Louisiana Day 8 – New Orleans

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

Today was our New Orleans trip. It was an exciting time for us because the kids finally got to do some shopping, we finally got to see some of what New Orleans is like now, we finally got to give Adriannah a beignet and we finally got to get out of the house and experience some big city life for a little while.

We spent most of our time in the French Market. The first place we went to was Café du Monde

… to have some beignets and coffee. Mmmmm, that was delicious and very white.

We then hit up St. Louis Cathedral. Man that place is astonishing…

We spent a good amount of time at the church, the left to hit up the flea market and shops. We made sure to pick up some t-shirts and pralines because, honestly, who goes to New Orleans and doesn’t get the t-shirt and the pralines?

When we got back home we got a nice little surprise. Sandi’s aunt Pat offered to take the three older girls to her house in Lafayette for a sleep over. They are supposed to be having a girls night out complete with all the things that girls would do when having a sleep over. I am sure they will have a blast. And the break from the noise might be somewhat comforting for us as well 🙂 .

Stats: 8/46

Louisiana Day 7 – Lafayette and the Lafitte Museum

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

Today we planned for a trip to Lafayette to visit the Jean Lafitte Museum and Vermillionville. Both of these attractions offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of the Acadian roots of Louisiana so it was with great excitement that we prepared for out trip. To best accommodate our need for sustenance, we started out by having another wonderful fried seafood lunch (Grannie sprung for lunch, which for me consisted of a fried shrimp PoBoy) then set ourselves to getting out of the house.

We got to the Lefitte museum just before 4:00 to find out that Vermillionville closes at 4:00. So we decided to hang out at the museum and catch a bunch of Cajun history before heading out to Shuck’s Oyster House for dinner. We watched the story of the first settlers of Acadia (Nova Scotia) and how badly they were treated by so many different people. Ultimately the development of Louisiana can be attributed to the horrible manner in which the original Acadians were treated and subsequently banished from their settled homelands. It is very sad, but very informative and educational. It was very moving.

We also learned about the community that was founded in Bayou Shane (sp?) and how the last person to spend their entire life in that community recently dies (within the last 10 years or so). It was amazing to hear the stories of people literally setting in a swamp, and how that swamp community blossomed to about 500 people complete with their own Post Office. Until the Mississippi River decided to intervene, their community was a thriving little place to dwell.

After our trip to the museum, the crew decided to head over to a seafood joint that sells fresh seafood and other Cajun niceties. Along the way, we ran into something that caught Rebekah’s attention and made the entire van laugh. From Rebekah’s mouth to you: “Look, a house made entirely of roof!”

I think the house is condemned (no wonder, half of it seemed to sink right into the ground) but the thought of a house made entirely of roof is plenty to make a family want to laugh. Especially as we began to see the thunder to clouds roll in. But there will be more on that later. Now we get to talk about Shuck’s.

Shuck’s was rocking as a gang of us ordered everything from fried catfish to oysters on the halfshell. In fact, I tried raw fresh oysters for the first time ever and I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed them. The kids got a chance to see the oysters getting cracked open. We also got to see a string of nasty looking alley cats gathering outside. Apparently, leftovers are left over for the cats behind the restaurant. They know when to come to get the best meals of their day. The cats are not much to look at, but they sure are smart.

Anyway, there as not a whole lot left to the trip. The rain and thunder were forecast to come in tonight and they did not disappoint. When we left Shuck’s we were embraced by a torrential rain and thunder storm that most California’s don’t ever have the privilege to experience. And all night long, as we tossed and turned in 70 degree weather, the thunder and lightning, striking about every 4 seconds or so, rocked our house and let us know just how small we really are. I mean literally you could feel the house shake as the thunder blasted the heavens above our heads. It was scary, exhilarating and fun all at the same time.

On the bright side of this whole trip though, today marked a historic day for my wife and I… we have slept in the same bed for an entire week straight for the first time in over four years. Praise God.

Stats: 7/45

Louisiana Day 6 – 65 Main Street

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

Well, today was quite a day. Sandi’s dad came back from New Orleans last night and has planned a trip to 65 Main Street today. For those that have never been a Millet before, 65 Main Street is the house that my father-in-law’s grandparents lived in before his parents moved out to where his mother lives still (make sense 😕 ).

Anyway, we started the day out doing what? Yup, laundry. Then we went to the Forest restaurant where Lee (Sandi’s dad) picked up lunch for us all. I had a crawfish PoBoy, Sandi had Crawfish Etouffe. We ate, ate more, talked, ate more, then took off on the drive.

