Photos




Cajun Country
(Click thumbnails to see full-size photos)




22 Acadian Parishes: Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Evangeline, Acadia,
Vermilion, Avoyelles, St. Landry, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, Iberia, St. Mary, W. Baton Rouge,
Iberville, Assumption, Accension, St. James, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles







Natchitoches

On our way down to visit "Cajun Country" in April, our very first stop just had to be the
Steel Magnolia House, where the movie "Steel Magnolias" was filmed in Natchitoches, LA.
Natchitoches is actually located in the "Crossroads Region" of Louisiana just above Acadian Parishes.
The home is now an awesome Bed & Breakfast, and was a memorable highlight of our trip! I believe the
movie "Steel Magnolias" is timeless to Louisiana and Southern women, just as "Gone With the Wind" is
for the Civil War era South. Located approximately 2 hours north of Lafayette, which was our base in
SW Louisiana during our trip, I would not have missed the opportunity to visit the Steel Magnolia House
for anything! It's a beautiful home not only reminiscent of the movie, but also one packed with lots of
Louisiana history and, of course, dripping with Southern charm as sweet as sugah, itself!

The entire South had experienced a colder than normal, and extended, 2009 winter; so, the flowers
(especially Azaleas) were late blooming everywhere this year. However, the South is never without
blooming flowers. I was in awe of the huge pink, Japanese Magnolia trees that some Southerners call "Tulip
trees." Their large, fallen petals carpeted the grounds of Steel Magnolia House in pink --- Shelby's
(and my) "signature color" --- as well as many places throughout Natchitoches. Camellias in various colors
were also blooming everywhere down to Lafayette and throughout South Louisiana. It had been many
years since I was fortunate to see so many varieties of Camellias.



You may CLICK HERE for more about the Steel Magnolia House


Below is a taste of the beautiful Steel Magnolia House and quaint Natchitoches, the oldest permanent
settlement in Louisiana after the Louisiana Purchase. It is older than New Orleans...




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Steel Magnolia House
from Rue Jefferson Street
in the Historic District
(April 2010)
Steel Magnolia House
from corner of Rue Poete
and Rue Jefferson Streets
(April 2010)
Pink Japanese Magnolia
petals EVERYWHERE -
in Blush or Bashful? :-)
(April 2010)
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Looking out an early morning
window in Shelby's Room
(April 2010)
So many special, loving
touches fill Shelby's Room
(April 2010)
Greeted with YUMMY
cookies and Shelby's Room
Special Guest Book on the
nightstand. :-)
(April 2010)



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Looking down on the fountain
where Ouiser and Clairee
"made-up" on a beach
placed in front
(April 2010)

A FANTASTIC breakfast!
Andouille Sausage Quiche,
plump red grapes, and
pomegranate/blueberry
juice - picture perfect
and soooo good!
(April 2010)
Standing by the front porch
column where Ouiser tied her
dog in the movie
(April 2010)
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Basking in huge, gorgeous
pink petals!
(April 2010)
What more can I say about
the beauty of the embracing
Southern porch?
(April 2010)
And, YES, Southerners
do decorate for every
season! In its Christmas
glory, this door was
featured on the cover of
a 2009 Natchitoches
local newspaper section.
(April 2010)



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Beautiful Red Camellias
gracing the backyard
(April 2010)
Rue Williams Avenue under
the Oaks where Annelle is
seen walking into town at
the beginning of the movie
(April 2010)
Looking toward the Historic
Downtown District
across the Cane River
(April 2010)
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Crossing the bridge
over Cane River
(April 2010)
One of the many benches,
on the Historic Downtown side
of the river, and also
carpeted in goreous pink
Japanese Magnolia petals
(April 2010)
Part of the Historic
Downtown District along
the Cane River
(April 2010)







Fred
(March 2010)

Cajun Country is dedicated to Fred Melancon, a wonderful man and a very special friend
who lovingly and willingly shared his native Acadian heritage with everyone who crossed his path.
I will forever be grateful for him and never forget his selfless generosity.
Rest in Peace Dear Friend
(September 28, 1946 - August 10, 2010)




Swamp Pop Music


What is Swamp Pop?

