our next stop was Antoine’s.  It’s the oldest restaurant in the USA that’s been owned by the same family.  The restaurant has many different rooms.  Many famous people have been there like presidents, Judy Garland and the Pope.  We stopped at their Hermes bar.  Ivan and I tried the Sazerac which is like the original cocktail.  It’s very thick and warms you up.

We went to The Court of Two Sisters next.  They have a beautiful area outside.  Joe told us at the beginning of the tour we would be in and out of these bars.  That’s why we got to go cups (a plastic cup to put your drinks in).  But, he got chatting to people in the group.  It would have been nice if he told stories to all of the group.  Ivan and I shared the Bayou Bash drink.  It was very good and fruity.

The last bar we stopped at was Tony Seville’s Pirate’s Alley Cafe.  It’s a bar that sells absinthe.  When absinthe was illegal in Louisiana, the bar still sold absinthe.  We got a glass of absinthe to share made with the ice cube and the fire. 

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The tour was interesting but I don’t think it’s really worth the $27 per person.  It would have been nice to include at least one drink in one of the bars we stopped at.

We were trying to find the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  But, nobody really seemed to know where it was located.

We went to eat at Pere Antoine.  Ivan ordered grilled catfish and I ordered a muffaletta with no olives.  The waiter didn’t write our order down.  I hate when they do that… coz sometimes they get it wrong.  It was like 30 minutes and we were still waiting for our order.  Ivan asked our waiter (who seemed to disappear all the time) where the food was.  He said that the restaurant was short staffed since only two cooks came in.  It would have been nice to be told these before.  I was just mad that it was taking so long.

Our food finally came 45 minutes later.  My muffaletta was filled with tons of olives.  I was so freaking pissed!  I took off the olives with a knife  Ivan called the waiter over.  He was going to take it and he said Sorry.  I said No, don’t bother it’s just going to take 30 more minutes for me to get my sandwich.  I don’t recommend this restaurant for the slow service and the food was just average anyway.

We went to Bourbon Street.  It was really crowded out.  We were happy to find the St. Patty’s Day Parade.  We had thought it already ended.  There were small floats. 

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There was people throwing beads from the floats.  I kept throwing my hand in the air to get some.  Then, there were guys walking who were giving out fake green & white flowers, beads and garters.  For the good things like the good beads, flowers or garters, you had to give the guy a kiss on the cheek and they kiss you on the cheek.  I kept trying to get as many beads as possible.  I think I got more beads since I’m small.  I felt so heavy since I accumulated so many beads around my neck.

People were throwing beads from the balconies.  Ivan and I kept trying get beads from the people on the balconies.  I found it challenging to get the beads.  It’s just random if they’re going to throw it at you.  One girl wanted this guy to Riverdance.  I did it instead.  How easy is that? 

We went to see Big Al Carson again at the Funky Pirate.  He’s was singing some good blues song.  He’s a really funny guy.  We walked back to the hotel.

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Shrimp Parade

I slept in on March 16, 2010.  It was an overcast day in New Orleans.  We used the free wi-fi in the room.  We boarded the tram at 1 pm headed to the Garden District.

We had a reservation at Commander’s Palace.  If you order an entree, you can get 25¢ martinis.  The restaurant has a set menu.  It was great that both entrees on the set menu were seafood dishes.  Ivan and I shared a good seafood gumbo and a soup with leeks, onion and goats cheese.  We had a nice gulf fish on top of a salad. 

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The grilled shrimp with mash and vegetables was excellent.  We enjoyed a few martinis.  The best one is the Melon one, but the Cosmo Martini is alright too.  Watch out for the regular Martini on the rocks – it’s really strong!

We went to Mardi Gras World next.  We took the tour.  This was recommended by one of my friends.  It’s really the coolest place!  The tour guide told us that the faces and things they make for the floats are called props.  People create the props at Mardi Gras World.  They actually re-use them and create new people or things.  There were numerous props and floats there.  The floats are very tall and colorful.

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We loved this tour!!  We watched a movie about Mardi Gras and the parades.  Seeing all these floats just makes us want to attend Mardi Gras even more.  Our guide did tell us that there would be a St. Patrick’s Day Parade the following day.

