South LA, MS & AL – All On A Weekend Trip
Even for longtime residents like myself, the Gulf Coast never ceases to surprise and delight with its ever-evolving beauty from Naples, Florida to Brownsville, Texas. Every region of the Gulf of Mexico is home to a distinct variety of fish, shrimp, and oysters, each of which has its own flavor profile. People in this place come in as many different varieties as the seafood does.
The journey itself is often the best part of a memorable road trip.
About three miles south of Hammond, Louisiana, you will find yourself in a part of the world that is unlike any other as you travel south on Interstate 55. Just keep piling on the miles and dialing up the smiles. The highway comes to an elevation change, and water begins to appear on both sides of the road. You are driving on a highway that has two separate spans, each of which consists of four lanes, and there is water in both of the gaps between the spans. The lowlands of southern Louisiana can be found here. The only things that are able to flourish in this lovely watery garden are animals native to swamps, such as alligators, snakes, turtles, and Nutria, and people who hunt these animals for a rush, a hobby, and money, so that they can buy boats, bullets, and beer so that they can continue to hunt other animals. People like the crazy Turtle Man character from the History Channel.
After traveling for thirty miles, the scene does not significantly alter. This spans a distance of 23 miles along Interstate 55. After making the turn to the east, you will have traveled seven more miles toward New Orleans, Louisiana. I love it! If you look into the water on a particularly warm day, you might see half-submerged logs, and on each of those logs, there might be one hundred turtles basking in the sun. You can find fishing or hunting camps pretty much anywhere there is enough land to construct a road with one lane. There are certain camps that can only be reached by boat. A quaint little town like Manchac or Laplace will show up wherever there is a sure enough island.
The steady flow of the Mississippi River through the low, flat lands was how God initially fashioned this paradisiacal wetland paradise. When the river reaches south Louisiana, it stops moving in a forward direction and enters the neutral position. It appears to lose all of its energy and becomes content to sprawl in all directions. It only moves in stride with the fun-loving local Acadians who smile and say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” which translates to “Let the good times roll.”
Any time of year is a good time to visit New Orleans.
We had a reservation for the night at the LePavillon Hotel on Poydras Street in New Orleans, and we wanted to check in as early as possible before it got dark. The LePaviollon Hotel is consistently cited as one of the top hotels in the world. Poydras Street, which is about 5 blocks away from the Superdome, is where you will find it. In the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, you’ll never be far from a delicious dish or an interesting attraction no matter where you are. The well-known “Mother’s” cafe can be found just a few blocks away on Poydras. Outstanding sandwiches, soups, gumbo, and other dishes. At the very least once, you are obligated to eat at Mother’s.
We were stuck in traffic during the morning rush hour close to the New Orleans International Airport. Things slowed down considerably after that. Because it was possible that getting to the hotel would take an hour if we drove through traffic, we made the decision to detour around the congestion, eat dinner, and then continue on to the hotel.
We had dinner at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, which is located in Metairie, Louisiana at 3232 North Arnoult Avenue. It was conveniently located near our location on Interstate 10. The seafood at Drago’s is excellent across the board, and the restaurant even has a house specialty. This location was recommended to me by my good friend Dr. Jim Dukes. They grill the oysters while they are still in the shell! Although this task has been completed in the past, these gentlemen have perfected the art of cooking oysters. It has been brought to my attention that they sell more than two thousand dozen oysters every week. Oysters were being opened by five men simultaneously. It was only 5:00 PM, but everyone had a significant heap of shells in front of them. Because the grilled oysters were so delicious, we decided to order a platter of fried shrimp and oysters. That is some seriously delicious seafood right there. There are multiple locations of Drago’s. I strongly suggest that you look them up so that you can have an exceptional dining experience.
We have traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) so frequently that we have almost created a path through our favorite spots there. We park on Decatur Street and then take a stroll through the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. We make a pit stop at Cafe Du Monde for some Beignets and French Roast coffee (French Donuts). The environment is extremely loud, but it is well managed. Everyone appears to be having a wonderful time. Outside the cafe, on the sidewalk, you can hear live music performed by street musicians.
A person who enjoys people-watching will find New Orleans to be a paradise.
We began our ascent on one end of Decatur Street and made our way back down the other. When we arrived back at Jackson Square, we made a left turn onto Royal Street heading north. Although Royal has a lot of foot traffic, it is a more peaceful neighborhood than Decatur or Bourbon street. Both sides of Royal are lined with small shops, but only some of them are open at night. These shops are art galleries, antique stores, and even grocery stores; they do not sell oddities. Two of the most interesting and captivating street musicians we’ve ever heard performed for us. One of them was a young woman from Asia who played the violin. The other performer was a young woman with dark skin who was playing an acoustic guitar. It was possible that she was from an island. I can assure you that this was not the first time that these young ladies have participated in an activity together. The progression of their music was artistically performed and featured impeccable timing throughout. They effortlessly transitioned from jazz pieces to classical pieces without skipping a beat. A significant number of people gathered nearby, clapped, and cheered as they threw money into their open instrument cases.