For those who think you have no idea, you may be amazed to know you've
probably listened to it at some point and may have even danced to it without realizing.
Great Cajun food is not the only thing unique to these warm, fun-loving people! Fantastic
music fills the area and their lives --- music that reaches into the very core of the
heart! Swamp Pop is one of the genres you will hear whenever you visit Cajun country.
Go to Wikipedia below for some concise, but good information that may surprise you
about Swamp Pop music:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swamp_pop


Note

Visiting KBON 101.1 FM

KBON 101.1 FM radio station is unlike any you will ever see. Mr. Paul Marx has created
not only a great radio station, but also a one-of-a-kind "home" for artists and musicians, and
everyone else who may walk through his door! It's like a museum for hundreds of recording artists
and musicians who have visited and left their signatures, photographs, and personal items displayed
on the many hallways and walls throughout the entire building. There are also oodles of recording,
radio, and phonograph memorabilia, as well as items local to South Louisiana filling the three, large
display windows on the front entrance of the building. And, it doesn't even stop there folks!
Throughout the building you will see so much more on display!


Click HERE to see Paul Marx, owner of KBON
& DJ Fred Melancon




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KBON 101.1 FM
Radio Station
Eunice, LA
(March 2010)
Front display window
at entrance of KBON
(March 2010)




Left display window
at entrance to KBON
(March 2010)
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Inside the many halls at
KBON. The chicken-wire
object is actually a
crawfish net.
(March 2010)
DJ Fred Melancon is
not only "Louisiana Proud"
but also KBON Proud!
He thoroughly enjoys
showing off all the artists'
signatures & memorabilia!
(March 2010)




An early Shondell
album with
Swamp Pop Greats
as Warren Storm &
Rod Bernard.
(March 2010)
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Shirt and belt worn
by Jimmy C. Newman
on the Grand Ole Opry
on display at KBON
(March 2010)
Irma Thomas poster
signed for KBON. I've
been a very BIG FAN
of hers since the early
60's. Irma is
New Orleans "Queen of Soul!"
(March 2010)




note

WOW! Singing with da' Classics!


What a great way to end a night out with Fred and Sandra Melancon!
They brought my husband and I to hear Sean Vidrine and da' Classics
who were performing in the Lafayette area; and, before we left, someone
grabbed me to let me know I was going to sing with them! Awesome, but
no practice? Not a problem --- it was a Piece-of-Cake for these GREAT
musicians with whom I sang an Irma Thomas favorite, "It's Raining"!

A Special Thank You to such a Wonderful band
for the FUN opportunity!

"Sean Vidrine & da' Classics"

Sean Vidrine - Accordion/vocals
Charles (Charlo) Guilbeau - Keyboard/vocals
Bradley Lavergne - Lead guitar/vocals
Raylan (Rock) Allemand - Bass/vocals
Carl Dugas - Drums/vocals
Jim Hebert - Scrubboard/Manager




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Sean Vidrine and da' Classics
(March 2010)




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Getting it altogether
really fast!
(March 2010)
Singing "It's Raining"
These guys really brought
me back into my element!
(March 2010)
With Sean Vidrine,
fantastic accordion player
and singer!
I've enjoyed his CD I
brought back with me!
(March 2010)




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Singing "It's Raining"
with Raylan (Rock) Allemand
playing Bass guitar
(March 2010)
Singing "It's Raining"
with Charlo Guilbeau at
the Keyboard
(March 2010)
Singing "It's Raining"
with Carl Dugas at the Drums
(March 2010)


note


Back to KBON for Radio Interview with DJ Fred Melancon
on his Sunday Night "Swamp Pop Train" Show!



