Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Baton Rouge, Lafayette & Crowley, LA 2/24-2/26/2014

On the road again Monday Feb. 24
 but first it was "good by" to our dear new friends that we celebrated the weekend with.
Originally we only registered for 2 nights.  So when we booked for Sunday night we had to move to a different site.  Right on the bayou.

We stopped at Penney's in Gautier because we heard they were closing so we got some new duds. We also got some microfiber towels. They are definitely what we need in humid weather like we've had. We've had ours for over 3 years. I was thinking time for some new one. Good purchases and supporting this great town.

We stopped at the same visitor center 3 years ago when traveling through here. Interesting to see again the Mardi GRAS costumes. Gorgeous dresses. We stayed at Walmart in Denham Springs, LA.

On the road again Tuesday Feb. 25.  We took the time for a good walk before heading out.  When we stopped at the visitors center in Louisiana I got info about a Mud Painter.
Henry Neubrig Gallery in Baton Rouge. What an interesting gentleman and his wife. They are both art teachers of many mediums.
They built their house starting in 1978.
 He and his wife were so interesting to listen to.
 Henry uses the pigments of soil from different Louisiana parishes (counties) for his painting.

He has lectured around the U. S. and even in Paris.

Next stop was at the National Hansen's Disease Museum in Carville, LA.  Since 1894 many with leprosy came to this area to be cared for. The Daughters of Charity accepted the call to be the caregivers.
We watched a video from PBS about Hansen's Disease and this location. Very informative. The video showed the changes in the patient's face when they had the newly discovered medicine to reverse the disease. This was a very touching experience.

Photos were only allowed outside.  I learned one of the gals with us last weekend at Gautier had worked here.  She said she really cared for these people.
 We are driving along the Mississippi River and came upon a pocket of fog.
Even as we are on I-10 crossing the mighty River it is foggy.

 We enjoyed a meal at Blue Dog Cafe in Lafayette. We had stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, grilled shrimp and andouille.

We stayed at Acadiana City Park in Lafayette, LA.  It started raining at 8 pm.

On the road again Wednesday Feb. 26 following a rainy night to the Orphan Train Museum in Opelousas, LA.
 Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbon, S. C.  took in a baby left on her doorstep.  She founded the New York Foundling Hospital in 1869.  It was the first orphanage in Greenwich Village.  
The Orphanage took in so many orphans that she made a plea to Catholic priests for families to assist in caring for the orphans.
 Rev. John Engberink, Pastor of St. Landry Catholic Church, Opelousas,1895-1918 answered her call.

In the April and May  of 1907 three trains arrived in Opelousas with orphaned children.  
The children were supervised on the train by Agent Swayne, two Sisters of Charity and two nurses.
Each child wore a tag and identification number.  Each prospective parent held a corresponding number to their assigned child.
Map  showing the styes and how many children went to new home.   We learned the story of orphans from New York who traveled by train to hundreds of locations throughout the country. This is one of two Museums about the Orphan Trains. 
 There were many touching stories posted.

 As we entered there was a sign said "No photos were allowed." but the more we talked with the two ladies working there the more they wanted the word out.  This is the photo of the father-in-law of one of the docents.  She was so eager to tell some of his life experiences.
 The family was so happy they could make a verification of his mother and his birth record.
What a heart warming visit with these wonderful ladies and reading the stories of so many orphans who came to Louisiana.

At the City Hall/visitors center of Crowley we met Charlotte the Tourism Coordinator.

Wow, what a dynamite of a gal. She shared lots of info about Crowley and energetically invited us to the Rice Arena. The local CBS station would be featuring Crowley and broadcasting the news live from 5 to 5:30. Grammy winner Wayne Toup will perform from 5:30 to 6 during the national news. Then the news again will be broadcasted from the Rice Arena from 6 to 7 pm.

Before she gave us a tour of the Museum she showed a film. Coincidentally another couple from Illinois joined in on the tour of the Museum. We talked with them after the tour. They are traveling in a Euro-Van and came to celebrate Mardi Gras in Eunice, LA.

The Museum houses an exhibit on rice farming.

Rice growing areas.

Before farmers used dryers all the rice went to market at the same time.  With dryers a farmer is able to store the rice and sell it when the price goes up.
 Interesting to learn about the raising of crawfish.
 Crawfish trap.
Harvesting crawfish.

The second floor has several Model T.

Model T Sedan has been running since 1923 through rice fields, dusty roads, small town streets and four lane highways.  It takes a good 
crank to get its motor revved but purrs like a kitten once it hits the open road.
Loaded with 50 boys weighing 3,492 pounds in Payne, OH.
 Henry Ford shipped the cars here by rail.
To get as many in a boxcar as possible the fenders were taken off.
 The cars were then assembled.

Another exhibit on the second floor was J. D. Miller Music.

Evening News live from the Rice Arena at Crowley.  

We went to the Rice Arena. Originally the news broadcast was scheduled to be outside but the weather turned unusually cool. Temperatures were in the low 40's. It was interesting to watch the production of the news.  During the national news the gal on the right came up to us and welcome us for being the farthest away participants.
They had a group of locals they interviewed to highlight all the activities that happen here.
Grammy Award winner Wayne Toup and band

 Krewe members from last year's Mardi Gras Ball.
The lion King!   What a costume!

Not everyone sat in the bleachers like we did.

Wayne Toups entertained the crowd. Phil and I got on the dance floor for a slow dance....not when the music was fast. We had our dinner from the Food Trucks. Phil had fish and chips. I had tasty jambalaya. Charlotte spread the word that we were from Illinois. The blonde anchor lady came to talk to us and said....can I take your picture? We visited with a couple who had been on the court for last year's Mardi Grass celebration. We left at 6:30. We were chilled. The Arena was actually for showing animals like when I was in 4-H. It was partially open and breezy.

We stayed at Walmart in Crowley.

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