New Orleans, Louisiana, on a Saturday morning
NOLA has more quality dining options than any other city in the United States. If you want every meal to be an “eat-high,” you’ll need to bring your wallet. However, there are a lot of places where you can get delicious food at a low cost. There are some breakfasts that can cost a couple up to fifty dollars or more. If you feel comfortable with that, I highly recommend going for it because you won’t be sorry you did. What you pay for is certainly what you get. People refer to New Orleans as “the city that care forgot,” which may or may not be accurate; however, there is no doubt that it is the city that the gods of food focus on.
We took a scenic drive down Saint Charles Avenue and then turned onto Carrollton Avenue, where we stopped at our go-to bakery and deli restaurant, which is called la Madeline Country French Cafe. This restaurant chain used to be located in the French Quarter on Jackson Square, but it has since moved to the Garden District because the atmosphere there is more conducive to the type of cuisine it serves. They are skilled in the preparation of delectable salads, soups, sandwiches, quiches, desserts, cookies, muffins, and bread, among other dishes. It’s probably best if I stop talking because I can’t accurately quote the menu. We have never had anything that wasn’t delicious that we ordered. The majority of the dishes are prepared with French culinary techniques. My guess is that you’ll really enjoy it. In addition to a bowl of soup or salad, try the Croque Monsieur. It is a traditional French take on the American ham and cheese sandwich, and it is assembled with pliable ham, melted Swiss cheese, and a savory garlic cream sauce.
The Gulf Coast of Mississippi can be reached in a short amount of time.
The majority of my life was spent on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. It is always a pleasure to come here and dine at some of our go-to establishments, such as the White Cap Restaurant, which is located on the beach in Gulfport, Mississippi. It was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine. The grounds of St. Stanislaus High School played host to the annual Crab Festival that was being held in Bay St. Louis. There was a plethora of rides, as well as an abundance of delicious seafood.
On this trip, we were prepared with a schedule. On Saturday night in Gulfport, Mississippi, an old friend of mine named Howard Rutland, who is also the owner of the Bibletones Quartet and a singer in the group, was hosting the fortieth annual Bibletones Homecoming Concert. The members of the quartet are friends of ours, and we are concerned that this may be the last annual celebration they attend together. They are not going to give up, but rather they are winding things down. The Florida Boys Quartet, hailing from Pensacola, Florida, took the stage as the featured group. To participate in this concert alongside Howard, these gentlemen essentially came out of retirement.
Although each group’s performance isn’t quite as stellar or as full of youthful energy as it once was, we had a great time listening to them, chatting with them, and sharing some tall tales with them. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to witness what might turn out to be a momentous event.
South Alabama never fails to lift my spirits.
While we were residing in south Mississippi, we came to the conclusion that Baldwin County, Alabama was home to some of the most delicious produce in the country. In the same way that onions from Vidalia, Georgia have a sweeter flavor, corn from Baldwin County, Alabama has a sweeter and more flavorful taste.
We stayed at the Best Western Motel in Daphne, Alabama while we were there. This will be our second time staying in this particular motel. This hotel has three and a half stars. The room was cozy, even though it was on the smaller side. In addition, there is a flat-screen television measuring 42 inches, a refrigerator, a microwave, a coffee maker, and a complimentary continental breakfast that is served close to the lobby from six in the morning until nine in the morning. The price is acceptable considering the location.
If you take Interstate 10 seven miles to the east of Daphne, Alabama, you will arrive at Alabama Highway 59. To reach the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, take this well-known parkway and head in the direction of the south. The road goes through a number of different towns.
The Burris Farm Market can be found in the center of Loxley, which is a small town in Alabama. Since 1953, Burris’ has been providing its services to customers. There are a lot of cars in the area, so you won’t have any trouble finding them. They are experts in the local produce that are grown in the area. If you are someone who enjoys eating fresh fruits and vegetables, then this is the place for you. Additionally, they sell products in large quantities. We plan our trips for the beginning of the summer so that we won’t have to travel “out-of-the-way” to be here when the corn is harvested.
Two bushels of Silver King Corn, which is our annual quota, were purchased by us. It was impossible for us to leave without purchasing some vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh peaches, and other items to munch on in the car as we drove back home. When we leave Loxley, we have a drive to our house that is going to take us five hours, so we have to put the corn in the trunk. If you choose to do this, be sure to bring some plastic with you and cover the floors and seats to avoid getting any stains. Maintain a cool temperature inside the vehicle to stop the corn from “going through a heat.” The distance from Loxley in Alabama to Ackerman in Mississippi is approximately 300 miles. After crossing the state line from Alabama into Mississippi, you will find yourself on US 45, a four-lane highway that offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The state of Mississippi is home to some of the South’s most impressive roadways.
That evening, she removed the silks and husks from the corn, and the next day, she stored it in the freezer. She is able to maintain the corn on the cob’s freshness using a straightforward method. If anyone were to ask her how to do it, I’m sure she’d be happy to explain the process to them. We were able to save about a dozen ears, and she used those to prepare dinner. On July 4th, my family and I are planning a get-together, and I have a feeling that some of this corn on the cob will go over very well.
I would like to pay my respects to the brave men who paid with their lives and blood to ensure that future generations can enjoy freedom. May God bless the United States!