65 Main Street as at the almost end of Main Street. After the City Hall, after the great Oak Tree Lane that is ever so beautiful all year long. After the town itself. It is a great little location off the beaten path (which part of Franklin isn’t though, huh?). When we got there we met miss Jennilee Hewitt. Miss Jenni has been living in the house for about three years. She is a well traveled woman with a long history. Her husband, Bill, died some time ago and Miss Jenni has been living without him since. She is also borderline dementia (or strongly senile, not sure which). But above all else, she was the picture perfect representation of Southern hospitality, letting a gang of strangers into her house for a tour, complete with photos and everything.

Miss Jenni was a hoot. The most memorable thing about the visit was her unforgettable repetitious asking if Miss Vera was related to Simon Lucia. Apparently her husband had worked with “Seemi” for some time and Miss Jenni had remembered the name. It was awesome. Anyway, here are a few photos of the trip to 65 Main Street:

Backcountry goodness
After we got back from 65 Main Street we decided to take a trip to Lake Foss Point and Grand Lake in the back country parts of Baldwin. There was not a lot to it, but there were great photo opportunities. Here are two from our trip, one of a cute little half tree sticking out of the lake and one of a little gator we saw on the way home:

American Idol
From what I got to see of the show, it was not a great week. Of course, Melinda tore it up as usual. Jordin did also, but Chris, Blake and Lakisha each had a rough week and I suspect they will be your bottom three tomorrow night.

In other news, Sandi and I finally had some time together as we sat on the couch and watched TV for a little bit before calling it a night. And I can certainly say one thing that is totally exciting me about this trip. Tomorrow morning will mark one complete week that Sandi has slept in the same bed as me. That is literally the first time in over four years that we have spent a week straight in the same bed. I think I am liking Louisiana.

Stats: 6/44

Louisiana Day 5 – A much needed day of rest

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

I took two naps today. And I needed them both. I had no idea how tired I was. There was a lot going on the last few days, and even with the rest that we had on Friday, I think we were all tired and tuckered out. We also needed to do laundry, because, as anyone with a family of seven knows, if you go one day without hitting the laundry, you are going to be swamped with a pile of funky underwear and smelly socks that you might never be able to unpile yourself from.

My mother-in-law, Bonnie, offered to watch the kids for us tonight while my wife and I went to the Casino. But I am not so sure that my wife wanted to have anything to do with me as the idea of going out with me seemed to make her look like she wanted to vomit. Even after asking several times in different ways, it was still about the same response. Oh well, maybe sometimes a trip across the country can still feel like home?

Anyway, after lots of TV watching, animal watching (Granny’s house gets visited by lots of birds, squirrels, lizards and other animals) and laundry doing, I decided, late at night (some time after 9:30) that I was going to go get myself some dinner since I hadn’t eaten with the rest of the family earlier. And you know what? Baldwin and Franklin Louisiana both close at 9:00. You heard me, the entire city closes, the sidewalks are rolled up, the lights go out and you are in the dark in the middle of nowhere after 9:00 PM. Except if you are Burger King or McDonald’s.

Now I had a hard and fast rule that I was not going to eat a bunch of fast food crap while I was here this time. I did that last time and lost out on 10 days worth of southern cooking and eating. But literally, there was nothing open, other than the casino, so I had to break my own rule and I grabbed a burger. Then my wife and I went for a drive down to the Cypress Bayou casino, and promptly turned back after getting into the parking lot. (It seems my wife’s shirt was not adequately cute for going to a casino tonight.)

Anyway, we came back to the house, turned the tube on a little more and wasted more vacation time watching TV and not talking to one another. Now that I think about it, it is starting to feel more and more like home everyday.

Stats: 5/43

Louisiana Day 4 – A day with the Lowry’s

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

The day started out usual enough. Ok, that was dramatic, but it details the start of the day pretty well.

Today we planned a trip to Lafayette to visit my mother-in-law’s side of the family. This little shindig was a smaller gathering than yesterday, but was still a neat little meetup. We were finally able to meet the children in our kids’ generation, as well as spend some time with Sandi’s cousins that are her age. So, a brief family tree might look like this:

Royal & Ethyl Lowry
+- George & Dee Lowry
+- Lee & Bonnie (Lowry) Millet
    +- Robert & Sandi (Millet) Gonzalez
        +- Sarah, Rebekah, Adriannah, Alaynah and Aaron
    +- Katie Millet
+- Steve & Pat (Lowry) Venetis
    +- Chris & Tara Venetis
        +- Conner and Cameron
    +- Kevin & Jen (Venetis) Couvillon
        +- Caroline and Katherine
+- Perry Lowry
+- George & Paula (Lowry) McRae
    +- Jonathan McRae
    +- Collin McRae

During this little get together we ate like savages. Uncle Steve barbecued some massive chicken pieces, plus we had beans, this rice and meat mixture, salad and appetizers. It was an awesome day complete with a bounce house for the kids. It was a little hot though, but that did not stop the kids from sweltering in the jump house.