We took the free Mardi Gras shuttle to the River Walk.  We walked around the mall there.  We had a beignet at Cafe Du Monde.  It’s a sweet French donut with powdered sugar on top. 

We walked back to Hotel Le Cirque.  Ivan was tired so he took a short nap.  I used the internet.

It was raining slightly outside.  We walked to Bourbon Street at 9 pm.  We heard a band with 10 guys playing Dixieland music on the streets.  We thought it was really cool.  If it was any other city in the USA, it would have been shut down pretty fast.  The cops didn’t even care.  Some black guys were dancing in the street and waving their bandana around.  They didn’t even that cars were coming by.

Ivan and I had dinner at Desire.  We shared a shrimp po’ boy with waffle fries.  Ivan’s never had a bread pudding before so we got it for dessert.  It was quite tasty with the whisky sauce on top.

We walked around and checked out the bars.  It was a shame that it was raining a bit though.  We went inside the cool shop Marie Laveau’s Voodoo House. 

We went into the Funky Pirate Blues Club.  A 495 lb. man named Big Al Carson was singing.  The band is really good.   I really liked a song he sang.  I think it may be called Breaking Point.  It was real catchy.  The bar sells a drink called the Hand Grenade.  It’s $8 and comes in a cool green cup.  It tastes like melon and it’s really strong!

I bought some souvenirs for my nieces in Trader’s Emporium.  We walked back to the hotel.

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Tabasco and New Orleans

Ivan and I woke up around 9:40 am on March 15, 2010.  We packed everything up.  We checked out of the hotel at 11:10 am.

We had lunch at Brenda’s Eat In or Take Out in New Iberia.  We had the chicken stew with sweet peas and potato salad.  The chicken stew was really tasty!!

We walked around New Iberia a little.

Ivan drove us to Avery Island.  It’s $1 entrance fee to the island.  We parked the car.  We went to the building where the Tabasco tour is held.  It smelled like Tabasco sauce.  The tour is free. The tour guide  was a nice lady named Marnell.  It was her birthday.  She just recently found out that she was allergic to the tabasco peppers.  Poor thing.

We got a few mini bottles of Tabasco.  We got Chipotle, Original and Green Pepper.  We watched a movie about Tabasco.  The McIlhenny family and the employees of Tabasco live on Avery Island. 

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Next, we got to see the assembly line.  We saw the labels put on them by machine and then put in boxes.

We went to the Country Store.  Here they sell everything Tabasco.  I didn’t know they had Tabasco Spam.  We tried some samples like soy sauce and salsas with Tabasco.

Ivan and I went driving in the Jungle Garden.  It was such a beautiful day to be outside.  The entrance is $8 per person.  We drove by a bayou. 

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We saw the Buddha that was a gift given to A.E. McIlhenny.  It’s in a little building.  I got gum stuck on my shoe while walking around the garden.  Ugh, why can’t people put their gum in a wrapper and throw it in the trash?  We saw probably about a hundred snow egrets in Bird City.

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Ivan started driving to New Orleans around 4 pm.  We arrived about 6:30 pm.  We had to look for parking around the hotel.  We found $10 parking nearby.  The hotel charges $26 plus tax per day. 

We checked in to the Hotel Le Cirque. 

We walked to the French Quarter.  We wanted to eat at Acme Oyster Shop.  There was a huge line though.  We had dinner at The Gumbo Shop instead.  Ivan and I shared the shrimp and okra gumbo and the grilled catfish with shrimp creole on top.  The food was average and it was a little pricey.

We checked out some of the bars on Bourbon Street.  We stopped to listen to a good band at Maison Bourbon Jazz Club.  I found out later that the singer and trumpet player is named Jamil Sharif.  Our friend Kellie knows him.  There’s a one drink minimum per person per set.

We walked back to the hotel.

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New Iberia

Ivan and I woke up around 8 am on March 14, 2010.  We had already arrived in Galveston, Texas.  Ivan went to the buffet to get some breakfast omelets for us.  We ate them in our room. 

