Posts Tagged With: french

Lake Charles, Lousiana – Day 8

The motorhome is parked at the 1,086 acre Sam Houston Jones State Park about 12 miles north of the city. We have been here enjoying Mardi Gras which ended Tuesday. We had planned to depart here today, but we are still weary and need to rest some more. We now expect to leave tomorrow..

You can read about Lake Charles by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Charles,_Louisiana

You can read all about the history of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana by clicking this link…
http://www.swlamardigras.com/about/history.cfm

LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!

You see this slogan everywhere in Louisiana. In French it means… LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

And roll they did on Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras this year.

Our day started with a 30 minute drive to the small town of Iowa (pronounced locally as I-O-WAY) to witness the chasing of the chickens. If you do not know the history of this tradition, reading this Wikipedia link will take care of that…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courir_de_Mardi_Gras

The event was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM. We were late getting out of the motorhome and did not arrive until 10:30. They were late getting started and said they would begin at 11:00. But we could not stay because we had other obligations elsewhere. So we took a few pictures and departed…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

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Here’s a short video of another Cajun tradition. Just click the link…
http://youtu.be/FQqMKXMirpA

Another about 30 minute drive brought us to the home of Renola Simon (pronounced SEE-MON in French) where the Krewe de les Cajuns float is stored. We’ve been invited to ride on the float during the final and biggest parade of the Lake Charles Mardi Gras!

The first two hours was spent getting to know everyone, eating and making the float ready…

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Renola served spicy deer and pork sausages that were really yummy…

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Here’s the float…

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And the back of the jacket of the Krewe de les Cajuns…

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The float was towed by this truck…

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On the way to the parade assembly point, it started to mist lightly and Mary was ready with her garbage bag raincoat…

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The parade assembled right along the shore of Lake Charles. It threatened to rain, but never really did…

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We took a walk to see some of the other 50+ floats…

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Here’s Mary with 80-year-old Renola Simon…our hostess. She was a founding member of the Krewe de les Cajuns 26 years ago and has done this every year since…

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Here’s the others with whom we rode the float…

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We had a three-hour wait for the parade to begin and Mary really got into the mood…

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Click this link to see a short video…
http://youtu.be/nGfcufU9aUE

With the French Cajun Music blaring loudly, at 5:00 PM we started rolling down the main drag of Ryan Street in Lake Charles…

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The object was to throw as many string of beads and plastic cups to the begging crowd as fast as possible. We guesstimate the Krewe threw 25,000+ during the 1.5 hour parade route…

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Into the night we continued. It was amazing to see how a string of beads or a plastic cup brought a beautiful smile to the face of the recipients…

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We just had a blast! Thank you Krewe de Les Cajuns for inviting us along. We will never forget you!   LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!

Enjoying a Louisiana Mardi Gras is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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REVELATIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS.

Relaxing is hard for me. I tend to be on the go as much as I can. (Jim made me promise I won’t be up on the roof for at least a week.) We both laughed.

I started a book at the hospital, Tracy Chevelier’s The Virgin Blue, which I finished yesterday. It wasn’t as good as her first book, Girl With A Pearl Earring.  But, anytime I can learn about the superstitions of the 14th through 17th Centuries, primitive Swiss houses without chimney and hearth, the religious war between the Catholics and Huguenots, the hardscrabble life from field to mouth…it makes clear how fortunate we are. We or ancestors to thank for bringing us to this point of survival.  I look around my modern house and revel in my good fortune.

Despite my plant purge this summer, I still have a healthy jungle to please the eye.

I know I would miss them if they were all gone.

They take away the starkness of the brick.

I kept one Christmas cactus and it bloomed early, while I was in the hospital.

A cheerful greeter.

 

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FRENCH CANADIAN COUSINS

French Canadian families of my parents generation were large.  Genealogical historians indicate that  King Louis gave instructions to those bold families striking  out to settle the new world that each family should strive to have 12 children to populate “New France”.  Those were times when  it was typical for families to be large and to lose  children at childbirth, and from horrible diseases with no cure. My maternal French grandmother lost six babies, and two young children.  She raised ten who all married and had children. Oh, my!  My cousin Vicky Buelteman, left,  is the daughter of my mother’s brother. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ.

We spent an afternoon remembering the past. Vicky’s father taught me to dance when I was a pre-teen,  so I could dance at his wedding.  Vicky and Rod’s daughter,  Michele is studying microbiology in college. She was always fascinated by microscopes and didn’t get turned off by seeing things crawling around in her drinking water. Her goal is to work in a medical capacity.

We spent a couple of hours chatting and at one point tried to figure out how many cousins we have?  It was a half-hearted effort because we have so many. We don’t really know all of their names or where they are. A fun endeavor anyway.

We contemplated how many of us didn’t go to college or graduate from high school and how much better educated the  next generation of cousins is.

We move to a new location today, and Jim spent the morning before our visit  plotting the State Parks of New Mexico on a map, since we plant to spend a great deal of time there in 2012.

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Scanning Complete…

Jim says:

Yesterday I completed the scanning of all of the real old photos given to me by my cousin Jackie Nicol. She has lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts for 50+ years. This city has a large French population and is where most of my relatives lived for many years. As a youngster I lived in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, just across the river, from the ages of 4 – 10.

Here are five more photos. In the first one my Grandmother Rose Mann (then Fortin) appears to be about 15 years old. She was born in 1898, so this photo is from about 1913.

