Mardi Gras Gathering, Henderson, LA . February 27 – March 5, 2014
Hosts: Marie and Burnel Moreau, Les & Ida Cook, Lou & Carol Butaud
This gathering was originally the Mardi Gras Rally scheduled in Rayne, but because of too much rain and wet grounds at the Rayne Fairgrounds the hosts had to think quick, canceling the rally, but reorganizing it within hours to a Gathering to a nearby campground at Cajun Palms RV Resort in Henderson, LA. Since many were already packed up and on their way to Rayne, the reorganization worked out perfectly for them.
Nine RV’s gathered at Cajun Palms, while Marie and Burnel were part of the gathering, but didn’t bring their 5th wheel to the park. The nine who stuck it out and enjoyed each other’s company were Ida and Les , John and DeAnna, David and Deanne, Chuck and Bobbie, James and Gail, Jerry and Hessie, Al and Fran, Bernard and Mary, and Ed and Janelle.
Since we didn’t have a kitchen or room to enjoy our potlucks most of our meals together were eaten out. We sure had our fill of Cajun food which was wonderful. Thursday we started our eating at Pat’s Seafood not far from the campground which did a super job accommodating us. We had the best waitress who smiled and had fun with all of us the entire time.
Friday morning, we all carpooled and went over to see the Jean Lafitte Theatre where they showed a film and also have a really nice museum. We then went over to the Vermillion Ville museum for a tour and enjoy a seafood buffet lunch. That night we went to the Krewe of Bonaparte Mardi Gras Parade which was so much fun fighting for those beads.
Saturday after lunch we traveled to Eunice for a tour of the Jean Lafitte Museum there. We also had the pleasure of attending the Liberty Theatre where they performed Cajun Music. It was the best ever! The music was great along with all the dancing from the audience, but also the “peasants” who arrived in the theatre to entertain us. There was definitely high energy going around that night.
Sunday we all headed over to the Marie and Burnell’s home in Lafayette for her famous and delicious chicken and sausage gumbo. We also had Kings Cake for dessert in honor of Les’ birthday! We spent most of the afternoon at their home and just enjoyed all being together and enjoying each other’s company.
On Monday morning, we started out early for Crowley, LA for a 9 am tour of the Crowley City Hall, which was formerly Crowley Motor Company. We were treated to a funny, informative tour by Charlotte Jeffers, the Tourism Coordinator for Crowley. She shared with us much Ford memorabilia and history, as well as the JD Miller Music Recording Studio, which eventually was in the same building. Then we went to the Historic Rice Theater, which was renovated in a contemporary art-deco, 50’s style. We saw two films: 1) Crowley’s rice industry and 2) JD Miller’s success as a blues, rock, pop and Cajun music producer and song writer. It was very interesting and Ms. Jeffers was a real treat!
We had lunch on our own at local restaurants, after which some of us took a spin around the historic district, where many beautiful homes were displayed, built by the original settlers who came to Crowley via the midwest and other parts of the U.S. (It is not one of the areas settled by the original Acadians.) We returned to Lafayette for the Queen’s Parade. The queens and maids were beautiful, the floats were awesome, and we got LOTS of beads. However, a cold front had come in and we FROZE!
On Fat Tuesday, we woke up to a FROZEN world. I-10 was closed down for most of the day and all activities were canceled, so we missed the King’s Parade. We stayed in and ate soup and watched movies, until dinner time, when some went to Marie and Burnel’s to finish off the gumbo and others stayed in to keep warm. On Wednesday, the weather improved and we left for our respective homes and destinations.
Chama Gathering, Chama, NM . August 17 – 23, 2014
August means Chama time! James and Gail Smith, Linda and Polk Brian and returning members Gene and Chris Fisher arrived before August. Ted and I arrived August 1st and on a personal note, we were excited to finally be able to spend a month in Chama. RV problems had prevented us doing so in the past!
The first few days we relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful sunny mornings, some beautiful rainy afternoons and the wonderfully cool evenings! After a few days we were excited for some Traveling Supremes to arrive to enjoy the area with us.
