Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Traveling to South Louisiana-the sights, the sounds, the food


Driving to South Louisiana used to feel as if I were traveling to the ends of the earth. I go through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi to get there and it takes anywhere from 11 hours to 11 and a half. I've done that trip so many times in the near-six years I've lived in this cove at Killian Knob that it no longer seems so long a drive. Don't get me wrong: eleven hours in a car is no picnic--by time I arrive, do my thang, and then drive back home, I'm exhausted and drained.


But, what's cool about traveling by car is all the sights and sounds and people, or even the big towns versus the little towns. And the landscape and flora, fauna, the music, the mood, even the types of vehicles I see on the roads.

Once the mountain ranges leave my rearview, and then the rolling hills recede, I enter the flatlands, and begin seeing swamps and spanish moss and egrets flying or by the side of the road fishing for crawfish and little fishes in the canals and ditches. Entering, or nearing, South Louisiana, I also see many many LSU bumper stickers and decals, and this time more than ever before, I also saw Saints stickers and decals.


I stopped for gas right at the Louisiana state line and while waiting for the tank to fill, I remarked to a woman standing near, “Wow; it’s really warm today, isn’t it?” and she replied, “It’s cold!” I blinked, “Cold?” … “Yes, yesterday was 84 degrees and today it isn’t.” I thought, “huhn,” because I remembered feeling that when I lived in the deep south, that it was “cold” if it wasn’t “hot.” Now my inner thermometer is quite different.


Maggie Valley is about 3000 feet; I live at about 3400 feet, and Baton Rouge is 50 feet (these are above sea levels)—New Orleans, at least part of it, is about five feet below sea level. It’s a strange feeling going to the flatlands after living in the mountains. Strange to think how low I am, how close to the level of the sea. How easy it would be for a big storm to come and blow millions of gallons of water over me and wash me away. My friends say, "Well, we could slide off'n your mountain." Ha! What-ever.


The food is a whole ‘nother thing. If there are differences in sea levels above and below, and in flora and fauna, and in vehicles, there is a starkly huge difference in the attitude towards food in South Louisiana compared to the mountains and probably anywhere else in the United States. When eating breakfast, one begins to think about lunch, and when eating lunch, one is thinking about supper, and when eating supper, one is thinking about what will be consumed the next day! It’s true! I saw it! I lived it! I did it while down there! Somehow, crossing that state line into South Louisiana, my appetite increased tenfold. I ate more calories in one day than I sometimes have in several days here at Killian Knob. I ate crab. I ate shrimp. I ate fish. I ate and ate and swore I wouldn't eat like that again the next day, but I did.

More later . . .

(For those of you in the area, my Secret Graces signing will be at Blue Ridge Osondu Books, this Saturday, April 17, 1:00 PM. My brother will be in town several days, so if I don’t post for a few days, that’s why!)







11 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

Who Dat!

Marguerite said...

Sounds like you had a bon ton! So glad that you got to indulge in some Cajun delights and experience some of our rare cool weather. lol There is a little surprise for you, at my place. Come see, sha!

Suldog said...

Oh... There is little quite so tasty and soul-satisfying as good Cajun cooking. Sticks to the ribs and to the memory!

Karen said...

OH, man, that seafood and sausage looks soooo good. I sure miss the food. Yeah, it gets hotter in LA than here in FL with their humidity. Sounds like you had a great time.

Deb Shucka said...

It sure sounds like you had a great trip. I'm envious that you and Angie got to spend time together. For some reason, I'm feeling really hungry right now. :-)

Have a great time with your book signing and your brother!

Debbie said...

I wish I could scoot over this mountain and be at that signing! Unfortunately, hubby has to travel to visit his ailing dad so I am on kid duty. I hope it goes swimmingly, as I am sure it will, and that you have a blast with your brother!

Debra said...

The last time I was in Maggie Valley it was 1978. I still remember how wonderful the air felt there, so light and cool, and it was June!

Welcome to "Who Dat" nation! Have a wonderful time!

Jessica Nelson said...

Sounds fun! (except the food: I think I'll stick with cheese and chocolate, lol)

I can't believe Secret Graces is out! Time flies...

gram said...

Kathyrn,
I just ordered both of your books from Barnes and Nobel on line. I soo look forward to reading them. Can't wait till they arrive. Safe travels!!

jeannette said...

It's Kinda fun to follow you on your travels, Kathryn (although I'm glad I don't have to do what you do!)
I know hardly anything about the South. but I love their seafood gumbo, paella, etc.
Also, in my childhood I lived by the sea (in Holland), BELOW selevel -so I know these thoughts you're having about storms and floods - in 1953 almost the whole province was flooded by a flashflood (I wasn't there then, because I lived in Indonesia till 1955).

Glynis said...

You do sound as if you are having fun. The food sounds great.