Today was a gorgeous sunny day but cooler than it has been, just a perfect day for today’s adventures! Twelve of us from the park had reservations for a swamp tour at 10 a.m. so we left here just before 9 to head to Lake Martin for our guided eco-tour into the largest Atchafalaya Basin swamp & Louisiana’s largest nesting area of wading birds. The tour was absolutely wonderful, our guide Bryan Champagne has lived near the swamp all his life and knows it inside and out and was a fountain of information plus had fun stories to tell, I will let the pictures show you some of what we saw on the tour.
Fishermen In the Swamp
Largest Cypress in the Swam
Roseate Spoon Bill
Egrets Nesting (We were lucky to be here in nesting season)
Duck Blind in Swamp
Inside Duck Blind - Yuck!!!
Yellow Cap Night Egret
Spider on Cypress
Sure Hope They Don't Catch a Big One & Get Pulled Overboard!
Sharing a Log
A Big Guy
This Guy is Just Soaking Up the Sun
At times we were only in water a foot deep and it looked like you could get out and walk but not with those big gators handing around!!!
After the swamp tour Ginny, Gil, John and I went into St. Martinville, a beautiful town on the Bayou Tesche. We toured St. Martin De Tours Catholic Church, which was established in 1765 and is the mother church of the exiled Acadians. The church has an ornate baptismal font which, according to legend, was a gift of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, an absolutely gorgeous church. John and I have visited this church before but this is the first time it hasn’t been under renovation so it was nice to see it without yellow tape all around it!! There is also a statute of Evangeline in the churchyard but my picture didn’t turn out very good.
St. Martin De Tours Catholic Church
Altar in Church
These are some pictures we took while walking around St. Martinville
Evangeline Tree in St. Martinville
Gil, Ginny & John in St. Martinville
Pretty Lanterns at Front Door of Funeral Parlour
Neat Mail Box in Downtown St. Martinville
We went into a cute little restaurant for lunch but after we sat down they said they closed at 2 and all they had left was salad so we asked them what else was open and they recommended another little restaurant a block away called the Café Oaks. What a wonderful little restaurant it was, John and I shared half of a French Quarter Mufelatta which is Mufelatta bread with mortagella, salami, ham, provolone & olive dressing as well as an order of onion rings which were to die for (Ginny & Gil also had the same for lunch & enjoyed theirs as much as we did). The onion rings weren’t the least bit greasy which was so nice and the French Quarter Mufelatta was wonderful. John & I ordered Iced Tea and it came in a mason jar then the waitress put a jug of Iced Tea on the table for refills and Ginny & Gil got the same with their water – neat! Ginny & Gil treated us to lunch – thanks again guys it was very nice of you.
The owner came and chatted with us and told us to check out their garden before we left, such friendly people and their garden was beautiful. They have a live oak tree in the there and Frances, the owner, explained that if the live oaks are over 125 years old they go on the National Registry and you can name it so their tree was called Canary.
Next door to the Café was a bakery, oh no, we just couldn’t walk on by!! Gil bought some beignets which are like a flat donut with icing sugar – yummy. I bought Ginny and I each a chocolate éclair (the fellows declined) which were also very good.
From there we went to see the cemetery as John and I think it is the prettiest one we have ever seen and I think G & G agreed.
On the way back we were in New Iberia so we got John to drive by Shadows on the Teche which is an old antebellum home that is open for tours. We found out that we could pick up the last tour of the day as it had just started, John & Gil passed on the tour but Ginny & I did it and it was a beautiful old home, with an interesting family history and the young fellow who did the tour was very good and knowledgeable. I asked our guide if they had any live oaks on the National Registry and he said they had 12 – wow! John thanked Ginny for going with me while he & Gil enjoyed a couple of cold ones!!!
Back of Shadows on the Tesche
Pretty Flowers in the Side Garden
It was about 7 p.m. when we got back and Betty came out to tell us she had got the blue crab today and ours were in a cooler waiting for us – we had said we would take a dozen if she could get them and the price was right at $8/dozen.
Gil & Ginny had also asked for a dozen but I guess Betty hadn’t heard them and it was just as well as the four of us were totally stuffed after eating the dozen we had ordered (and Gil had to insist on paying for their half!!). Gil has an outdoor propane burner that we put the pot of water on so it saved heating up the trailer while cooking them and Ginny had some crab boil to add to the water.
And Into the Pot We Go
Man were they good, but messy to eat, and the crabs and a spinach salad were a good dinner after a late, filling lunch.
It is too late to try to do my pictures and publish this so will do that tomorrow.
As always, today was another great gift of a day in the sunny south and we look forward to another good day tomorrow.