Monday, February 9, 2009

Westlake, LA: Into the West

Miles walked since last blog: 3.7
Miles Total: 1996.1


So there's this bridge on the interstate that cuts 30 miles off my route . . . sound familiar? Well this time it's different I swear! For one, the bridge is a scant 1.5 miles long and has a beautiful wide shoulder upon which I may slather my big fat feet all over the place. Still technically against the law, yes, but so short how could I resist? Surely any officer would understand in the unlikely event that I am stopped on the shoulder in that short distance, right?

Speaking of illegally crossing bridges, that was what that tiny little walk today was about. It was another bridge, another 30 miles and the same interstate as always, I-10, my nemesis. We crossed it yesterday in the car and I noticed a small walkway on the side, how could I resist? Not big enough for Cherry, but I walked it today on foot so if I can get dropped off there in the morning viola! It's smooth sailing for the remainder of my Louisiana trip which is short.

Yes my kiddies and kiddettes, tomorrow is a day packed full of excitement and wonder for yours truly barring some unfortunate circumstance. Milestones abound. I will pass the 2000 mile mark on the way into the looming behemoth of Texas border which is slated for the evening, what more could little old footsies ask for? I'll try to do a video, but no promises promises, in the words of the 80's band Naked Eyes.

Texas has loomed. Loomed like a whole boat load of weavers. And rain looms in the forecast as well. In over 1700 miles now I haven't been hit by a drop of real rain, a bit of sprinkle here, a mist there, but not a drop since I came into New York City way back in mid-September. Storms swirled all around me on the East Coast, they flew North over me, South under me, pushed up the coast and never materialized, I've been lucky. The future looks wet though. I'm starting to think it'll be welcome, I haven't seen rain in so long I might like it, certainly during some of those 150+ miles stretches in Texas I'll be craving a nice warm shower, sky, bathroom, it's all good.

Check back in a few hours, I'm gonna try to get a bit of video up for those of you who like to use there eyes for things other than words, if your eyes happen to love words, I'll throw some of them in the video too.

Might be a bit longer, I'm having technical difficulties that scare me.

*********** Update****************

Okay, well, I'm having problems with the external hard drive which holds all of my video so editing is a bit slow. My last night in Louisiana has been great and as a sum of the state it was fittingly about good food and good people. If there's a story in Louisiana, it is food. I've tried a lot of new things here including a spice mix called Tony Chachere's (pronounced Sash-er-ees) which, the first time I tried it, made me think the man who made me eggs was a culinary genius. On the menu in Louisiana are unique foods of excellent quality, some of which have included beignets, crawfish etouffee, boudin, seafood gumbo, ribs, poboys and red beans and rice.

Tonight our feast took place at a local eatery fondly referred to by a few as the Hungry Heffer (though this is not it's name) where the waitress wore a swamp-camo dress shirt, the focus of the night, Crawfish, the single solitaire food that I had been hearing I needed to try for the entire 300+ miles of the state. When you order crawfish, you order by the pound, three or five and it comes on a gigantic platter with the boiled whole crawfish in a pile and a piece of corn and two red potatoes. They give you a bucket for the heads and shells. But this was only the beginning of our culinary experience. We also had Boudin (which is a kind of sausage with rice in it), frogs legs, hushpuppies, cajun balls, fried seafood (oysters, catfish, etc.), pistoles, chicken fried steak, and on, and on. It was amazing.

My cajun friend, the roommate of my host, talked with me for hours about zombies and comics, and served as my personal guide to cuisine while on our venture for the night, apparently this was something quite special since the hosts girlfriend had never seen him out of the house for something other than work before. It seems to me, that Louisiana holds the last bastion of truly unique culture I have found in the USA with the cajuns, or acadians. Other places there are regional differences and dishes and traditions, but here, it's something else completely. Cities have memories that go back a few decades, but the culture of a people has a memory that goes back a century or more. Talk to a normal Louisiana citizen and you here about Katrina, Rita, Ivan, Gustav, but talk to a cajun and you here the names of storms and hurricanes going back decades, into the pre-WWII era back when, if you were alive, someone you loved wasn't after an event like this. I feel very fortunate on my final days to have gotten a small glimpse into this culture through more than it's food alone, although the food is VERY important.

1 comment:

CrazyCajun said...

Your trip is interesting. That was certainly enough to get me out of the house. :)

Hope you're enjoying the Tony's. Spread the good word!