Friday, May 4, 2018

Day 4, Alexandria to Lake Charles

This was a relatively easy day as far as mileage, but fairly busy in any case.  We only missed a couple of turns, thanks to the lack of a decent Louisiana map.  First stop was Mamou - Mamou is to Cajun music what Nashville is to Country.  Fred's was not open, but we found a thrift shop that had a Cajun CD still in shrink wrap, only $1.  So we listened to it and to a zydeco CD we brought with us, appropriate for the "Zydeco Cajun Prairie Scenic Byway."

Our real goal for the day was Gueydan, where Bill's great-grandfather moved around 1900 and lived until his death in '33.  He's in good company in the cemetery - two other Rebs rest nearby. 

Lunch at Johnny's (po-boys, of course) and on to Lake Charles via LA-14, the Jean Lafitte Scenic Byway.  Arrived about 1300, started a tour of the places Bill lived and the schools he attended from 3rd Grade through high school, along with other interesting places in town.  Here's Sandra with a critter outside the visitor center:

Bill's high school closed in 1983, but is not forgotten.  This memorial commemorates the school and many of those who taught or/and attended there.  We'll meet some of them for lunch tomorrow.

Town motto is effectively "laissez les bon temps rouler" - it's noted for its Mardi Gras celebration (which Bill doesn't remember at all) and its week-long Louisiana Pirate Festival, which just happened to kick off on the lakefront this weekend.  As we drove along the lakeshore heading back to our Candlewood Suites we saw a carnival and a parrot-promoting pirate ship (on wheels).  Then, the unmistakable sound of a black powder cannon drew us to the lakefront.  Yep, a little battery of 3-4 small guns were exchanging shots with pistol-armed pirates traipsing around the lake on yachts.  Here's a look:
 (notice the bridge in the background? It once boasted a crossed pistols design in its rails.)
Two of the seven yachts - we saw no casualties

Supper was the classic burger in memory of Bill's favorite hamburger place - now long gone.  Not the same, but a LOT better than fast food.  We ended with 194.8 miles on the day (over 33 after reaching LC), 1154 for the trip.  Tomorrow is more local jaunts and, of course, lunch get-together.

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