Monday, January 2, 2012

Louisiana Road Trip 2011, Part 8: Bayous, Grilled Gator, and Ned

Ned the Lost Dog, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Swamp tour

Lake Martin, a few miles outside Breaux Bridge. Fishing boat (seats 10), outboard motor, can maneuver in water only a foot deep. Knowledgeable guide. Didn't see any gators (too cold, likely), but saw: Beaver, turtles, egrets, cormorants, ibises, herons, duck decoys, and duck hunters. It was pretty cold out, especially with wind, so I was glad I'd brought my coat.

My video plays faster than it felt when we trolled along in the boat.

In this video, an egret flies.

I find bayous and swamps more interesting and beautiful than the ocean. The bayou beach is a problem, of course. Skeeters and gators not conducive to laying out in the sun. 

Road trip laundry

A week's gone by, so that means laundry needed to be done. Where are all of the laundromats? Have they gone the way of telephone booths? None in Arnaudville or Breaux Bridge, apparently.  Found one in Lafayette. Passed the wash cycle by talking on the phone with folks back home. Threw the clothes in the dryer and took a walk in the neighborhood, drawn into same by a gigantic wall of bamboo between the laundromat and a house's backyard. I walked around the wall and turned the corner onto St. Charles, a sweet little street.

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana
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It introduced me to the concept of a speed "lump." Never heard of such a thing.

I liked the architectural diversity on this street.

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

There were flowers, too.

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

St. Charles Street, Lafayette, Louisiana

In no time, my clothes were dry, and I headed back to Breaux Bridge to look around. On my way out of Lafayette, I spied the Holy Trinity Institute, a building in the act of disintegration.

Holy Trinity Institute, Lafayette, Louisiana

Breaux Bridge and Ned the lost dog

Parked the car across the street from the unfortunately-defunct Fly Coffeehouse and walked down the main downtown drag.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Saw a bunch of cars parked in a parking lot, so I investigated that in case something was going on that I wanted to be part of. Nothing interesting. Saw a dog. Walked down to the bayou and looked at the water. Contemplated the plastic pink flamingos arranged along its bank. Started walking back to the main street. The dog walked purposefully to me and looked up at my face, making eye contact. One blue eye; one brown eye. I felt a little skittish, having learned to be wary of Georgian dogs (at least three TLGers I know of have had to get rabies shots after dog bites).

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Nevertheless, the dog and I ambled around downtown together. Almost all of the businesses were closed on this late Monday afternoon.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

I walked back to my parked car, the dog still accompanying me. I went to open my door, and it was clear the dog intended to jump in and leave with me. He was quite persistent, but I was able to get in solo, but when I started the car and moved forward, damned if the dog didn't get in front of the car and refuse to get out of the way.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

A woman walking by noticed the situation. I asked if she knew where the dog belonged .... nope. She said it looked like a "catahoula." She noted a collar on his neck and attempted to investigate it for information. No dice; the dog moved away, but darned if he didn't allow me to take a look. "Ned." A phone number. 

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

The woman, who I later learned was Missy, called the number immediately and left a voice mail, and we considered what to do next. Missy suggested we take him across the street to the guy who gives music lessons next to the now-defunct Fly Coffeehouse, because maybe he'd hold onto the dog til the owners called her back. I wondered aloud, "Why do you think this guy will hold onto the dog?" "Because he's a nice guy." So Missy, Ned, and I walked over to the music shop, where the guy was giving a lesson to a young girl. And the nice guy said, "Hey, I think that's the dog that's on the 'lost dog' poster." And he came out onto the sidewalk and pointed to a pole on the nearby corner.

While he and Missy put Ned in the guy's fenced courtyard behind the store, I walked up to the corner to look at the poster. Well, sure enough, there was Ned - his photo, name, and phone number, indicating he'd been lost since November 6 or 7. And a $100 reward. I commenced to pull the poster off of the pole, and heard a woman calling out to me from the street. She was in a big ol' SUV and she said, "Hey! I know who owns that dog!" And I said, great, because we just found him and told her where he was. So she whips around and parks behind the store, and we go into the front, joining Missy and the music guy.

After some conversation, the SUV woman and I realize that Ned is not the same dog she's thinking about, and as we work that out, who comes out into the main room but Ned, cocking his head as if to say, "Hey, where you guys been? I been waitin'!"

The music guy hustled Ned back into the courtyard, Missy takes her leave, and the music guy and the SUV woman work out a plan to get a dog crate to the store where Ned can remain safely until his owners retrieve him.

I take a happy photo.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

I go out back to say bye to Ned, whereupon I discover he's slipped away again. He's not too far, though, and the SUV woman unlocks her vehicle and tells me that if I can get him in there, that's OK by her. So I seduce Ned into the black vehicle, say goodbye to him, and give my number to the woman so she can let me know how it all turns out. (Meanwhile, the young music student waits patiently and good-humoredly throughout all these goings-on.) 

Grilled gator

Went to Pont Breaux for dinner and music. Selected the grilled gator. It was ok, and I won't feel the need to have it again just for the novelty of it. This morning's swamp tour guide had pointed out that farm-raised gator tastes like chicken; wild gator tastes of the swamp. I did ask the server if the gator was farm-raised, and she said it wasn't. Truth be told, the gator-ness of the dish didn't come out too much one way or the other.

There wasn't much happening at the Pont Breaux, seeing as how it was pretty early in the evening and it was Monday. The house band played to a sparse audience. I think they're probably pretty good, but maybe a little lackluster when there isn't that energy exchange between audience and musician. The band members looked a little ... ho hum about it. Another day at the office.

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