Lake Charles and Lafayette

On our way to New Orleans we stopped in Lake Charles and Lafayette Louisiana. We arrived in Lake Charles in the early evening; a fairly small city on a fairly large lake. The sunset over the lake was gorgeous; Jennifer later captured the scene in a beautiful painting. We found on the city website that Lake Charles was hosting a gingerbread house contest; we thought that could be fun to see. We rushed to get to the visitor’s center before they closed to see the gingerbread houses, and to get some info about what to see in Lake Charles. There was a wide range of size and skill in the gingerbread houses, the professional ones were impressive. The girls left motivated to make their own gingerbread house; they even drew up detailed plans. Upon the recommendation of the visitor’s center staff, we then toured the local Christmas lights. We found a neighbourhood where several houses had coordinated on an elaborate display set to music. We had thought about staying the night in Lake Charles, but we thought we could go a few more hours before resting, we moved on to Lafayette.

Lafayette is a larger city, we didn’t have any specific plans but we knew we could find a Walmart parking lot to park in for the night. In the morning, we explored Lafayette before moving on to New Orleans. We found the Acadian Cultural Centre where we learned about the history of the Cajun people. Their path with its roots in France was a trail of oppression and perseverance, pride and unity that lead through Canada and down the east coast of the US. We spent a few hours learning about this unique and fascinating culture. The girls were given quiz sheets where they had to find facts in the museum displays in order earn another national parks badge.

With badges in hand we headed for a drive through the swamps and bayous of Louisiana. The road passing through the Atchafalaya basin must be one of the longest bridges I have ever seen. It hovers over a cypress swamp with no exit, no land for miles and miles. At just over 18 miles long, it ranks 14th in the world for length. At the other side of the basin we arrived in Baton Rouge. We crossed the Mississippi here at a point much wider than we saw at the start in Minnesota. I am sure there are lots of interesting things to see in this city, but we decided that this was the time try a Sonic Burger. We had been seeing these old time drive up restaurants all around the southern US. We considered stopping in other locations but the drive up format is not ideal for a 30 foot motor home. This one happened to have a wide spot where we could park. We placed our order at a microphone and they brought it out to us. There is nowhere to sit in the restaurant, only outside or in your car. The burgers were OK, but the experience was cool.

It would have been nice to take more time to explore Louisiana. The terrain is so different from the mountains that we had explored in so many other parts of our trip. Louisiana is very flat state, we learned later that the elevation ranges from 8 feet below sea level (in New Orleans) to about 500 ft; a far cry from 10 and 12,000 feet in New Zealand and in the Rockies. The southern part of the state is full of lakes, basins, rivers, swamps and bayous. We never did see an alligator and some of us were relieved about that.

About Walkabouters

We are traveling through Canada and the US as well as Australia and New Zealand. We hope this Blog will keep our family and friends up to date on our travels.
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One Response to Lake Charles and Lafayette

  1. Aunt Jackie and Uncle Bob says:

    We have always wanted to see New Orleans! Can not wait to talk with you about all your adventures. When do you come home?
    Aunt Jackie

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