From New Orleans to Morgan City-Fri. December 17th
We got the shuttle van back to the airport at 9. I had arranged to be picked up at 9:30, so after breakfast in our room and cleaning out the refrigerator, we went down to the front desk with our keys to check out before the van came. Checkout time was at 10, so we were a little early but we saw a van parked out front. So I went out to see while Bob finished checking out.
There was no one in the van but there was another van down in front of the Fairmont. He picked us up. He said the other driver was probably drinking coffee around the corner in McDonalds.
When the van driver found out we were not flying out, but picking up a rental car, he let us off at the AA section and told us to take the escalator down to the rental car area. But we turned the wrong way and walked the whole length of the airport back to the elevator - which was just as well because the escalator was down for repairs.
We checked in at the Enterprise counter, and then she told us to go out and cross to the median for pickup. Bob didn't hear her tell us to go to the median, and he wasn't going to do it until I went across and found the Enterprise sign.
We've got a silver Neon. The LA license plates say 'private' if it is someone's personal car, and ours says 'commercial in addition to having the E for Enterprise on it. After we did the walk-around, I went and sat in the car. Bob wanted a map, so he went back in and I attempted to open the glove compartment to look for the owner's manuel and found the sliding latch was broken off. So the guy came back and confirmed that this was so.
We started off for New Iberia where our motel reservation was. The land is very flat and laced with canals and lakes and ponds. We took 310 to US 90, which is on the map and is posted as "Future I-49. Some of it is limited access.
By about noon, we had whistled past Morgan City. I had found a place called Manny's in the AAA book and decided we should eat lunch there so I wanted to turn off of the I-49/US 90 at the exit, but Bob went past it.
We got off US 90 in Berwick (across the river from Morgan City) and came back across the old bridge (with a sign saying it was the Allen-Long bridge - in the old days all the bridges were Huey Long or O.K. Allen. O.K. Allen was Huey's stooge governor because there were term limits. Long spent the off time away being a senator in D.C. Although Governor Allen's initials stood for Oscar Kelly he went by O.K. Which was ironic because he always OKed everything Huey wanted).
We eventually found Mannys, and Bob had a triple decker club sandwich which looked very nice for $5.95. I however went for the buffet which was $10.95. They had a salad table including deviled eggs, a whole seafood and vegetable table which included crawfish fettuccini, crawfish etoffee, shrimp gumbo, fresh greens (with hard boiled eggs), seafood puffs, fried fish and a lot of other things, and another whole table of desserts (coconut pie, lemon and chocolate meringue pies, pecan pie, chocolate cake, white cake, banana cream pie, and strawberry topped sugar free cake.
Then we went out to see the (free) Brownell Memorial Park carillon.We found it north of town on SR 70, and went into the Visitor's Center. According to the visitor's book, we were the first visitors in 2 days. The carillon is in an 106 foot tower and has 61 bronze bells - it is one of the largest cast-bell carillons in the world. Each of the bells has to be 'tuned' so that they sound not only the main tone, but also the upper and lower tones.
However, when we talked to the guy at the visitor's center and asked him if he sounded the bells from the electronic keyboard behind him, he answered that they are played by something like an organ with foot pedals as well as hand levers (top photo) and apparently they need someone who is very athletic to do it. They have no one to play the bells now and the quarter hour sounding was done on a tape that they had made of the bells at a time when they did have someone to play them. The man in the visitor's center apparently walked with canes, and had difficulty speaking - possibly due to cerebral palsy. .
We walked out to the tower (taking note of the map of town as to where various other things I wanted to see were) and then went back to town.
We found Cypress Manor, a 1906 house with a Mardi Gras exhibit and I took a picture, but we didn't go in. Then we came across the 205 Shop that was advertised in the guide I had and I went in and bought a present, which she wrapped for me. I don't know how I will deal with the fact that it is wrapped when we go through security to fly back to Miami.
She told us that they still had the Blessing of the Fleet and they closed the old bridge so people could walk out on it, but it was a much bigger deal now and was for both shrimp AND oil.
She asked if we had seen any movie stars from the movie company in town filming "All the Kings Men" But at that time, we had not. We were in search of the "Mr Charlie Rig Museum" (the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition). On the way, we did run into the movie filming folks. The first offshore oil rig that was stationed out of sight of land was 43 miles south of Morgan City in 1947. This museum is the only place where folks can walk aboard an authentic offshore oil rig.
I decided not to try the tour, so we drove back, past the movie set folks again (with a lot of 30's cars standing around in various places - there's another picture in the Intro toMorgan City which may have some actual on-screen people in it)
We drovedown along the waterfront and saw the dikes and an occasional gate in the dikes. The ICW comes to along the waterfront here. It was hard to take photos of the waterfront without getting out and climbing the wall, so we just went back to the center of town (Federal Street), and I took pictures of the Spirit of Morgan City (an old shrimp boat in the median strip, which has now got a Santa on it and is being "pulled" by two reindeer - how the reindeer do at swimming I don't know). They also have a model of an oil rig tower in the same location.
Next- New Iberia