Thursday, April 8, 2010

DAY 5 (Wednesday, March 31)...

Today was the big day - Swamp Tour day in Breaux Bridge.  The last time Jerome and I came to Louisiana and did a swamp tour, it was at the end of November and we saw NO alligators - they were hibernating we were told.  This time, we didn't realize until later, we had a celebrity tour guide.  His name is Norbert LeBlanc.

Getting to the place was a bit of a challenge.  Samantha (our GPS) kept wanting us to turn down roads that either no longer existed or never existed.  Then she wanted us to turn down a grassy road that was fenced off.  We tried hard to figure out where we were supposed to go and then we overshot it and had to turn around - then finally, we found him.

He and his swamp tour have been featured in National Geographic, the French equivalent (Grand Reportage) and also on Charles Kuralt "On the Road".  Right from the start, it was way better than the previous swamp tour because he gave us all beads with a little plastic alligator hanging from them.
We immediately saw alligators EVERYWHERE!!!  It was a bit frightening - especially since we were in a low, flat bottom boat that only fit 6 tourists and one guide.  He brought us in the middle of the swampy bayou and stopped the boat.  He showed us the magazines that he was featured in and then offered us a shot of moonshine :D  The smell of the moonshine was enough to make me tipsy.

He was a very interesting old man with very white hair and a long unkempt beard.  He occasionally put on his "hard hat" made of a turtle shell.  He was clever and interesting and could speak a kind of French that my in-laws could sort of understand.

I would highly recommend this swamp tour above and beyond any other in the area.


Later that day we decided to go to the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory on Avery Island.  I'll bet you didn't know that Tabasco was made in Louisiana?  I know that it says that right on the bottle, but I just never paid much attention.  All Tabasco sauce that you see anywhere has come from this factory on Avery Island, Louisiana.  During the tour you get to keep 3 very tiny bottles of different pepper sauces, see a short movie about the McIlhenny family and try some Tabasco ice cream and soda pop.  Very cool, but I was burping jalapeno pepper ice cream the rest of the day.
We ended the day with a drive to the Gulf coast.  There was a little state park that we drove to and took a little walk along a boardwalk on the water. There was a family fishing off the pier.  The sun was nearly set.

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