Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cameron Parish

I crossed the border into Louisiana on highway 82 and it wasn't ten minutes before I saw my first alligator roadkill. The communities in the area that I drove through were almost completely wiped out by hurricane Rita. Or as the sherriff in Cameron Parish told me "people done near lost everything they had." Rita was an even more intense storm than hurricane Katrina, there is still plenty of evidence all along highway 82.

All day I drove through miles and miles of swamp. I drove past a couple of trees filled with what I thought was storm debris and it turned out to be dozens of pink spoonbills. When I got out to look at them I surprised a gator who hopped into the water and floated there, staring at me and then I heard one across the water hissing and growling at me. What a sound!

I drove a little further down the road and met a family out catching crab and drum fish. They were so friendly that it confirmed my thinking that Louisiana would be a more welcoming place than Texas.

I was tempted but torn about staying out in the marshlands overnight. It's quiet, with lots of dead-end dirt roads but I was nervous about attracting unwanted attention from humans and maybe gators. I was also sort of in the mood to go into a town and meet people but I had no idea where to go. The family I met suggested Abbeville because there are RV parks there where I could get a much needed shower. Maybe I could get some food too. The grandmother, Lucille, gave me directions to her favorite seafood place in Lafayette, Lagneaux's and told me to have the "balled crab". Balled crab? What the hell is balled crab? She told me more about how to make it with onion in the water and just a little lemon juice until I finally realized she was saying BOILED crab. Boy, am I dumb.

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