MO: Chief Winnies
The first stop on our trip to Louisiana was Hot Springs, Arkansas. We stayed at the KOA in Hot Springs National Park. Leftover Chiefaroni and Chiefs football was on the menu that night.
We visited the Gangster Museum the next day, then gravitated towards the Superior Bathhouse Brewery, stopping for cupcakes and new hats on the way.
That night was a Mardi Gras birthday party for Kelly Collings. Those Collings sisters know how to put on a party, complete with decorations and gift bags.
We then made our way to Natchitoches, Louisiana, where we stayed at the Grand Ecore Campground, a beautiful park. The day after we took carriage rides around town, did some shopping, and ate meat pies and gumbo. That afternoon we took a ride on the Cane River Queen with Captain Paul and followed it with dinner at Maglieaux’s Restaurant on the river. What a wonderful day!
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was next on our agenda. Andy and Jeanie Bienvenu came to our camp that first afternoon and made the most delicious jambalaya for our group.
The next day, Jeanie led us to Martin’s Accordions who’ve been making handmade accordions for almost forty years. We were treated to a concert by Grandfather “Junior” Martin, daughter Pennye Huval, and grandson Joel Martin. They showed us the history of Cajun/Zydeco music with the songs that they played. They also played “Happy Birthday” to Jim Rumbo, who joined them on the spoons. Then son, Anthony, showed us a little bit about how accordions were made. If you’re ever close to Scott, Louisiana, you definitely need to make this stop.
We parted ways with Jeanie after visiting a rice and crawfish farm in Crowley, Louisiana. Later that day we took a tour of Lake Martin and the Cypress Island Preserve Swamp. There are over 1200 alligators in the waters around the lake, along with many different species of water birds.
We were up bright and early Saturday morning for Buck & Johnny’s Zydeco Breakfast. We had a great breakfast while we listened to a Zydeco band and watched the dancers who were much more energetic than we were at 8:00 in the morning.
Sunday some of us when out to fill their coolers and freezers with shrimp and crawfish, boudin and other Louisiana delicacies. Then we watched the Chiefs game and Nancy Collings made some yummy ham and cheese sliders for dinner, along with Emily Merchant’s hot air balloon cookies. Except for the Chiefs’ loss, it was a beautiful day. Monday morning we moved on to Riverview RV Park in Vidalia, Louisiana, which is right across the river from Natchez, Mississippi. After a day of Walmart runs and catching up on laundry, we went to dinner that even-ing at Roux 61 Seafood Restaurant. Everything was delicious and we had a great waitress who made our meal even more fun!
Everyone went on tours of Natchez the next day. We learned a lot about the history of the city and the Mississippi river. We finished with walking tacos in the clubhouse just in time to see the bridge over to Natchez light up with the setting sun. Our last day in Natchez was spent in the historic downtown, doing a little shopping, and playing the tourist. There was a giant Christmas tree in the center of town, and we were told it was left from a Hallmark Christmas movie that was just filmed there. In fact, several streets and stores still had wreaths, lights and garlands on them. “Every Time a Bell Rings” will be released in November. The next morning we started making our way back home. Some of us stopped at Russellville, Arkansas, for the night. Jim Rumbo had a problem with the trailer he was pulling, and he, Kelly and Nancy were delayed. They didn’t make it to Russellville but ended up staying at an RV park at a casino for two nights. I think that's called making the best of a bad situation. Friday morning our journey was officially over. We said our goodbyes and headed for home.