Posts Tagged With: Napoleon

ABBEVILLE DELIGHTS

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Abbeville is a small, old town with a couple of jewels. One is  Magdalen Square. The square has precious ancient oaks impossible to fit in your camera, so you must go and look for yourself. As you can see one tree can easily cover  a city block.

rattan grows on these trees

These old oaks are often covered with rattan, commonly called resurrection fern, because it turns brown when it is dry and green when it rains. It is a plant we see often on old oaks. These trees have earned their whiskers.l

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Metal arms help  hold up  long heavy branches

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There are four of these giants, if memory serves. So huge, their branches mingle until you cannot actually take a picture of a single tree without getting parts of another. In a word, magnificent.DSC03729 (Copy)

Across from the square sits the St. Mary Magdalen Church with a tree branch looking like a giant hand reaching for the building.

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I look for something unusual wherever I go and I’m rarely disappointed. This tombstone sits in front of the church.

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In the cultural center/museum/gallery, as usual, I found something I’d never seen before. This item is a change counter used by the church before they started handing out envelopes and urging people to put bills in the collection basket.

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In the cultural center, I discovered the second jewel of Abbeville. Well,  great pictures of their Giant Omelette Celebration. If you decide to come, it is held the first full weekend of November every year. You are looking at the cooking of a 5,000 egg omelette.

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One chevalier (chef) puts the butter on the 19 foot skillet. I’m going to give you the recipe in case you need it. 5029 eggs. (The confreres add an egg for each year of the celebration). 50 lbs.  onions, 75 bell peppers, 4 gallons onion tops, 2 gallons parsley, 11 1/2 gallons cooking oil, 6 1/2 gallons of milk. 52 lbs butter, 3 boxes salt, 2 boxes blk pepper, and tabasco sauce to taste.

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To the original recipe, the chefs now add crawfish tails. After all, this is Cajun country. Ya gotta have crawfish in your omelette.

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And hot french bread to eat with it.

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Can you tell these people are having fun? The festivities include a Procession of Chefs, and an antique car show, etc. and etc. Everybody who wants a taste of the omelette lines up. It is free. But the tradition began with Napoleon. His army was traveling in Southern France and they stopped in the town of Bessieres to rest. A local innkeeper cooked him an omelette which was such a culinary delight, he ordered the townspeople to gather eggs in the village and prepare omelette for his army.  It then became a tradition to cook a giant omelette to feed the poor of the village at Easter. Of course, the tradition spread to other villages in France and eventually to the little town of Abbeville.

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The cultural center has some great old pictures and history. This from the premiere of The Louisiana Story, a movie that was filmed on Weeks Island but the movie crew stayed in Abbeville

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I was surprised to see JAX beer in the 1930’s. There is a JAX brewery in New Orleans and I thought it was a new beer.

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A series of photos about the ravages of Rita. Much of the town was under water. Pretty horrific.

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The center hosted a children’s art exhibit while we were there. This one was my favorite from their permanent collection, by Robert Baxter.

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We took a pass through an old cemetery next to the church. Everything we saw was within walking distance of our parked car. Easy and neat.

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WANDERING ALONG THE BAYOU

From Mary’s desk:

Living in small towns has its benefits and its difficulties. Raceland had no laundromat nor liquor store. People here don’t drink  much except beer. Jim is a good planner and got on the internet and found where the last crossing  over the Bayou was located, the drawbridge above.  The internet also disclosed  a Washateria in Golden Meadow, but no  liquor store to be found. It was a nice drive along the Bayou Lafourche.

Both sides of the Bayou were lined with fishing rigs like the shrimp boat above, fancier than the smaller boat below. They are equipped with all kinds of electronic equipment and mechanical devices.  A shrimp doesn’t have a  chance. You see nets in the smallest “ponds” of shallow water. One guy told me he didn’t care whether he ever ate another shrimp. He just can’t get excited about them anymore. My impression was they are like water cockroaches. Kind of makes you wish your back yard were so infested.

The boat below brings in oysters. Looks like he has lunch everyday on board.

We  found our Washateria and got our haircuts at Karen Morales shop, the only one in town. She said for entertainment, people here go to Houma events and the Casino. One of her customers was waxing enthusiastic over a “salt shower”, something I’d never heard of. You lie on a bed of salt and a hot steaming spray melts the salt and apparently makes you feel wonderful. Karen lamented the fact her kids don’t speak French and she worries that the cajun language is disappearing. Even her French is lacking, she claimed. I remember Charles Kuralt, the television personality, listening to a Cajun man voice the same worry over thirty years ago, but Cajun is still going strong, and I”m grateful.

We parked along the Bayou for the night and saw this  little boat with a long history.

How innovative that the owner installed a regular old well pump to bail water. The boat is in need of some tender loving care. I hope it gets it.

Jim uses the internet so often to plan where we go, you know if the place your headed is open or not, what roads to avoid, etc. It makes me wonder how people got along without it on the road?

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