We used the internet.  The announcer let us know that Megan Ham had now left the cruise ship.  We had a great time on the Carnival Conquest cruise ship.  Cruises are a lot of fun! 

I had packed the night before.  Ivan packed up all his things.  We left at 10:35 am.  We got into the line for Customs.  Ivan was in a different line – the Non US citizens line.

One of the Customs guys asked me some questions.  He asked if I was traveling alone.  I said No, I’m traveling with my boyfriend.  He asked Where is he?  I said he’s in that line (the Non US citizens line) and pointed at Ivan.   He said that he would talk to him.  He went over to Ivan and asked him some questions.  Then, he took him to a room.  I was worried about this.  I was thinking the worst like What they deport him?  Then I thought How am I going to drive back to Las Vegas by myself?  Hehe.  I was almost crying.  I really do have a wild imagination.  He did come out maybe 15-20 minutes later. 

He said that they asked about if he gambled on the boat.  They said they have video.  Ivan didn’t gamble at all.  I’m not sure why gambling would be an issue.  I think they were just trying to scare him or something.  But, Ivan said the main guy who pulled him in the room was nice.  There was a black guy in there as well who “tried” to be intimidating.  Ivan thought he watched too many tv cop shows.  I was relieved everything was okay.

We waited for the shuttle to take us to the parking lot.  Ivan started driving the car around 11:45 pm.  We were leaving Galveston, Texas to head to New Iberia, Louisiana.  New Iberia is about 20 miles from Lafayette.

We had to wait for the ferry.  There was lots of cars waiting for the ferry as well.  We finally got to the other side at 1:40 pm.

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Ivan started driving.  We stopped at a Wal-Mart.  We got some food to place in our freezer bag.  I made some chicken sandwiches for us.  It’s basically whole wheat bagel bread, cajun chicken breast slices and Laughing Cow cheese.  It’s really good!

We reached New Iberia in the early evening.  We had dinner at The Boiling Point.  It’s not for it’s boiled shrimp and crawfish.  We don’t really like peeling and cracking shells so we decided to get something else.  Ivan and I shared the mini crab cakes.  We had grilled shrimp and some lovely grilled catfish.  It was really good food!

We checked in to the Ramada in New Iberia.  Thank goodness for free wi-fi!  We used the internet, watched tv and chilled in the room for the rest of the night.

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Music Festival

Ivan went to lunch at Dreyer’s with Scott and his friends on March 6, 2010.  He told me that I could sleep more and he would bring me some food.  He brought me back yummy catfish with yams and an egg salad.

We went to the Geronimo Festival with Scott, Ryan and their friends.  It’s a music festival filled mostly of local bands.  The entrance is $15 per person.

We saw The Scoundrels.  They’re a band from London.  One of Scott’s friends knows the band.  They were good.

We got a chicken gyro sandwich from the deli nearby.

We went to Blue Moon.  We saw a popular local band called The Givers there.  It was freaking packed in the venue.   Ivan and I sat high on our chairs and had a good view.  They’re folk rock.  I can’t believe how the band is so energetic. 

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The music is very unique and fun.  Many people in the crowd jump up and down or just dance around.

We walked to Artmosphere.  There was a band playing there.  But, it wasn’t anything special.

We had dinner at The Filling Station.  Ivan and I shared a chicken salad stuffed in an avocado, a shrimp salad stuffed in an avocado, chicken tortilla soup and a chicken taco.  The chicken tortilla soup wasn’t very warm so the waitress got it re-heated.  But, it wasn’t hot only a little warm.  The avocados with the salads were really good.

We saw Ryan back at The Artmosphere.  We planned to meet them at Sadie’s downtown for the Fleur de Tease show.

We walked to Sadie’s.  It was crowded in there.  We were near the stage, but I couldn’t see since I’m so short.  It sucks being short and not being able to see at shows or concerts.  Fleur de Tease is a burlesque show from New Orleans.  It was alright.  We left since we wanted to go to bed early since we had an early start tomorrow.  We said good bye to Scott and left around 9:30 pm.