This month we have enjoyed viewing the local wildlife including some bears, deer and elk. We have enjoyed the beautiful mountains, pine trees and green, green grass! The cool weather has been especially appreciated!
For this non-gathering James and Gail have done a wonderful job making sure we’ve eaten well and had a great time. We’ve had lots of great meals and potlucks and some cards and dominoes! We learned some new cards games that are “Frustration” for sure and “Fifteen”!
Several of us have taken the train either to or from Antonito and had a wonderful time. We even saw some beautiful Antelope running along parallel to the train.
Several of us visited the Benedictine Abbey Monastery of Christ in the Desert. It is so peaceful and serene and some of us were there to hear the Monk’s chanting their afternoon prayers. We also visited the town of Abiquiu, near the Monastery for lunch at the Inn and a couple of us visited thelocal Lavender Farm down the road.
Chama days were August 6-10. They had dances, dinners, softball, rodeos and a parade! Several of us went to the parade, found a shady spot to sit and enjoy the float, the bands, the politicians and the construction equipment! The highlights seemed to be the candy thrown and the fire truck squirting water at the crowds!
One night the Brian’s, Smith’s and Kercher’s played bingo at the Catholic Church in town and one of our own, James Smith, won a $50 bingo! We are going back on September 1st for one more time at bingo before we leave Chama on September 2nd.
One weekend, the Cowboy Singer, Earl Gleason stayed in the park. He enjoyed a Traveling Supreme dinner with us and sang for his supper! He sang his own western songs along with familiar songs of other cowboy singers. It was especially entertaining to listen to his stories about his songs and his life. If you would like to take a listen, visit his website.
Of course us ladies have enjoyed the shopping in Pagosa Springs, Colorado and in Chama. We’ve had a few meals in both towns and after dinner at the brewery, a group attended a play, “Chorus Line,” at a local theater in Pagosa Springs. The actors were given good reviews!
Polk has continued his tradition of hunting Aspen Trees and cutting them for walking sticks. Polk has a large following that find and cut the sticks, de-bark and smooth the beautiful Aspen wood. They personalize them and make these beautiful walking sticks for various groups and friends!
Most importantly has been the month long fellowship that we have had with the various Traveling Supremes in Chama! Ted and I are so happy to be a part of this group!
Additional Members Attending:
Bill and Martha Bobo
John and Danna Brandon
Les and Ida Cook
Albert and Fran Dake
Larry and Nita Denmon
Jim and Tina Hoover
Jack and Susan Kelly
Roger and Charline Odom
David and Deanne Phillips
Jerry and Hessie Smith
Gary and Norma Odom
Jim and Della Crownover
Galveston Rally, Galveston, TX.September 10 – 15, 2014
Hosts: David and Deanne Phillips, assisted by Jim and Tina Hoover
Our gathering on the Gulf Coast officially started with a social hour and shrimp boil dinner (complete with potatoes, corn, sausage and boiled eggs, which was an ingredient most of us were unfamiliar with) provided by our hosts, David and Deanne Phillips. They were assisted by Jim and Tina Hoover. Our RV spots at Sandpiper RV Park were right on Stewart Beach, one of the prettiest and cleanest beaches along the Galveston Seawall. We could walk right out to the beach whenever we got the urge and see the ships coming into the channel headed to either the Port of Galveston or the Port of Houston. We enjoyed fully the infinity swimming pool with colorful lights, a hot tub, waterfall, and piped-in music. The living area and kitchen were awesome as well. Ten rigs were at our gathering, Moreaus, Moores, Phillips, Hoovers, Dakes, Jas. Smiths, Butauds, Bertelsens, Bobos and Brians.
On Thursday, after a great lunch at the Sunflower Bakery and Grill, we all went touring on our own. Some went to Pier 21 to see the movie The Great Storm about the 1900 Galveston storm which almost completely destroyed the island. We had dinner at the famous Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant, where we were joined by some new friends, Vick and Judy Cheney from Oregon. You know how Lou Butaud is always on the job trying to get us new members. Well we hope it worked on the Cheneys. After dinner several couples went out for drinks and piano bar music at the beautiful San Luis Resort. Great evening (except for when Lou asked James to dance. It was very uncomfortable!) HA!
