Thursday, April 25, 2013

TodayI am going to see if I can use a bigger font for the older eyes amongst us.

I don’t think I mentioned the ranger we encountered at Palmetto State Park. 

After we picked our site we returned to the park office to finish registering. In addition to the office staff two park rangers were there doing paperwork. As we came in one of the rangers threw his arms in the air and let out with a loud grunt-like yell. We started doing business with the lady who was registering us and this ranger repeated the grunt-yell and waving his arms. I thought he was kidding but, after he did this again a few times, it dawned on me that I was seeing a live and pretty severe case of Turret’s Syndrome. The rest of the staff just ignored him. It was very interesting. I wonder how he got hired as a ranger with such a disability.

Anyone doing camping traveling in this part of Louisiana I highly recommend the Palmetto State Park. It is a beautiful park. The campground is only two or three years old. They even have a free Laundromat in each camping loop. This is a three star campground.

Brenda looking for a bird at Palmetto.

Our camp Site at palmetto.

Except for the Northern Cardinals. When we came into Cardinal territory I was all excited at seeing such a pretty bird, and so many of them. Now this is a bird I would like to see become endangered.

I’ve never been around Cardinals during breeding season. Do you know that the cardinal makes up to 16 different calls? Continuously? Starting at the faintest hint of morning light? Not ending until it is very dark out and your wits are gone? It’s all true.

I’ll take mosquitos to Cardinals any day.

We asked for a spot without mosquitos. The lady registering us looked up and said, “Nope, they are the state bird of Louisiana so they come with each spot.” Well they were there but they weren’t as bad as the Cardinals.

After leaving Palmetto State Park we drove to Avery Island. The Tabasco plant is here but there is also a large garden that touts a bird refuge. I wanted to see the garden.

Oak trees at Avery Island. Some of these are probably 300
years old.

The oak trees host all sorts of plants. After a rain all this
stuff turns green.

The garden was beautiful. The bird refuge ended up being a rookery established at the turn of the 20th century for the then almost extinct Snowy Egret. Today that egret is doing fine and the rookery has been taken over mostly by the Great Egret. It is interesting because the rookery is a bunch of artificial “platforms” on pilings in a small lake.

We drove on to New Orleans.

The past two days we were there. We stayed at a KOA that is about eight miles from the French Quarter. It is about 200 yards from the train tracks and a half-mile from the airport. I thought we wouldn’t sleep but it ended up being pretty quiet. The train and plane traffic died to almost nothing after about 10PM.

When we arrived there on Tuesday we drove into New Orleans to have dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margarita Ville in the French Quarter. This is not what on thinks of when one thinks of eating in New Orleans but I wanted a casual place and a chance just to take a look at this area. The food was good and the place is very Jimmy Buffet complete with a ¼ scale gulf seaplane flying out of one wall.

The net day we caught a shuttle ride the KOA provides and took a city tour. During the ride and the tour New Orleans received an inch of rain, a tornado warning, flooding in area, fallen trees and swamped cars. A not too untypical day for New Orleans I think.

The whole city is below sea level. The only way to get rid of rainwater is to pump it up to one of the channels where it is carried to the Mississippi. The pumps can handle up to an inch an hour. Over that amount of rainfall and flooding occurs. Some places the tour bus took us were getting far more than an inch an hour of rain. We had great views of flooded cars and streets.

After the tour we just ambled around the French Quarter and had an early dinner. And got rained on off and on.

There are an amazing number of tacky souvenir stores selling in the French Quarter. There are nice stores too the souvenir stores set the bar. I’ll post some pictures I took of these. I especially like the alligator heads.
Souvenir of New Orleans anyone?

We are thinking we may go back to New Orleans in the fall so we didn’t really try to take it all in this time. There is a lot to do here. It would be easy enough to spend four or five days here visiting the museums. There are enough fine restaurants to fill a year’s worth of dining out.


  1. We really liked the alligator heads too!

  2. I wanted to buy the lot as an end of the year gift for my Jr. Audubon kids but Brenda persuaded me that would be terrible when you are trying to teach respect for nature. Such a kill joy!