Ivan and I went back to the house and used the internet.  Then, it was time to sleep.

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Pink Floyd and Hypnosis

Ivan and I left John and Becky’s house on March 5, 2010.  We went to their shop Pack and Paddle to say thank you and good bye, but they were busy.  So, we said we’d come back later.

Since we’d be heading on our cruise soon, we stopped at Wal-Mart to buy some things.  We stopped at Ross and Ivan bought some dress clothes.  There are two elegant nights on the cruise where everybody dresses up.  So, he bought some nice shirts and slacks.

We drove back to Pack and Paddle.  We said thank you and good bye to Becky.

Next, we drove to Scott’s house.  He’s the couchsurfer we were staying with for the next two days.  We also met his roommate Ryan.  They’re both attending college right now.  Scott asked if we wanted to go with them to the Filling Station.  They were meeting their friends there. 

Scott drove us to the Filling Station which was very close to his house.  It used to be a gas station.  They didn’t change it much so it still kind of looked like a gas station.  We met Scott’s friends.  We had a few cups of strong margaritas.  Ivan and I shared an avocado bowl which came with other vegetables. 

Scott drove us back to his place.  Ivan performed hypnosis on Ryan.  He was hypnotized, but for some reason hallucinations didn’t work on him.

Scott and Ryan walked us to Nite Town.  It’s only like 10 minutes away.  We were going to see Bricks in the Wall – The Sights and Sounds of Pink Floyd.  We said bye to Scott and Ryan.

We got some good flat bread sandwiches at Subway. 

The show was supposed to start at 9 pm and the doors would open at 8 pm.  But, they were running behind – so we got in about 9 pm.  We found a table and sat down.  There was a dance floor and not many tables.  Ivan found out that the band would be on at 10 pm.  It was cold inside the bar. 

The band started about 10:15 pm.  Bricks in the Wall is an awesome tribute band.  There was also lights and lasers going on.  The wine was cheap there and tasted good.  It was only $3.50 per glass.  We enjoyed the show so much. 

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The band played tons of songs like Pigs (Three Different Ones), Breathe, Mama, Sheep, The Great Gig in the Sky and all of Wish You Were Here.  The band was celebrating the 35th anniversary of the album Wish You Were Here.  The songs they played for the encore was Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell.  The show was almost 3 hours long.

We met up with Scott at the Green Room.  It was almost closing time.  Bars close at 2 am in Lafayette.  There was a guy on a microphone saying that the bar was closed and we had to leave the bar.  If you have a glass or glass bottle and you walk out the door, you’ll be arrested on the spot.  The bar provides plastic cups so you can put your drink in there. 

We left the bar.  The guy on the microphone was one of Scott’s friends named Josh.  The police blow their whistle and make people leave the bar after 2 am.  If you stay around the area, the police will blow their whistle and tell you to move along. 

Josh wanted Ivan to hypnotize him.  Scott told people to come to his house.  We walked there. 

Ivan hypnotized Josh.  It was really funny.  It went on for hours and everybody enjoyed it.

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Cajun Swamp Birthday

Ivan and I woke up early on March 4, 2010.  It was my birthday. 

John cooked us eggs with toast.  It was good.  Ivan booked the Champagne’s swamp tour for 10 am this morning. 

We drove out towards Lake Martin.  It’s a 20 minute drive from Lafayette.  Bryan was our tour guide.  He had thick Louisiana accent, so it was hard to understand him sometimes.  There were 5 people and two monkeys (Lil Dave and Big Dave decided to join us!).  It was really beautiful out on the lake.  Bryan tried to explain the difference between a swamp, bayou and a lake.  But, somehow I still don’t know the difference! 

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We saw lots of animals like alligators, nutria (water rats), egrets, a bald eagle, red hawk and turtles.  It was a great tour!

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The French couchsurfers Cedric and Sophie were on a different tour.  Their tour guide spoke French.  We waited for their tour to finish.  We asked if they wanted to join us for lunch. 