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Settling in with Fred :-)
(March 2010)
Getting Ready!
(March 2010)
Things move F-A-S-T, but he
does ALL the work... and also
makes his guest very comfortable!
(March 2010)




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Can you tell Fred LUVS
his job??? This is one
FUN man!
(March 2010)
Getting those songs out
to fans all over the country
who listen in every week!
(March 2010)




Winding down...
Wow! Were we really here
3 hours?
(March 2010)
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Can't Stop the Music
in Me!
(March 2010)


note


Thank You for a great time, Fred!



Vermilionville


We visited Vermilionville, a Cajun/Creole Folklife village, with Fred Melancon as
the BEST Cajun tour guide/host anyone could have! He is a walking history book of not
only facts about the Cajun lifestyle, but he also speaks quite a bit of Cajun, himself -
and understands much more. During our outing, we met a group of tourists from
France with whom he and another gentleman at the village conversed. I
absolutely loved hearing their French and Cajun French conversations going at
the same time!





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With Fred Melancon getting ready
to take a hand-pulled ferry ride!
(March 2010)




Here we go as she pulls
the rope! What a smoooth
ride - WOW!
(March 2010)




Looking back to see how far
we've actually come on this
ride across the peaceful,
tranquil water - quite a way!
(March 2010)




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The Very 1st Louisiana
Formosa Azaleas I saw on this
trip! All azaleas were late
blooming this year due to
their harsh winter.
(March 2010)




I went WILD taking photos
of the Spanish Moss, as
Fred got tickled over my
excitement :-)
(March 2010)
Two Yellow Rays of Blooming
Sunshine!
(March 2010)




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Aldus Roger Portrait
King of the French Accordion
(March 2010)
Acadian Dance Hall where Cajun
music is played and Cajun style
dancing is demonstrated
(March 2010)




Music - A Shared Legacy
of Native, Creole,
and Cajun styles


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Typical Acadian House
(March 2010)
Chimney made of lathe - a lightweight
wood to give it shape before adding moss
from the trees and mud from the bottom
of the bayous that hardens like brick.
(March 2010)
Looking up at chimmey
to see old method of
construction used
(March 2010)




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Cajun Mudboat
This boat was used in
shallow swamp waters
(1 ft. deep) and was
maneuvered by a
bamboo pole.
(March 2010)




Food typical of the area
(March 2010)
Typical Old Cajun Kitchen
(March 2010)




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Religion of the
area
(March 2010)
Cajun Catholic Church
with a home for the
parish priest on the
grounds
(March 2010)



Cajun Catholic Church
with parish priest's
connecting home
(March 2010)




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Cajun Catholic Church
(March 2010)
Inside the little church
(March 2010)
The church's simple
cemetery
(March 2010)








Jefferson Island


Jefferson Island is the home of the beautiful Joseph Jefferson Mansion built 75 ft. above sea level on the
dome of a salt mine and Rip Van Winkle Gardens, as well as the oil engineering disaster of November 1980
that drained Lake Peigneur, a lake of 2.5 billion gallons of water, in just 3 hours, creating enormous
destruction. The event was a feature of "The History Channel."





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(March 2010)



Joe Jefferson Mansion
in background
(March 2010)




One of the hundreds' year
old Live Oak trees with its huge
limbs lying heavy on the ground.
(March 2010)




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Gateway to the
Joe Jefferson Mansion
through the beautiful canopy
of trees.
(March 2010)




Joe Jefferson Mansion
in distance.
(March 2010)
Toward entrance to the
Rip Van Winkle Gardens
(March 2010)




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Near entrance to
Rip Van Winkle Gardens
(March 2010)
Looking toward Lake Peigneur
(March 2010)




The chimney of a house is
the only visible remains of
the destruction caused when
oil drilling and salt mining
collided on November 20, 1980.
(March 2010)



Lake Peigneur disaster

Click above to see actual video footage of the Lake Peigneur
disaster when oil drilling and salt mining collided in November 1980





Delcambre


Delcambre, located just below Jefferson Island and about 20 southwest of Lafayette,
is home to one of the most productive shrimp fleets.
The Annual Shrimp Festival is held the 3rd weekend in August on the festival grounds located
on the south side of La Hwy 14 and just west of the 4-lane draw bridge.
On Sunday, the Fisherman's Mass is held in the Shrimp Festival Building followed by
the traditional "Blessing of the Fleet."