On Friday the Phillips had arranged for a tour around town on a bus and a boat. We had a very colorful driver on the bus, but she was an expert tour guide, as her family had been in Galveston since the 1800’s. She showed us all the mansions on Broadway, several oak trees that were killed by Hurricane Ike’s salty water and later carved into beautiful carvings rather than be cut down, the port, and many other points of interest. On board the boat we were able to see a huge pod of dolphin (maybe as many as 50) following a shrimp boat. Although it rained off and on all day and was steamy and hot, it did not affect our fun!
On Saturday, we took more time for sightseeing. Some went to the easternmost point of the island to watch ships come and go (cruise ships included) or walked downtown on The Strand and shopped, or toured the Bishop’s Palace and/or Moody Mansion, The Elissa Tall Ship, or just stayed at the RV Park and looked at the view.
Some took the ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula or toured the 1911 Hotel Galvez. After eating shrimp poboys at Benno’s, we were ready to eat again by dinner, so we had a traditional steak night with all the trimmings at the park living area.
Some rigs left on Sunday, while others stayed on to do more looking around and enjoying the 70 degree temps that had blown in. It was a great gathering and our thanks go out to the Phillips and Hoovers for showing us such a good time. See you all in October at the Sponsor’s Rally in Rayne, LA and until then, Travel Supremely!
Traveling Supremes Sponsor’s Rally, Rayne, LA October 23 – 26, 2014
We opened our annual Sponsor’s Rally in Rayne, LA, with a meet and greet in the Green Room at Rayne’s City Park on Thursday, October 23, although most of us had arrived at least one or two days early. We had a fantastic Cajun food dinner at Fezzo’s in Scott, LA, and learned that a fezzo is an empty brown thread spool, which the owner collected as a child, and earned him the nickname for which the restaurant is named. The weather was wonderful, cool at night and perfect in the daytime. Linda and Polk Brian, as hosts, had worked hard to come up with ideas to entertain our group, as we have come to Rayne many times and had done most of the recommended things to do in the area. As usual, however, we were royally entertained. The Executive Board was also able to have a quick meeting on Thursday afternoon, prior to the beginning of activities.
On Friday, after a breakfast of French Toast and sausage served by the Brians, we left for a tour at Kelly’s Landing. Kelly Hunter and his wife, Lynn, were perfect Cajun hosts. They showed us around their property which was covered with old farm equipment and antique tractors, all in perfect order. Kelly explained how he had farmed the area for years, raising crawfish one season and growing rice the next. He demonstrated the boat he used, as well as the baiting process for crawfish. He showed us the adjacent rice fields, which were lying dormant waiting to be flooded so that the crawfish would come up from the ground and start spawning a new crop. He then took us inside to view his extensive toy collection, with emphasis on John Deere toys. He was a very funny, interesting fellow, and we loved his authentic Cajun accent. He admitted, however, that he thought we all talked really funny!
That evening’s meal was served by Marie Moreau, who we all know is a fantastic cook, and we marveled at her crawfish etoufee and spicy fig cake, among other dishes. Thanks to Marie for a fabulous meal! After the meal, we were treated to a Frog Race.
Three teams, led by Martha Bobo, Gail Smith and Jim Hoover competed to see who had the team of best participants, best costumes, and winners of the race. Ribbons were awarded as follows:
First Place: Jim’s Red Team, with James H. Smith and Deanne Phillips
Second Place: Gail’s Green Team with Burnel Moreau and Bud Odom
Third Place: Martha’s Red Team with Susan Kercher and Anne Marie Wellock
Our founding father, David Reid, came to visit with his date, Cynthia. We were so happy to see them! They joined us in the frog race and to enjoy some etoufee.