Ivan thought we should check out Blue Dog Cafe.  Becky recommended it to us.  Ivan shared the tasty gumbo that came with oysters, shrimp and crab meat.  It was definitely better than the one we had the night before.  We also shared grilled catfish with crawfish etouffee on top with rice.  It was great food!  The artist George Rodrigue became famous for the blue dogs that he puts in paintings.  So, there’s so many paintings of the blue dogs in the restaurant. 

Next, we drove to Vermillion Ville.  It’s a Cajun and Creole Museum.  The French people bought their tickets first.  Since they were from France, they got a discount of $3 per ticket.  So, it was $5 per person.  The lady asked us if we were from France as well.  Ivan said that we were.  We got the discount as well.  The village shows how the Cajun/Creole people lived when they settled in Louisiana over 200 years ago.  Most of the houses are the original buildings.  I think the church was the only recreation.  One building had different displays like a tornado inside.  I saw a microscope that was handheld.  You could use it to look at feathers and leaves that were provided for you.  I stuck it on my face and it looked scaly.  We went to one building where a Creole man was.  He started talking and going off on a tangent. 

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He played some cool songs on his fiddle for us.  We went to a few houses and a schoolhouse.  There’s a ferry where you have to pull it across the lake by hand.  It’s just a rope that’s attached to the other side.  It’s a cool living museum to check out.  The French couple decided to do more sightseeing.  We were going to head back to John and Becky’s place.

It was a nice, sunny day so Ivan wanted to get ice cream.  We stopped at the only Borden’s ice cream shop left in the USA.  We got a scoop of strawberry and chocolate.  I preferred the chocolate.  The ice cream is really cheap at $1.25 per scoop (in a cup).  It’s good ice cream!

Ivan drove us back to the house.  We chilled for awhile and used the internet.  Ivan decided that we should take a cruise.  We weren’t sure that we had time for it.  We’re actually going to be extending our road trip 2 more weeks.  Ivan booked a last minute cruise.  We’ll be going to Key West and The Bahamas.

We went to dinner with Cedric and Sophie.  We drove to Prejean’s.  Ivan and I shared the fried alligator.  Becky said we had to try it.  It was quite tasty!  Ivan had the the fried catfish.  I had the chicken pasta inez which is blackened chicken with penne pasta in a creole sauce.  The food was really good! 

I had an awesome birthday!  It was fun filled and we had really good Cajun food!

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Lafayette

Ivan and I left Houston, Texas at 2 pm on March 3, 2010.  We were driving to Lafayette, Louisiana.  We arrived there at 5:10 pm.  The couchsurfers we were staying with weren’t home yet.  Becky did recommend CC’s Community Coffee.  We stopped there and got a cup of tea and a slice of banana bread.  We used the free wi-fi as well.

We drove to John and Becky’s house.  They’re a friendly couple.  A few minutes later, 2 French couchsurfers (a couple) arrived.  We said hi to the new couchsurfers Cedric and Sophie.  They’re French but they live in Germany.  They would be staying 2 nights also.  Since Ivan contacted Becky earlier on couchsurfing – we got the main room downstairs.  It’s a room with a comfy bed and it’s own bathroom attached to it.

Becky asked if we wanted to get dinner at a Cajun restaurant called Cafe Des Amis.  John had to go since he had a presentation to make for the Boy Scouts on backpacking.  We said we’d go.

We piled in the Becky’s car with Cedric, Sophie, John and Becky’s dog Boone.  There was a bluesy jazz band on called Chelsea Ellison Trio.

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Ivan ordered us a bottle of Blue Moon Cabernet Sauvignon.  Ivan and I shared a cup of tasty gumbo. 

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We also had fried catfish nuggets and a main dish of crawfish etouffee and fried shrimp.  Becky and Ivan sent back the main dish since the crawfish wasn’t very hot at all.  The food was average.  It was nice talking to Becky, Cedric and Sophie.  Cedric and Sophie are only in Louisiana for a week.  It’s weird but they haven’t made any plans for anything yet.  I think if I was going to a place for only a week, I would plan where I’d be staying and things to do.

Becky drove us back to the house.  John was back from his presentation.  He talked to the French couchsurfers about places to see in Louisiana. 

Everybody said good night and went to bed early.

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