Later on in the evening the cool wind came by and things got a lot cooler.

We went back to Grannies and began planning for the rest of the week. Since we are here for another five days, there are a few things that we want to try to get in, including a day to New Orleans and some eating of the Cajun goodness that is Southern Louisiana cuisine.

Stats: 4/42

Louisiana Day 3 – The Millet reunion

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

Today was the Millet Family Reunion, essentially the reason for our trip to Louisiana. As you can imagine from my last name, Millet is not my side of the family, but man, did I enjoy myself something crazy. We met people from all over the family tree, had all sorts of wonderful Southern Louisiana food, heard one of the cousins play some folk tunes for us then had a nice drive back.

The day itself started out nice, with great weather and a great drive. Frank and Sylvia’s house is awesome, sitting on a huge one acre piece of land that would be an enviable plot anywhere, especially here in California. The kids had a blast with all the space to run around and I had a blast running around after all of them. Lunch and dinner were awesome featuring a mix of native Louisiana cuisine that is hard to find anywhere. The beer was flowing (a local micro brewery named Abita was the culprit here) and there was plenty of wine for cousin Jim.

It was a great day, especially for Sandi and the kids. I do wish I could have had a little bit of time with Sandi, but I guess this trip really was not about us so much as about her and the kids and the family. All is well… that is kind of what Disneyland was all about so I am glad that Sandi had a good time.

After the festivites, we headed home for to begin preparation for the Lowry family shindig that were will be having tomorrow.

Stats: 3/41

Louisiana Day 2 – Resting before the big day

This post reflects the date the entry took place. Because I was using a national wireless connection provided by work, I felt it more appropriate to enter these when I got home. As a result, this is being written on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

Today was a planned rest day. Tomorrow we are going to be attending the Millet family reunion in River Ridge (a close suburb of New Orleans) and yesterday was a long travel day, so we knew in advance that this would be a day for rest.

So we went to Walmart (the heart of Franklin Louisiana) to pick up some necessities for the rest of our trip. We also intended to hit up Winn-Dixie to grab some groceries, but Walmart was first since we were buying things like diapers, wipes, Butt Paste (for real, it is called butt paste) and some clothers. We picked up some food stuffs at Winn-Dixie, though we passed on the Pickled Pigs Lips and Pickled Hog Paws. For lunch we stopped at Chicks Burgers in Baldwin and picked up some PoBoys (I had the Shrimp and Catfish).

After lunch I got on the computer for a bit to check in on a massive upgrade going on at work. After taking care of that, we lit the barbeque and I cooked us up some burgers and sausage. After dinner, we got ready for the drive to New Orleans tomorrow and prepared for a long day fo family meeting and Cajun eating. Hmm, Cajun eating…

Stats: 2/40

Going to Louisiana… without Sanjaya

This post was originally written on Friday, April 20, 2007. When we got back from Louisiana I read it and realized that it was irrationally stupid and had to be edited. Hence, this post was edited 10 days from now.

2:30 AM is really freaking early to be waking up for a trip to another state. I know you don’t get to travel like this very often, but dude, it is early. And it had to be. The shuttle was due at our house at 4:00 AM. I had stayed up a little later last night to make sure everything was easy enough to get to the street so there were no problems. I was also finishing up the cleaning to make sure that when we get home we have a nice clean house to thrash.

The shuttle arrived promptly at 4:00 AM, about five minutes after my sister-in-law Katie and mother-in-law Bonnie. To the kids’ surprise, the shuttle van that was supposed to arrive showed up at the house disguised as a limousine. That made the kids trip a little easier to swallow.

We got to airport a little after 4:30 AM, went through the Gestapo check-in process, hit the bathrooms, got to our terminal, got on our airplane and were off at 6:15. We got to Houston a little early, had lunch, then got on our airplane from Houston to Lafayette. We got to Lafayette at about 2:15 Louisiana time after a very nice flight. (Something to note for next time we fly, my wife is terribly afraid of flying and was sick for most of the four hour flight from San Jose to Houston.)

After we got our bags and the rental van (thanks to Bonnie, who was our kind “sponsor” for this trip) we were off to Baldwin where my wife’s grandmother lives. THe drive over was a nice comfortable 45 minute drive, followed up by some nice unpacking, then some resting after a very long day of travel with the wife, five kids, sister-in-law and mother-in-law.

Thinking of how nice this trip has been, the one thing that makes it even better is that America got it right last night. Sanjaya… saionara. That’ll be all there is to say about that.

FTR: 🙂 and 🙁 .