Rally Report From: Mardi Gras Rally, Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana. (February 16-23, 2023)
What a big surprise it was when we all arrived at our RV Resort to find it being totally remodeled and almost totally empty! They are being bought out by Camp Margaritaville and are spending several million dollars renovating this already awesome place. However, we soon found out that our section held our 11 rigs perfectly and the staff was very helpful keeping us fully satisfied. With John and Romola Laninga staying in a cabin and Marie and Burnel Moreau staying at their nearby home, we ended up with 25 members in attendance! Others included James and Gail Smith, Steve and Lisa Merriman, Pete Minnix, Duane and Patty Stowe, Ida and Les Cook, Jim and Tina Hoover, Paul and Tandy Krugler, Linda and Polk Brian, Larry and Nita Denmon, Raymond and Sandy Frazier and new members, Jerry and Shirley Key.
After our meet and greet with appetizers, we had a Louisiana history lesson given by the Texan hosts, the Smiths. They pronounced all the Cajun and French words with a Texas twang, but the information was all there! We learned how “Acadians” became “Cajuns” and about the Courir de Mardi Gras, which is the original way Mardi Gras was celebrated in France and still is done in small towns across South Louisiana.
Friday took us to Prejeans Restaurant for a fantastic Cajun seafood lunch before all set out for activities on their own in the area. Music by Kent Latiolais Band was enjoyed tonight back at the resort Six String Stage bar.
Saturday the resort provided a Mardi Gras mask-making class as well as a golf cart parade in the morning and one at night with lighted carts. After lunch we met at Vermilionville, which is a living history museum and folklife park depicting Creole and Acadian early cultures. We attended a Cajun Jam session at the Performance Center. It was very enjoyable, and our couples not only danced but sang Cajun songs “in French”!
On Sunday we were treated to our own version of Gumbo, which we cooked in a big pot after “stealing” all the ingredients from club members who had previously agreed to be “robbed”— as this is the way the Courir de Mardi Gras was originally done. Ingredients were then combined and served in a community Winners’ Gumbo (certainly not a Losers’ Gumbo!) with cornbread, bread pudding and King Cake for all! Larry Denmon and Sandy Frazier each found a baby in the cake and received a prize!
On Monday we attended the Queen’s Parade in Lafayette, and on Fat Tuesday, we went to the King’s Parade. Beads, beads, and more beads! We had a ball and very good weather. Afterward we were entertained by our club musicians while visiting at the Moreau’s home in Lafayette.
This rally became an “Adventurers Contest”, so everyone was given brochures and area info and told to go out and document what they see over the week. Some went to Avery Island (where Tabasco is made), the Longfellow-Evangeline Museum, the 500 year old tree, ate at Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf and Atchafalaya Club, the Eunice Mardi Gras festival, St.Paul’s Cathedral, and many more places. Although the Swamp Tours were hindered by weather, the levy on the Atchafalaya River was also interesting. The winners or most adventurous folks were announced on Wednesday after dinner at Crawfish Town. There was a tie between the Merrimans and the Stowes, so they each received a basket containing Movie Night Treats! In addition, the Keys received a prize for being most enthusiastic and taking part in all scheduled events.
On Thursday, we had to go home, but we had a lot of fond memories of South Louisiana and hope to enjoy the area again some day soon!