On Saturday, after another great breakfast of gravy and biscuits (we all want to take the Brians home with us) we had the day to ourselves to do what we most wanted to do that day, so everyone went in different directions. Some went to Savoy’s to hear Cajun music. Others went to Maurice to purchase chickens from Ebert’s or to the Black Pot Festival in Lafayette. Others looked for new RV’s and shoes! We met up again at 6:00 for a pot luck dinner (too much food!) and a regular annual business meeting for all members. We realized that we are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year! We installed our new slate of officers, who were duly elected by our recent election. However, Chuck Lunt was forced to remove his name from the slate, as he is once again fighting a health problem. The Nominating Committee recommended Charline Odom to fill the position of secretary, and the members present elected her unanimously. Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. It should be a great year ahead! Our sponsor, Jim Gauthier, came for dinner and left us gifts from his RV dealership to share! Thanks Jim, for all your support these 20 years!
On Sunday morning, after coffee and snacks, we went on our separate ways with plans to meet up again December 28, 2014 in Vicksburg, MS for a great New Year’s gathering. Until then, keep in touch and Travel Supremely!
By Gail Smith
NEW YEAR’S RALLY, Colfax, LouisianaDec 28, 2013 to Jan 2, 2014
Host: Linda and Polk Brian
As usual, several of our members arrived early at Colfax RV Park, located on the Red River in Colfax, LA. The weather was frigid, but we were able to keep warm by spending lots of quality time with our friends during activities and games. We started off with a “Greet and Meet” featuring fried okra, fried boudin balls and Mardi Gras cake on Saturday night, where we were able to meet our new members, Jim and Tina Hoover from Kingsville, TX. Then we were treated to a Duck Dynasty Supper of gumbo with Anduille sausage, salad and french bread, Rosalyn Odom and Linda Brian’s pecan pies and Martha Bobo’s cherry dessert. The local editor of the Colfax newspaper, Glynn Maxwell, spoke briefly to us concerning the history of Colfax, including the famous riot of 1873. We were told the story of how the whites and blacks fought bravely at the location of the local courthouse to make a point about a contested election (the blacks wanted the Carpetbagger candidate to win, and the whites wanted their Democratic candidate to rule). After 3 whites and 150 blacks died, the Democratic candidate was placed in office and the dead were all buried in a trench which is still there under the courthouse today. A plaque still proclaims that this was the end of “carpetbagger misrule” in the South.
After a breakfast of Spanish Enchiladas, we attended the church of our choice (the Methodists got a “Biscuit Ministry” of biscuits and jelly after service).We had a supper of jambalaya and maque choux (a Cajun corn dish with heavy Native Indian influence), with Charlene and Roger Odom’s bread pudding, and Judy Gamble’s blueberry dessert. We do know how to eat!
An early breakfast on Monday of french toast set the tone for a day of touring in Colfax and Alexandria. We first touring the locks, located on the Red River right behind the camp. We were able to see a boat navigate the locks during our presentation. Then we drove to Alexandria to visit the “Cajun Pawn Shop” of TV fame. We got photos with the “Don”–Jimmy DeRamus. After Chinese food at a local favorite restaurant, we went our separate. Some tried out the fountain made malts and shakes at the local Dixie Pharmacy in Colfax. Some toured Ft. Buhlow Historic Site in Pineville, Ft. Beauregard Training Site in Alexandria, and the Festival of Lights in nearby Natchitoches. The Natchitoches Lights have been drawing visitors for 87 years and were glorious after dark reflected in the Cane River!
On New Year’s Eve we enjoyed Grits, eggs and sausage and toured a 200 year old slave cabin and cannon used in the riots, on the property of Ben Littlepage, another local historian. For our New Year’s celebration, we brought heavy snacks, took photos in small groups and enjoyed the skits and music provided by our fellow travel club members. We have some real talent! We also have some real comedians! It was “a hoot!” Right before midnight (EST) we enjoyed our Dirty Santa gift exchange, where we were way too polite to steal many gifts from our friends, choosing instead to pick an unopened gift and be surprised! It was lots of fun and has become quite a tradition with our TS group.
Sleeping in on New Year’s Day and watching the Rose Bowl Parade and some football was enjoyable. We had “Southern Dinner” of chicken, cabbage, black-eyed peas and cornbread and gave the cooks a well-needed evening off while we enjoyed leftovers as we prepared for the next day’s travel home. See you at Mardi Gras in Rayne, LA!!!!!