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Mural on side of Shrimp Festival Building
(March 2010)




Delcambre Canal where
shrimp boats unload
(March 2010)




Delcambre Canal runs from
Lake Peigneur to Vermilion Bay
connecting this shrimping center
with the Gulf of Mexico
(March 2010)




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The ravaged remains of a hurricane
(March 2010)








Avery Island

"An Island Made of Salt"


pepper




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(March 2010)



One of the original old buildings
used as the Visitor's Center
(March 2010)




(March 2010)



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(March 2010)



Partial display of the
pickers in the field
in the museum.
(March 2010)
The Tabasco pepper mash aging
in white oak barrels sealed
with a layer of salt from Avery's
own salt mine. The mash ages
3 years before it can be used
to make Tabasco Sauce.
(March 2010)




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Part of the beautiful grounds
(March 2010)








pepper



tabasco peppers

 

Click ABOVE to see how the famous Tabasco Sauce is made!



St. Martinville

St. Martinville

St Martin Catholic Church is one of the
oldest in the state. Established in 1765,
by Rev. Jean Francois, Capuchin Priest and
Missionary, it is just the same as when it
was built, having been repaired, but
not changed.




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St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Church
(March 2010)




(March 2010)



(March 2010)



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(March 2010)



The Alter
(March 2010)




(March 2010)



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Replica of the Grotto
in Lourdes, France.
Made of moss, mud,
and papier-mache.
(March 2010)




The Grotto
(March 2010)
Looking toward the front
entrance from the
inside of the church.
(March 2010)
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Single stairway leading to
organ room
(March 2010)
Evangeline Statue
heroine of Longfellow's
poem of the Acadian
deportation from Nova Scotia
in 1755.
(March 2010)
Headstone plaque:
Evangeline Emmeline Labiche
Vieux Cimetiere de St. Martin
Memoire des Acadians Exiled
de 1755
(March 2010)




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Flags along the
streets in
St. Martinville, LA
(March 2010)
Petit Paris Museum
St. Martinville, LA
(March 2010)
Long-leaf Pine tree
with large cones
on church grounds
(March 2010)



Click Below for More of...
Evangeline




Lake Charles


During our trip to Cajun Country, we made a special trip from Lafayette out west to
Lake Charles, LA to see a friend whom I had not seen for many years --- he was one of
The Barons, a high school band with whom I had sung. My next trip to the area will be to add
more photos to each of the categories on this page, including Lake Charles.




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Crawfish farm ponds in
rice fields along I-10
on way to Lake Charles, LA.
The round red objects are actually
the tops of the crawfish traps.
These farms can be seen in so
areas of Cajun Country.
(March 2010)




Flat-Bottom Crawfish
Pickin' Boat picking up
the crawfish traps in
the rice field ponds.
(March 2010)




I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge
Intracoastal Waterway at
Lake Charles, LA
(March 2010)




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The Baron & Baronette 48 years
later! Ashleigh with Rick Oeder,
Barons Bass guitar player,
at his home in Lake Charles, LA
Do you see his resemblance
to G.W. Bush?
(March 2010)




Ashleigh on Rick's Harley
in his garage, but I'm not goin'
anywhere? It was still FUN!
(March 2010)
Rick's Beautiful Camellias!
It had been years since I
had seen Camellias blooming
down South! The timing has
to be just right.
(March 2010)












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All Photos © Ashleigh Austin