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I started doing photography in 1974. Last spring while Mary was recuperating from her shoulder surgery, and I had a lot of time on my hands while assisting her, so I transferred nearly 5,000 slides and photographs to digital format. Yesterday I used the rest of the day working with these photos to develop a Jaillet Family Album that runs from the about 1913 to 2010. There’s a total of 391 photos in the album which are contained in folders labeled by the year the photo was taken. I’ve a little more work to do “cleaning up” cropping, etc…and the album will be complete. I’ll then transfer them to an archival quality DVD and give it to my family for their use in the future.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2009
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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Meat Pies!

Jim says:

Two days ago I shared with you the story of a New England Food Feast. In that post I told how my cousin Bob and his wife Donna surprised me with a gift of a French Meat Pie. In the photo below, it’s the larger of the two pies.

What I didn’t tell you that day was that we also stopped at a friend of theirs by the name of Dave who makes Portuguese Meat Pies. That’s the smaller of the pies in the below photo. We bought four of these pies from Dave.

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Meat Pies

On Monday we decided to enjoy a meal of these pies with Bob and Donna. The French Meat Pie was delicious, but we all agreed that the Portuguese Meat Pie had an even better taste because of the spices used by Dave. As a matter of fact, the Portuguese Meat Pie tasted much like the French Meat Pie my mother used to make when I was a child.

The French Meat Pie is a Christmas traditional meal. When I was young, all of the related families would gather at one location on Christmas Eve to see Santa Claus bring all the gifts. All the women made a meat pie…each had their own recipe…so each pie would taste slightly different from the others. My cousin Jeanette told me two days ago that my mother’s pie was the best of them all.

Mary LOVED the meat pies!

Yesterday we departed Bob and Donna’s home after a great visit of several days. We are planning to return to visit with them again for several days in late July to enjoy the annual Portuguese Festival held in New Bedford every year.

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Bob & Donna Parker

Thanks Bob and Donna for a great visit. See you again soon!In other news…
Today we will take the motorhome and Bronco on the 40 minute ferry ride to the island of Martha’s Vineyard for a one week stay.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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Reflections Of Louisiana…

As I depart the campground this morning and likely enter the State of Mississippi today…it got me thinking about why I so enjoy Louisiana. It’s one of my very favorite states.

When we were approaching Louisiana a couple of months ago I remember telling Mary “when you cross into Louisiana, it’s like stepping back in time about 50 years”. I do not mean that in a derogatory way, but rather in a complimentary way. It seems to me as life progresses forward(?), it gets more complicated, more stressful. Here in Louisiana, life is more relaxed in most ways.

For instance…here’s just a few ways that life is different here…
During our time here we met more than one local who told us they do not lock their doors at home. There’s so many small towns with that built-many-years ago flavor, where everyone knows everyone. In most cases there are no stoplights…if there is, it’s a simple old-fashioned traffic light hanging on a cable…many times it’s only a one lens blinking light. Especially in Southern Louisiana many roads are quite narrow and the pavement can be quite rough because they were built so many years ago and have received little maintenance. Driving a wide-body motorhome on these roads is quite a challenge as the roadway lane is the same or narrower than the width of the motorhome. Especially in French Cajun Country where we spent the vast majority of our time, the pace of life is slower…to make a living people do all kinds of fishing, have farms, etc… In many communities it is not uncommon to hear the people speaking and singing in French. You would have to hunt far and wide to find friendlier people anywhere!

Finally, the French Cajun is not driven by money…so longs as he has sufficient funds to maintain his family, he’s satisfied…they consider chasing money a waste of time. On Sundays, small town businesses are closed. Sunday’s are for going to church and spending the rest of the day with family and friends. On the other hand, if the French Cajun is not pursuing FUN…THAT’S WASTING TIME! GOOD FOOD, GOOD MUSIC, LAUGHTER AND DANCING ABOUNDS IN FRENCH CAJUN COUNTRY!

They even have a saying for the way they live…

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Translation is “Let The Good Times Roll!”
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We saw this Louisiana Scenic Byways sign many times during our eight week visit to Louisiana.

In case you did not know where this saying comes from, and I did not, so I decided to look it up and here’s what I found…

“ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END – There is an end to everything, to good things as well. The proverb dates back to about 1374 (Chaucer). First attested in the United States around 1680. The word ‘good’ was added much later. ‘Everything has an end’ and ‘Everything comes to an end’ are variants of the proverb.” From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Sadly it applies to me and Louisiana…as I expect to cross into the State of Mississippi today. It’s not that I have anything against Mississippi…It’s that I’m leaving the great and wonderful Louisiana. Have I told you I had a great time during our eight week visit?

I started full-time RVing in 1995 and on several occasions have “passed-thru” Louisiana. I once stayed two weeks. However…this trip I finally did something I’ve always wanted to do…that is spend a couple of months soaking up Cajun Country!

Why haven’t I done that in the past you ask???? Well, now that I have my beautiful travel companion Mary in my life…I stop and experience things that I wouldn’t have done traveling alone. Life is just that much nicer when you have someone nice to share it with.

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Me and my gal.

After eight weeks here, I’m thinking about all the other areas of French Cajun Country we didn’t get to see and how we could have spent at least another eight weeks here exploring those areas. We’ve already discussed the possibility of returning here to do just that next winter season. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

And just like Walter Cronkite used to say…”And That’s The Way It Is!…April 1st, 2010.”

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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