Lafayette, Louisiana

Zeph's "house" at the Lafayette KOA playground

Zeph’s “house” at the Lafayette KOA playground

We planned on spending one night in Lafayette, Louisiana. Due to a vicious storm and the town’s overall coolness, we spent five nights there. The KOA campground we stayed at was really nice. It was super clean, we had a spot right on their little manmade pond/lake, the playground was awesome, and we felt at home there. The only downside was the freeway was about 40 yards away, but the freeway noise seemed to lull Zeph to sleep each night so no harm, no foul.

The view of our rig at the KOA

The view of our rig at the KOA

We wandered down to the Children’s Museum after reading about it in a few different tour books and websites. This was our first visit to any sort of place like this so we really didn’t know what to expect or how Zephyr would like it. We were pleasantly surprised! There was an area there just for toddlers with toys that were age-appropriate… including a wooden train table. Of course we spent quite a bit of time here. They also had a table full of what I’m guessing were donated Mr Potato Heads. For some reason this table made me really happy and I probably could have sat there for a few hours assembling all the different potato head possibilities. The giant abacus was cool, too. Not that any of us knew how to use it but Z liked slamming the rings into each other. There was a little Santa’s Village Town set up, with a moving train, a weird and creepy ambulance display full of inappropriate pictures of people with their guts hanging out (I’ll spare you the pictures) and a life-like child laying on a backboard with a neck brace on, encased in glass. I think Zeph enjoyed the bubble section most. We all had a great time trying to make giant bubbles with the large wands sitting in tables of soapy water. After a couple hours, we had sticky hands and a tired boy. On our way to the car we wandered through what looked like the town square. It was around sunset and there was some sort of Christmas event going on so we stopped to ask what the celebration was all about. The people we talked to explained that this was the 8th annual Gift of Music Festival, with a concert and baked goods and a gumbo cook-off. We decided to stick around. We talked to all sorts of people… gumbo chefs, parents of toddlers Zeph was running around with, the ladies selling tickets for the gumbo, and many others. Everyone was so nice and everyone had an accent and everyone couldn’t believe we were all the way from California. It was a fun night for the three of us and we went home to the Moho with full bellies and happy hearts.

The next night brought heavy rain and wind, and Chris and I woke up around 2:30am to a leaking pop-out/slide. There was water pooling on the kitchen counter, which is in the slide. Chris put on his rain gear and went on the roof to inspect. All we could figure out to do at that point was close the slide, sop up the water with towels and wait until morning. We found two other leaks in the same slide as well. As Zeph slept the night away (that kid sleeps through some serious noise, thank goodness) we pulled apart the dinette , kitchen and our bedroom closet to get to the leaks and absorb the water. We had planned on leaving that next morning but knew we needed to get the issue fixed before we ventured on. Luckily the KOA we were at had a knowledgeable RV repairman named Bubba who checked out the issue with Chris and surmised that we needed to re-silicone the slide (kinda like re-caulking a bathtub?)… by the next afternoon we were fixed but decided to wait until the next morning to leave. So we had one more night to explore the town…A few people had recommended we check out the Village of Acadiana. This is a recreated Cajun village on thirty-two acres of land with a bayou running through it, representing the first settlers of this area in the 1800s, the Acadians. Most of the year you visit during the day, but at Christmas they decorate the village with a ton of lights and visitors are allowed at night only. This place was so cool. There were all sorts of light displays – butterflies, peacocks, Santa on a Harley – and a choir singing, Mrs Claus reading a story in the church, fair rides, and funnel cake. Glad we listened to whoever told us to go! Zeph ran over every bridge there at least three times. It was quite a night, we all had a great time.

The entrance at the Village of Acadiana

The entrance at the Village of Acadiana

One of the Village houses adorned in lights with a candy theme... and a floating alligator

One of the Village houses adorned in lights with a candy theme… and a floating alligator

 

My restaurant review in Lafayette was found courtesy of Yelp, as are most of the places we go outside of the campground. Yelp has been a reliable tool for us when searching out great food, fun things to do, grocery stores, etc. Cafe Habana City was about four miles from the KOA and was the only place around that had the best rating of 4 of 5 stars on Yelp. We walked in to a small bar and a simply decorated square-shaped dining room with some original artwork and a delicious smell. We started with plantain chips, which Chris loved and I could have passed on (I don’t like banana chips either, so it’s not a matter of whether these were the best plantain chips or the worst ones, they just aren’t my taste). The chips came with two dipping sauces: a garlic oil and a spicy green chimichurri sauce. Dinner was a plate of spicy pork with a tamale and black rice and beans. Chris had some sort of flattened chicken with pickled onions. I really liked my dish, it had a lot of flavor. The tamale was a great balance of sweet corn and savory pork inside, and even Zeph liked the rice and beans… he ate them off the table with “no hands, Ma!” Chris also enjoyed his dish, and we ordered some fried plantains (so much more my style than dried plantain chips) with vanilla ice cream on top. Of course that was delicious. This place was simple, the owners were straight out of Cuba, and I would go back there if ever in Lafayette again. Thanks, Yelp!

Thanks, Yelp!

Thanks, Yelp!

My dinner plate

My dinner plate

 

 

Being in the official “South” I have come to understand a bit better what life is like for the people who live here, and how very different (and similar) it is to life for us back at home. There are prisoners cleaning up the roads (the black and white stripes were my clue), and billboard advertisements for BP claims from the 2010 devastating oil spill in the Gulf. This part of the country is really getting interesting as neither Chris or I have ever been to these southern states, and the “southern hospitality” seems to get more and more impressive as we go east. I am doing some serious catch-up on blogging since Chris redesigned the site so soon I will update you on our time in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Biloxi and Florida. Stay tuned! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you can get an email when we post something new. Happy New Year!

Evidence that the 2010 BP oil spill is still affecting lives

Evidence that the 2010 BP oil spill is still affecting lives

  • Meg

    oh, I love Louisiana…we almost moved there, but decided against it for a number of reasons. the south has an untamed, untouched beauty that surprised me. seems like you guys are getting the best of it all in your travels. 🙂 so admire you guys for doing this, really and truly.

  • Jen Hub

    Looks like a very fun Christmas E=C=Z! Was thinking of you during Christmas here in SC and wondering where you were putting your tree this year? Maybe just some ornaments on whatever tree you are parked next to? 😉 Much love, enjoying your tales, keep on writing.

  • Kelly and Dan

    Wow, that looks like quite the trip. I can’t decide what we like better the floating alligator, or the pile of potato heads. Now we are wishing we had checked it out sooner, but my phone (Kelly’s) has been MIA with the website info on it.

    We have been trying to plan an East Coast trip (we have family and friends in Fla, NY, and Mass), so if there is a chance you will be going to any of these locations (or back to in the case of Fla), it would be awesome to meet up for a daytime adventure or a meal. Glad to keep in touch. Hope your holidays are amazing, and 2013 is your best year yet!

    Please plan on staying at 1000 Trails if you make it back to La Conner, WA … it is our next door (almost) neighbor, and there is plenty of room at our house too. Zephyr would have a blast as we tried to accommodate Dan’s nephews and they are between 1 and 7 yrs.

    Have a great rest of your trip, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Love and Light,
    Kelly and Dan