Monday, May 03, 2010

Eastern Louisiana

What was that yellow ball we saw on the horizon? How did the blue ocean get overhead? That is what we felt today, after four days of gray skies and intermittent drizzle. We thought we might mold. Or begin to grow spanish Moss like you see on this splendid Live Oak.

Finally, the sun came out and we saw some blue sky. Fontainebleau State Park is beautiful, with Magnolia trees beginning to bloom and access to Lake Ponchartrain. Anyone who watched the news during the 2005 aftermath of Hurricane Katrina must remember the talk of this lake. New Orleans is on the south side of the lake and we are on the North Shore. During the cloudy weather of the past few days, it was still warm, but there was wind and that produced waves on the lake.

Today the sun was out and the water was calm enough for fishing boats to be out. In the distance you can see the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, the bridge that links New Orleans to the North Shore. At 24 miles, it is the longest bridge in the world that crosses only water.

We think this is a great park, with lots of beautiful grounds. But where we are parked, in the "old" campground, it feels like a commercial park with side-by-side hookups, which we hate. This is what if looked like from Friday evening through mid-day Sunday.

It is much better today.

Saturday evening as we walked around the "new" campground we saw this group of people sitting with this impressive trophy. Dennis and Vikki May of Smokin' N The Dark Bar-B-Q has just won the Covington BBQ competition. We wished we had known about it. If so, we would have visited.

What we did do on Saturday was bike 14 miles on the Tammany Trace, a Rails to Trails bike trail that passes through Fontainebleau. It is on the old right-of-way of the Illinois Central Railroad. I couldn't figure our why the Illinois Central was in Louisiana until I discovered the rail line ran from Illinois south to the Gulf Coast.
John took a picture of me riding down the picturesque trail.

At one point the trail crosses the Bayou Lacombe and there is a draw bridge to allow boats to pass on the bayou. It was installed in 2008.

We also saw these lovely water lilies.

This chimney is part of the ruins of the Fontainebleau Sugar Mill from the Fontainebleau Plantation operated by Bernard de Marigny from 1828 to 1852. The park here is located on part of his extensive plantation lands.

We spent over five months in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, all areas heavily influenced by Spanish colonial efforts. Since crossing into Louisiana, we have found ourselves in an area more influenced by France. It has been an interesting change. What will we find as we travel farther east?


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  2. I love the bike path. Can you smell oil in the air. I hope the latest efforts of capture the leaking oil so that a clean-up can make a difference.