Day 39(Friday, May 27):Denham Springs to Mandeville,LA-75 miles of riding….
May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
On the road again, (cue several bars of the familiar country melody), just can’t wait to get on the road again….thanks to Willie Nelson….
Early morning and Joe, like a homing pigeon turns south from the motel. However, 190, the mutually chosen route, is north. Thus begins Day 39. Joe stops after a few minutes: “Where is 190? We have already gone one mile.” At the next block we see signs and turn onto 190; it is busy with oncoming morning rush hour traffic; the road surface, luckily, is new with a serviceable, though narrow shoulder. Joe does not like it: “How much longer on this road?”, is his refrain at every stop. 25, 17, 15 miles; then the road worsens- no shoulder and even I am annoyed by all the overloaded logging trucks. We alter our path to Route 22; hopefully matters will improve. We pass through Holden on this deviation and see an overflow of cars at a gas station; let’s go in and see what’s up. I find Joe inside, to the left of the main entrance, in a room full of tables,which in turn are full of men. “Joe, it looks like you found yourself a good ol’ boys club. Do any of you guys work?” There are guffaws all around and they start reeling off one Boudreaux joke after another just like the trooper told us about yesterday. Then the preachers get in a few Catholic-Baptist-Pentecostal jokes, the religion of the protagonist changing depending on who does the telling. It was great. Real live Coonasses in their natural environment. Unbelievable! Seriously, they were great and wished us safe journeys; the preacher even gave us an extra blessing as he rolled by beside us in his car. Thank you all!
We arrive at our destination in a timely manner despite an unfortunate delay and a 10 mile total detour due to us both missing seeing a sign. Joe was far in the lead, nonetheless he feels the responsibility is mine….So be it. It’s our first navigational error in 2,000 miles, so in reality not a big problem–and we got to see another great bridge!
We are now in Mandeville, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The town was established in 1834 by “New Orleans-born Frenchman”(???) developer Bernard Phillipe Xavier de Marigny de Mandiville on former agricultural lands. By the mid 1800’s Mandeville became known as a “popular summer destination for well to do New Orleanians wishing to escape the summer heat.” Daily steamboat traffic began between Mandeville and New Orleans in the early 1900’s; the town then became a popular weekend destination for the Victorian middle class as well.
Bands played music as the ships crossed the lake and at the pavilions in town; Mandeville thus became one of the first towns outside of New Orleans where the “new jazz” was heard. Two of those original buildings still exist-Ruby’s Roadhouse, in continual operation since the 1920’s, and the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall, opened again in 2000 as the Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall.
The town was in the Relocate America Top 100 places to live for five years in a row from 2005 on.
We have just returned from
a walking expedition of the town; it is one oak tree festooned with Spanish moss after the next, the quintessential vision of Louisiana. I may not leave. We checked out our dinner locale for tonight; a former boss of Joe’s from the City of Chicago, David Williams, is driving, with his wife Marsha, up from New Orleans to join us. (Today’s photo op features Joe flanked by David and Marsha). The restaurant, Juniper, is housed in a 100 year old structure, formerly a bakery, and features Creole cuisine. Yes!
Tonight we sleep in a 150 year old house, now a B&B, the C’est Chez Nous, three houses from the lake shore. Is this the vacation part of our trip Joe?
On our walk we met numerous people; Joe feels he brightened all their lives. The individual I will remember the most: Lilly, proprietor of Bano’s Food Store since 1945.
On another note,I’ve figured out why all the loose Louisiana dogs: it gives them a fighting chance against the gators! Thus far I must report no live gators, snakes or other things that go thump in the night. Thank Goodness !
In reality, dogs are a minor disturbance here. Hopefully, I haven’t jinxed us with that statement.
We are thoroughly enjoying Louisiana. Too bad it isn’t as large as Texas; we already move on to another state tomorrow. Yes, I know, this adventure seems to have picked up some momentum after we left the dry grasslands of Texas. Onward and upward. Ready or not here we come!
Tagged: "new Jazz", 190, Bano's Food Store, Bernard Phillipe Xavier de Marigny de Mandiville, Boudreaux, C'est Chez Nous, Chicago, Coonasses, Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall, Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall, dogs, gators, Holden, jokes, Juniper, Lake Pontchartrain, Mandeville, Marsha, On the Road again, Relocate America Top 100 places to live, Route 22, Ruby's Roadhouse, Texas, Willie Nelson