I grew up in the South, and although I lack a southern accent (except for the irreplaceable “ya’ll), I have no difficulty understanding “southern.” For Eric, California boy that he is, it’s almost a foreign language.
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
At Poche’s smokehouse in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, Eric smiled politely when the cashier asked him if he’d like some cracklins to go with our purchase of crawfish and homemade sausage. I answered, “Thanks, but no.” As soon as we got out the door, Eric said, “What the heck did she ask me?” (To be fair, it was a heavy Cajun accent, which is even more difficult to understand.)
A sign on the wall menu at Poche’s proclaims, “Every part of the hog is good, from the rooter to the tooter.” We passed on the rooters and tooters (as far as we know). But we did enjoy a Cajun-inspired dish that night of crawfish jambalaya flavored with a bit of Poche’s smoked homemade sausage.
Three Swamps, Three States, Three Days
We’ve had a taste of the swamps and bayous in three different states in the past three days. At Caddo Lake State Park in the far eastern corner of Texas, we kayaked through a cypress swamp draped in Spanish moss, accompanied by the raucous calls of Pileated Woodpeckers and the songs of Carolina Wrens. In the time-forgotten town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, we spent a peaceful night at Poche’s Fish-N-Camp, just a couple of miles from the family smokehouse.
And in Gautier, Mississippi, we overnighted at Shepherd State Park. We spent the next morning exploring the unique ecosystem of the nearby Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge. This is one of the few remaining wet pine savannahs, and home to a dozen species of carnivorous plants and abundant birdlife, including a small population of endangered Mississippi Sandhill Cranes. We saw a number of species that we don’t see in Oregon, including Brown-headed Nuthatches, Carolina Chickadees, Blue Jays, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Brown Thrashers, and Northern Cardinals. We’ve finally hit the birding jackpot on this trip.
While in Mississippi, we spent a couple of hours at the rustic Pascagoula Audubon Center. Here, we enjoyed the company of the director of the center. He’s Cajun, and told us, “You know, we eat anything!” He then proceeded to delight us with a hilarious story of his efforts to contain invasive species by sponsoring a hunt for plants and animals that are threatening to displace native species.
That willingness to eat anything may be a bit rough on those with delicate digestive tracts, though. At Poche’s smokehouse and restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice that right next to the register, and just across from the rooter and tooter motto, are two shelves of digestive aids, ranging from Gas-X to Ex-Lax. (We had no problems, but then again, we stuck to some pretty safe choices.)
As usual, I LOVE your photos. The morning fog at Poche’s brought back such great memories of our stays there. We really enjoy that area – food, history, and trying to understand what the heck someone just said to us. :)
Laurie, it was your blog that gave us the inspiration to stay at Poche’s! Thanks for the great tip.
What a trip. New Mexio to SE USA. Linda is in Anaheim on her first “National Conference Paid Vacation”. I’m holding down the fort. Spent a wonderful weekend with John and Diana at Gold Beach in the cottage remembering a weekend when yu guys had a nite from hell with a deflating air mattress there.
Salmon are returning to Bear Cr. in good maybe record numbers. Rogue Valley Rocks!
We’re just waiting for the time when you and Linda can join us on a cross-country adventure! Meanwhile, sounds like you guys are having a great time back home. We miss you! L & E
More amazing pics. My fave is the reflection of the church in the window. Just incredible! You make our country look so interesting! I always am drawn to overseas travel but you make me want to see more of things nearer.
Thanks, Sue! Our country is truly amazing–interesting, beautiful, quirky, and so richly diverse. Even now we’re moving too quickly to delve as deeply as we would like into the areas that we’re visiting.
Whoa! “Every part of the hog is good, from the rooter to the tooter.” Now you are havin some serious fun! I’m curing bacon …suppose you’ve got any southern dish delights for that?
Love your pics… and the idea of kayaking through spanish moss with raucous birds sounds so exotic!
Thanks for sharing your adventures through this beautiful website.
Love you guys and miss you lots too.
Save us some bacon!! I know if you’re making it, it’s going to be great. Miss you, too.
Wow, cool photos! And your tales remind me that it’s so easy to get a taste of another culture right here within our own country. Replete with foreign languages and everything. Love you both!
I’ll teach you Southern if you’ll teach me Spanish. xo